Enlightenment and education


Until the seventh decade of the 18th century, education and literature were under the auspices of the church. Following reforms, which were carried out by the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, a philosophical criticism of reality and the praise of science and knowledge started to be apparent in culture. In keeping with this, instructions for schools, education and educational methods were adopted.

This transitional moment in Serbian culture was personified by Dositej Obradovic (1742–1811), the first Serbian rationalist. Feeling the significance of events in Serbia, he came to Belgrade in 1807. He was the adviser and secretary to Karadjordje, the tutor of his son and the founder of the Great School (1808) and Seminary (1810), and a member of the Executive Soviet, minister of education and the founder of a school in Serbian literature. His followers shared the same ideas, influences and spiritual aspirations. They were all anti-traditionalists, anti-clericalists and wrote using the national language. Some of Dositej’s most significant pupils and followers were: Jovan Muskatirovic, Serbia’s first lawyer, Atanasije Stojkovic, founder of the first physics and the first novelist, Joakim Vujic, “the father of Serbia’s theater.”

Following the dissolution of romanticism, Serbian culture returned to rationalistic ideas.


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