Säkularisierung, Dechristianisierung, Rechristianisierung in neuzeitlichen Europa: Bilanz und Perspektiven der Forschunged. by Hartmut Lehmann (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 85, Number 1, January 1999
- pp. 81-82
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BOOK reviews81 gustinianism and to embrace a modified form of Pelagianism which remains the unofficial position of the Church today.2 David Wetsel Arizona State University Late Modern European Säkularisierung, Dechristianisierung, Rechristianisierung in neuzeitlichen Europa: Bilanz und Perspektiven der Forschung. Edited by Hartmut Lehmann. [Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte, 130.] (Göttingen:Vandenhoek & Rupprecht. 1997. Pp. 335. DM 72.00.) This is a very valuable compendium of the papers presented at a conference on religious history in 1994 in Göttingen. The organizer of the conference and the editor of this volume, Professor Hartmut Lehmann, summed up the principal question, that of the problems of religious history. "Did secularization mean dechristianization?" (pp. 11,15)."About these and other questions we still have no answers." Friedrich Wilhelm Graf: "The material available in the older statistics of religiosity [Kirchlichkeitsstatistiken] hardly allows us to reach conclusions about the history of mentalities" (p. 51). The problem is not one of quantities but of qualities. "Are we at all capable of reconstructing what "certainty in faith" [Glaubensgewissheit] in a pious person meant? . . . Can historians of mentalities 'look into the hearts' of others? whoever maintains a minimum of religious wisdom must be ready to recognize the limits of an analytic rationalism" (p. 66). Martin Greschat deals with the same problem: what are working definitions of dechristianization and secularization? Herman Wellenreuther: "More than in any other research field, research on the progress of secularization encounters major methodological problems" (p. 101). Essentially the same concerns illuminate the lucid paper of Claude Langlois about religion in France (pp. 154 ff.) and that of Markus Mattmueller about people in Switzerland (pp. 228 ff.). The contribution of Professor Lavinia Anderson is very learned but not sufficiently clear, since she—at least indirectly— contradicts the caution of Lehmann and of others: "Only when we penetrate the inner lives of Catholics will we comprehend not only their acts but also, the meaning of their acts" (p. 217). About the twentieth century the paper of Peter van Rooden concerning the Netherlands ("In the course of one generation, traditional Christianity, for all practical purposes, has disappeared from the great cities in the western part of the country," p. 132), and that of Leonard Luks ("The unique path of Polish Catholicism 1945-1989," pp. 234 ff.) are remarkable , as is the concluding paper ofWolfgang Schieder. According to him the his2Leszek Kolakowski, God Owes Us Nothing:A Brief Remark on Pascal's Religion and on the Spirit ofJansenism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995), pp. 108-109. 82BOOK REVIEWS tory of religion in Europe of the Modern Age cannot be treated as a unit; it varies too much from country to country. Also: "A single church [i.e. parish] community can never be representative of an entire church" (p. 310). Much of this accords with the inclination of this reviewer (tentatively proposed in his presidential address of 1977 (ante, LXTV [April, 1978], 153-167) that histories of religious belief in the Modern Age, and especially in the age of great masses, pose questions and problems of method whose consideration may still be in its beginnings. John Lukacs Phoenixville, Pennsylvania Johann Sebastian Drey. Mein Tagebuch über Philosophische, Theologische undHistorische Gegenstände, 1812-181 7. Edited and introduced by Max Seckler. (Tübingen: Francke Verlag. 1997. Pp. LVII, 628. DM 164,-.) Grounded in the developmental methodologies of German romantic and historical idealism, the Tübingen School of Theology (1817-1850) began formulating perspectives that have helped nurture the reforms ofVatican Council II. The founder, Johann Sebastian von Drey (1777-1853), left behind his fivevolume , unpublished Tagebuch (1812-1817) in the Wilhelmsstift in Tübingen. These papers have for the first time been fully edited by Professor Max Seckler. The Tagebuch makes clear that at the very inception of his career, Drey was committed to an organic conception of development as well as to the use of Schelling's philosophical and historical models. Seckler's introduction has analyzed the earlier work on Drey and the Tübingen School, which was done by Karl Adam, Stephen Lösch, and Josef Rupert Geiselmann. These earlier scholars had to demonstrate that the Tübingen theologians did not...