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Debating ‘Protestant Freedom’ in Nineteenth-Century Germany

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This essay examines the interplay of politics, science and theology in the debates over ‘Protestant freedom’ that took place in mid-nineteenth century Germany. It begins by tracing how rival factions of conservative, liberal, and radical clergy sought to mobilize the tradition of ‘Protestant Freedom’ during the period of ferment preceding the Revolution of 1848. The essay then turns to the 1860s to explore how church liberals argued for the compatibility of natural science and Protestantism. The final section picks up debates among radicals, who, on the eve of German unification in 1870, were divided over the question of whether the conscience, as defined in the Lutheran tradition, was compatible with scientific naturalism.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2018

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  • NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion (NTT) provides academic articles on varying topics from all theological disciplines, with Dutch, English or German-speaking contributions, four times a year. In addition, there is a range of interesting reviews, which also highlight international books. NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion is issued by the teachers of the University of Groningen, Leiden University, Utrecht University, the University of Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Brussels and the Protestant Theological University.
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