- Transcendental Materialism in the German Free Religious Movement: Science, Nature, and Theology in Kirchliche Reform, 1846-52
- Journal of the History of Ideas
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 80, Number 3, July 2019
- pp. 409-431
- View Citation
- Additional Information
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.