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MODERNITY

This notion can be grasped as a contrast concept because it compares itself with what precedes it in a transition from the traditional to the new. This is embodied in its linguistic derivation from the Latin modernus that itself originally consists of modo (equivalent to nunc, now, new). Ninth-century Christians use the concept to differentiate historical periods. It is used in the thirteenth century by Christian theologians to compare their thinking with an earlier antiquity, and Enlightenment thinkers did the same thing with the Middle Ages, implying a decisive break with the past.