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1 - “Über Glaubenssachen filosofieren”: Wieland on Reason and Religion

from I - Wieland and Herder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2013

Elisabeth Krimmer
Affiliation:
Professor of German at the University of California, Davis
Patricia Anne Simpson
Affiliation:
Professor of German at Montana State University
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Summary

Throughout his long and productive career as a publicist, novelist, essayist, philosopher, and educator, Christoph Martin Wieland grappled with the meaning of religion for individuals and human societies. Wieland's work is of particular interest to the study of religion and secularization in German Classicism because he demonstrates how secular interests can shape serious intellectual engagement with religious concerns. Wieland's approach to religious questions is multivalent, but it is decidedly this-worldly rather than theological. Wieland's writings on religion are distinguished by his rationalist critique, his political and social pragmatism, and his anthropological focus on how religious experience provides insight into human nature. These three approaches to questions of religion each serve the Enlightenment project, of which Wieland is a representative figure, and which is often equated with modernity and secularization in the West. Yet Wieland presents a distinctive voice in late eighteenth-century deliberations on the role of religion in human experience and its relationship to reason. This voice is defined by his self-conscious method of inquiry, his interest in the relation between the secular and the religious, and by his attention to authorial tone. Both method and tone reflect important anthropological and philosophical convictions he holds about human nature and the limits and possibilities of human knowledge.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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