The Secular Beyond: Free Religious Dissent and Debates over the Afterlife in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Todd Weir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Toward the end of the first third of the nineteenth century, German writers began to favor a new metaphor for the afterlife: “das Jenseits” (“the Beyond”). At first glance, the emergence of such a term may appear to have little bearing on our understanding of the history of religious thought. However, as the late historian Reinhart Koselleck maintained, the study of semantic changes can betray tectonic shifts in the matrix of ideas that underpin the worlds of politics, learning, and religion. Drawing on Koselleck's method of conceptual history, the following essay takes the popularization of “the Beyond” as a point of departure for investigating secularization and secularism as two linked, yet distinct, sources of pressure on the fault lines of nineteenth-century German religious thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-658
Number of pages30
JournalChurch History
Volume77
Issue number3
Early online date27 Aug 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Cultural Studies

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