Enlightenment Unbound

Enlightenment Unbound provides scholars and the public alike with an interactive portal to explore the many variations of Jean Frederic Bernard and Bernard Picart's Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde.

About the project

The book, published in nine volumes between 1723 and 1743 and then re-issued in multiple translations and editions over the next hundred years, was a blockbuster bestseller. Based around a lavish set of illustrations made by Bernard Picart, a leading European engraver, the book describes the world’s religions as understood by Europeans at the time.

Through its text and images, the Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde. (CCR) contributed to the emerging Enlightenment understanding of universal civilization and history and the place of religion within it. In addition to our work of identifying all physical and digital copies of the CCR in libraries, museums, and archives, we have conducted preliminary work on how to perform accurate optical character recognition (OCR) on volumes of the CCR that we locate.

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Notes and Records of the Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses

Published by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, Notes & Records of the Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses (N&RCCR) is an innovative journal for analysis of the CCR and the histories it intersected with.

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The CCR Portal

Screenshot depicting the CCR portal
The CCR Portal is a prototype digital portal for accessible, collaborative research on the CCR.

The CCR Portal is based on software developed by Project Mirador, an open-source, community-based software that is able to draw upon digital copies of the CCR housed in libraries and archives located in all corners of the globe.

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Our team

JB Shank Professor of History Luke Freeman Enlightenment Unbound Research Assistant and Ph.D. Candidate in History Benjamin Wiggins Director of the Digital Arts, Sciences, & Humanities and Affiliate Assistant Professor of History


For all inquiries, send an email to jbshank@umn.edu.

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Support and funding

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