Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 September 2021
This entry examines what the charges of ‘pantheist’ and ‘atheist’ meant for both Germans and Britons between the latter half of the eighteenth century through the first half of the nineteenth century. It attempts to clarify the meaning of these labels within, first, German idealism and, second, the cultural milieu of the German and British Romantic era. To accomplish this, it surveys how the figure of Prometheus was employed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley to illustrate the relationship between nature, philosophy, God, and man. This narrative arc provides a framework in which to review a number of historical events and key works that will help identify the position of atheism during this period.
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