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Since postmodernism emerged from modernism, it is essential to have some understanding of modernism first, but modernism itself is not a single entity.
If we carefully look at modernism, we realize that it has two different facets, or two different definitions: 1) twentieth-century aesthetic modernism, which emerged during the first half of the twentieth century as a reaction to nineteenth-century traditions such as the Victorian tradition; and 2) the much longer historical tradition of "modernity," which started from the humanistic rationalism of the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, and which was still continuously influential till the twentieth century.
The question of what postmodernism means is problematic because the notion is complex.
It was a trend of thought that affirmed the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology, and practical experimentation.
It is even accommodated by Christian theologians as a good opportunity to develop a more convincing, new theology, and some of the examples include Jean-Luc Marion's postmetaphysical theology and John D.
Caputo's deconstructive theology in search of a true God.
Some of the forms of aesthetic modernism naturally resemble Romanticism, which was rejected in the Victorian period.
According to Dino Felluga, the features of modernist aesthetic work include: In order to grasp an idea of what the "postmodernism" movement (in all its variations) is reacting against, one must first have an understanding of the definitive elements of "modernism." Modernism in the second definition can be traced back to the Enlightenment, which was a humanistic reaction in the eighteenth century to the premodern, medieval type of religious dogmatism which could still be found in Lutheran and Calvinist scholasticism, Jesuit scholasticism, and the theory of the divine right of kings in the Church of England in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.