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Goethe Yearbook 223 to our understanding of his engagement with the spiritual and scientific life of his time. While reviewers often suggest that the work under review will provide new directions for scholarship, that can truly be said of Goethe im Gespräch mit der Erde. New York City Elizabeth Powers Hans-Georg Kemper and Hans Schneider, eds., Goethe und der Pietismus. Tübingen: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen Halle im Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2001. viii + 278 pp. This carefully edited volume grew out of a symposium held 25-27 March 1999, on the occasion of an exhibit at the Franckesche Stiftungen in Halle from 9 May to 3 October, 1999, entitled Separatisten, Pietisten, Herrnhuter: Goethe und die Stillen im Lande; the catalogue has also been published (Halle, 1999). It is another in the series of solid research contributions emerging from the nexus of the Franckesche Stiftungen and the Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Pietismusforschung at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. Long relegated to the sidelines, the investigation of Pietism as a powerful intellectual movement is transforming our view of the German Enlightenment and eighteenth-century literature. A few years ago I might have begun this review by observing that it is difficult for us sceptical post-moderns to imagine how seriously people once took their religious beliefs. Many observers would have agreed with sociologist Peter Berger's observation that secularization was the order of the day: "Probably for the first time in history, the religious legitimations of the world have lost their plausibility not only for a few intellectuals and other marginal individuals but for broad masses of entire societies" (The Sacred Canopy [1969]: 125). But these days it is all too evident that material progress and the spread of toleration have increased rather than diminished the appeal of religious faith, especially in the intense version known in the eighteenth century as enthusiasm. Now the topic "Goethe and Pietism" no longer appears quirky or irrelevant to mainstream concerns ; once again we appreciate how complex and insistent the pressure from devout faith can be upon the advocates of the reign of reason. Paul Raabe's pronouncement, quoted in the preface, that Goethe had been "wold zu keiner Stunde Pietist" rings true. But the editors immediately and rightly observe that Pietism and Pietists were never far away from Goethe throughout his life. Not least of the valuable services rendered by the contributors is to show how varied and pervasive Pietist influences were upon him. Some of the information is familiar, such as the connection via Goethe's mother to Susanna Katharina von Klettenberg. Yet even here Burkhard Dohm provides new perspectives on the "Radikalpietistin und 'schöne Seele.' " Paul Peucker on the "Diaspora" of the Herrnhuter in Frankfurt/Main and Thilo Daniel on Johann Michael von Loën's turbulent relationship to Zinzendorf show how closely connected the Goethe family was to Pietist communities and networks. Inevitably, there are some redundancies among the essays, especially where Goethe's depiction in Dichtung und Wahrheit of his relationship to Pietism is concerned. Hans Schneider elucidates Goethe's reception of Gottfried Arnold's Kirchen- und Ketzerhistorie. Christian Saboth concentrates on heterodox texts by the younger Goethe, such as the Brief des Pastors zu *** an den neuen Pastor zu *** and Zwo wichtige bisher unerörtete biblische Fragen, and then argues 224 Book Reviews that as early as 1773, in fahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern, Goethe had begun to distance himself from Pietism, a trend that would culminate in the cruel break with Lavater. Günter Niggl shows how the question of Goethe's reliability as a witness is framed by his relation in that text of his encounters with Pietism. Two case histories shed light on how personal factors complicated Goethe's shifting attitudes to Pietism. Horst Weigelt investigates the warming and subsequent cooling to icy indifference of Goethe's friendship with Lavater, while Gustav Adolf Benrath reviews the less consequential, sad story of the acquaintanceship with Jung-Stilling.There are suggestions that these conflicts may reveal much about Goethe's religious views, but one should bear in mind that overall Goethe could be vain and quarrelsome, so that the personal conflicts may simply have coincided with his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-9087
Print ISSN
0734-3329
Pages
pp. 223-224
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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