Religion, Reason, and Culture in the Age of Goethe

December 2013
288 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571135612
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, LIT014000

Religion, Reason, and Culture in the Age of Goethe

Edited by Elisabeth Krimmer, Patricia Anne Simpson

Investigates how culture in the Age of Goethe shaped and was shaped by a sustained and multifaceted debate about the place of religion in politics, philosophy, and culture.
The eighteenth century is usually considered to be a time of increasing secularization in which the primacy of theology was replaced by the authority of reason, yet this lofty intellectual endeavor played itself out in a social and political reality that was heavily impacted by religious customs and institutions. This duality is visible in the literature and culture of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany. On the one hand, authors such as Goethe, Schiller, and Kleist are known for their distance from traditional Christianity. On the other hand, many canonical texts from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries -- from Goethe's Faust to Schiller's Die Jungfrau von Orleans to Kleist's Michael Kohlhaas -- are not only filled with references to the Bible, but invoke religious frameworks.
Religion, Reason, and Culture in the Age of Goethe investigates how culture in the Age of Goethe shaped and was shaped by a sustained and multifaceted debate about the place of religion and religious difference in politics, philosophy, and culture, enriching our understanding of the relationship between religion and culture during this foundational period in German history.

Contributors: Frederick Amrine, Claire Baldwin, Lisa Beesley, Jane K. Brown, Jeffrey L. High, Elisabeth Krimmer, Helmut J. Schneider, Patricia Anne Simpson, John H. Smith, Tom Spencer.

Elisabeth Krimmer is professor of German at the University of California, Davis. Patricia Anne Simpson is professor of German at Montana State University.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781571138798), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

"Über Glaubenssachen filosofieren": Wieland on Reason and Religion
Personal Impersonalism in Herder's Conception of the Afterlife
Clever Priests and the Missions of Moses and Schiller: From Monotheism to the Aesthetic Civilization of the Individual
"Then Say What Your Religion Is": Goethe, Religion, and Faust
Classicism and Secular Humanism: The Sanctification of Die Zauberflöte in Goethe's "Novelle"
Saint Mary's Two Bodies: Religion and Enlightenment in Kleist
Catholic Conversion and the End of Enlightenment in Religious and Literary Discourses
Sacred Maternity and Secular Sons: Hölderlin's Madonna as Muse
Leibniz Reception around 1800: Monadic Vitalism and Aesthetic Harmony
"The Magic Formula We All Seek": Spinoza + Fichte = x
Notes on the Contributors


[P]rovides a new and refreshing perspective on the relation between religion and reason as it evolved during the German Enlightenment. . . . [C]overs a vast amount of ground and incorporates many essays that are relevant beyond Enlightenment studies alone . . . . Taken as a whole, it presents many literary and philosophical perspectives that promote new understandings of eighteenth century concepts . . . . FOCUS ON GERMAN STUDIES

Comprising ten well-edited, well-annotated contributions from prominent scholars, this collection breaks new ground as it elucidates the complex questions surrounding philosophy, religion, and society. . . . This book is an invaluable contribution to German studies. . . . Essential. CHOICE This is a timely, interesting and very varied collection of essays, well edited and with an engaging introductory essay by Elisabeth Krimmer and Patricia Anne Simpson. . . . [It] is original in examining "the duality of intellectual freedom and religious habituation" in . . . the culture of the Goethezeit, and in focusing in depth on an eclectic range of literary as well as philosophical texts. . . . Especially interesting are several attempts to relate a feminist perspective to the critique of theology and philosophy in some key texts of German classical drama and prose and (sometimes linked to that perspective) to explore the cultural significance of conversion to Catholicism and the use of its symbolic discourse in several important texts of the time. ARBITRIUM

Also by Author

Also in Series

Related Titles