Abstract

Abstract:

This essay describes the naturalistic pantheism of the Free Religious movement as it appeared in the journal Reform, published in Halle between 1846 and 1852. The Free Religious advocated a "transcendental materialism," in which the universe ran not by a deterministic clockwork mechanism, but organically in the same way a tree grows according to particular natural laws. Influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach, David Strauß, and Alexander von Humboldt, the Free Religious went beyond a simple materialism to create a utopian vision of a divine humanity in which Nature itself was divine, both immanent and transcendent, and an object worthy of devotion.

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