- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
During the years leading up to the revolutions of 1848, liberal and conservative Germans engaged in a contest over the terms of the Enlightenment legacy and the meaning of Christianity—a contest that grew most intense in the Grand Duchy of Baden, where liberalism first became an influential political movement. Bringing insights drawn from Jewish and women's studies into German history, Dagmar Herzog demonstrates how centrally Christianity's problematic relationships to Judaism and to sexuality shaped liberal, ...
During the years leading up to the revolutions of 1848, liberal and conservative Germans engaged in a contest over the terms of the Enlightenment legacy and the meaning of Christianity—a contest that grew most intense in the Grand Duchy of Baden, where liberalism first became an influential political movement. Bringing insights drawn from Jewish and women's studies into German history, Dagmar Herzog demonstrates how centrally Christianity's problematic relationships to Judaism and to sexuality shaped liberal, conservative, and radical thought in the pre-revolutionary years. In particular, she reveals how often conflicts over the "politics of the personal," especially over sex and marriage, determined "larger" political matters, among them the relationship between church and state and the terms on which Jews were granted civic rights.
Herzog documents the rise of a politically sophisticated conservative Catholicism, and explores liberals' ensuing eagerness to advance a humanist version of Christianity. Yet she also examines the limitations at the heart of the liberal project, especially liberals' unwillingness to grant equality to those deemed "different" from the Christian male norm. Finally, the author analyzes the difficulties encountered by philosemitic and feminist radicals in reconceptualizing both classical liberalism and Christianity in order to make room for the claims of Jews and women.
Originally published in 1996.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
BODIES AND SOULS
The Grand Duchy of Baden was well known to be nineteenth-century Germany's most liberal state. Ruled (from 1831 on) by an enlightened monarch and his like-minded bureaucrats, Baden was also home to many of Germany's most illustrious liberal and radical-democratic publicists and activists. The decades preceding the Badenese revolutions of 1848 and 1849 are often described as an era of ever-increasing liberalization culminating logically in the revolutionary years. What most historians have failed to note, however, is that in the 1830s and 1840s Baden was also the seedbed for a politically sophisticated religious conservatism, led by neoorthodox Catholics, and that the very intensity of liberal activism in Baden was in no small part due precisely to liberal alarm at the growth of this religious right. When religious history is reintegrated into the history of political developments, then, it becomes clear that the pre-revolutionary decades are better understood as a time of ever-increasing ideological polarization.
The major conflicts around which neoorthodox Catholicism organized itself in Baden had to do with priestly celibacy and mixed marriages between Protestants and Catholics. These phenomena were only seemingly marginal. As the fervor with which all sides addressed the topics attests, the controversies raised profound questions about the relationship between individual subjectivity and religious authority, and about the proper boundaries, and proper relationships, between social groups in an era of ever-greater mobility and mixing. Each side advanced its own understandings of the values, or dangers, of sex, love, and the pursuit of earthly happiness; at stake were individuals' attitudes toward their own bodies and the bodies of others, as well as the most intimate reaches of individuals' souls.
The conflicts over sex and love also led to a major rearrangement of the religious and political landscape in Baden. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, for example, Baden's Catholic leadership included many men deeply influenced by Enlightenment thought. The struggle over priestly celibacy in the late 1820s and early 1830s provided conservatives with the occasion to rid the Catholic church in Baden of these reformist elements. The controversy over mixed marriages, in turn, allowed conservatives successfully to challenge the Badenese state government, and to undermine the state's efforts to keep the church subordinate to itself. It was, moreover, through these two disputes over sex and love that political liberals and radicals came to identify neoorthodox Catholics as their most formidable ideological opponents. This development was to have important and unexpected consequences. As subsequent chapters will show, due to a complex conjunction of circumstances it was on the ground of this militant anticlericalism that movements for both Jewish rights and women's rights, as well as more radical forms of philosemitism and feminism, were born in Germany.
Unearthing the roots of liberal irritation at conservative Catholicism, then, is important for a number of reasons. One is that reconstructing religious conflicts between liberals and conservative Catholics sheds light on the serious philosophical dilemmas confronting liberals just as they were coming to self-consciousness and self-confidence as a coherent political movement. For example, as conservatives increasingly used calls for liberty, equality, and tolerance to advance their own cause, liberals were pressed to come to terms with the malleability of those cherished ideals, a phenomenon that intensified liberal insecurity just at the moment that a modern mass political culture was beginning to emerge.
Another reason is that the ongoing battle with religious conservatives decisively shaped the character of German liberalism in its formative phase, and analyzing the substance of the controversy reveals elements of liberal thought obscured in most traditional studies. These elements include: liberals' preoccupation with male sexual rights, the fervor of liberals' efforts to circumscribe a private sphere free from the control of religious authorities in particular, and the special investment liberals had in the institution of marriage—not only as the foundation of a stable and beneficent social order, but also as a site of untrammeled bliss and individual self-development and perfectibility. In short, it becomes apparent that such seemingly private matters as sex and marriage were important elements of public debate in general, and were central to the liberal political agenda in particular.
Furthermore, historians have often wondered why political liberals, typically associated with religious tolerance and support for the separation of church and state, were so profoundly hostile to institutional Catholicism in particular. Liberals' anxiety about church encroachment on the domestic realm goes far toward explaining the roots of this hostility. As the Catholic church in the first half of the nineteenth century recaptured much of the political and spiritual power it had had before the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, it took on a phantasmagoric status in the liberal imagination. Although the Protestant church also underwent a conservative revival in the first half of the nineteenth century, liberal apprehension fixed upon the Catholic phenomenon as the far more potent threat. Not only did the Catholic church provide a convenient and acceptable target for anti-conservative hostilities in a land ruled by a Protestant monarch. Much more important was the fact that the revival of Roman Catholicism called into question liberals' expectation that historical progress was inevitable. In addition, the psychological power the church openly sought to exercise over the hearts and minds of its members raised doubts about the viability of the rational and autonomous individual subject that was the starting point of liberal thought. Most significantly, because it insisted on its own right constantly to scrutinize its members' personal lives, no institution more forcefully contested liberals' efforts to circumscribe a private sphere than the Catholic church, and no other institution so strongly contested human beings' rights to sexual pleasure and to free choice in love.
Finally, an investigation into the religious politics of the pre-revolutionary era forces a reconsideration of conventional conceptions of the relationship between religious revival and efforts at secularization. For what evolved in the 1830s and 1840s was no simple opposition between these two forces, but rather an elaborate, inter-reactive dialectic, in which religious conservatives increasingly intervened in the ostensibly secular realm of politics (publicizing their views in newspapers and polemical tracts and organizing petition drives and election campaigns), while liberals and radical democrats persisted in making their claims in religious language, and insisting on the viability of their more humanized, but nonetheless sincerely spiritual, interpretation of Christianity. In short, the various combatants were not only wrestling over the place or role of Christianity in a post-Enlightenment world, but also over its very content.
Church and State after the French Revolution
To make sense of how the conflicts over celibacy and mixed marriages developed in Baden in the 1830s and 1840s, it is necessary to turn back briefly to the French Revolution of 1789, and to the first decades of the grand duchy's existence. The French Revolution (and its Napoleonic aftermath) must be seen as the touchstone of crisis for the first half of the nineteenth century in Germany. Its effect was both material and symbolic. On the one hand, it was the event which permanently stripped the Roman Catholic church of its formal political and economic power and catalyzed the political reorganization of Europe. On the other hand, it was the trauma which was repeatedly to supply debaters at different points on the political spectrum with a rich reservoir of threatening metaphors.
Paradoxically, the same events which robbed the Catholic church of its territorial powers and made it so desperately eager to reestablish itself, also created the conditions which made the striving for a new sort of power possible. For, freed from the concerns of ruling separate territories, the church could centralize its organization and universalize its focus. Faced with this phenomenon, many state governments attempted both to deemphasize confessional differences, and to assert and secure the primacy of their own power over that of the Catholic church.
At this juncture, however, another paradox emerged. The experience of the French Revolution had also forced governments to recognize their dependence on religious authorities, and the usefulness of the churches in maintaining social order and obedience. As historian Franz Schnabel observed in discussing the 1830s,
The modern state was formally sovereign, and yet it was practically and politically dependent upon the Christian churches due to the incredible influence which these exercised on the sensibilities of their members.... That the state could reach and mobilize the attitudes of its subjects on its own, this Hobbes and basically also Hegel had taught. But the French Revolution had shown where this path led; the time seemed too serious to ... undertake experiments.
Catholic activists mocked the state's functionalist understanding of religion—"the old idea, that religion is just a political bridle for the people." But they also missed few opportunities to advertise their religion as the antidote to revolution. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, for example, German Catholic leaders pointed out the crucial role of the Catholic church in "elevating the denatured era back to religion, and leading it back to awe before its monarchs and obedience to the laws." For "once a human being has been disturbed in his internal peace, in his religion ... there can no longer be any doubt that this will have a dangerous effect on the external order."
In sum, then, the governments' contradictory needs in their own attempts to come to terms with the post-revolutionary world, and their vulnerability to the Catholic church's persuasive efforts, necessarily created an ambiguous situation. At first, efforts made by papal representatives at the Congress of Vienna to regain church lands and funds from the nations assembled there were unsuccessful. The states confirmed their refusal to return land and money to the church, and confirmed their commitment to parity and peace between Catholics and Protestants. But soon thereafter, Rome turned its attention to the goal of establishing a new network of dioceses to be distributed among the various states that had emerged in the wake of the Napoleonic era, and here the ambivalence of the state governments toward the Catholic church became strikingly apparent.
In the 1820s, Baden, together with a group of other small central and southern German states anxious to establish a permanent but controlled relationship with Rome, came to a secret agreement with the papal curia and accepted the establishment of a new archdiocese to be based in Freiburg. In addition to the Catholics in the tiny territory of Hohenzollern, the jurisdiction of the Freiburg archdiocese was to include all the Catholics in Baden; the political territory of the Grand Duchy and the religious territory of the archdiocese were thus basically coextensive. The state governments also agreed to the establishment of subsidiary dioceses in each of the other states. Lengthy maneuverings between the governments and Rome ensued over the details of the agreements. The states made some concessions to Rome, but after permitting the dioceses to be established (the Freiburg archdiocese was founded in 1827), and allowing Rome to determine the manner in which bishops would be chosen, the states proceeded unilaterally to publish decrees reiterating each monarch's ultimate supremacy over the church. Referring to the principle of Staatskirchentum primarily developed by Joseph II of Austria, the states insisted that churches should be subordinate to the state. Their decrees to this effect, which were (understandably) never formally recognized by Rome, asserted that governments had the right to review and potentially to veto any church policy before it was publicized within a state's boundaries, that the states would maintain legal control over the clergy, and that priests must receive education at public (state-controlled) universities. In practice, then, the states had allowed Rome to gain a foothold inside each of their countries, but in principle, they wanted to retain the ability to hold the church in check.
The situation in Baden had its own special complexities. The grand duchy had been formed between 1803 and 1806 as part of the Napoleonic reorganization of Europe. Created out of many tiny principalities, it was the most artificial of all the newly forged German states, a circumstance which led the government to be particularly preoccupied with securing peace and parity between its subjects of different confessions. A Protestant monarch ruled over a population that was two-thirds Catholic and only one-third Protestant. Nonetheless, initially there were few conflicts between the state and the Catholic leadership, for in the early decades of the nineteenth century, much of Baden's Catholic hierarchy and clergy was Enlightenment-inspired and sought out reconciliation with Protestants and distance from Rome.
The most powerful Catholic leader in the first decades of Baden's existence was Ignaz von Wessenberg. Wessenberg, the leading administrator of the old diocese of Constance from 1802 until 1827 when it was supplanted by the new archdiocese in Freiburg, was a loyal Catholic dedicated to defending the church's rights against the state. But he was also one of the leaders of the movement to develop a national German church with only loose ties to Rome, a decentralized church in which bishops provided a counterbalance to the papacy and adapted church life to the peculiar needs of the region under their jurisdiction. To the priests under his tutelage and care, he stressed the value of a scholarly education, of reform of the worship service in keeping with the times—such as saying Mass in German instead of Latin, and of dialogue with Protestants. Like many of his contemporaries, he identified complete lack of faith, not the blurring of differences between Catholics and Protestants, as the gravest threat to society. These attitudes contributed to Rome's decision to reject him as a potential archbishop for the new archdiocese, and from the 1820s on his influence would decline.
Furthermore, the University of Freiburg, where most young men in training for the priesthood in Baden studied, had been a center of reform Catholicism already in the eighteenth century, when Freiburg had belonged to the Austrian territories. Joseph II of Austria had seen to it that the professoriate at Freiburg, while Catholic, was theologically progressive, and the Badenese government followed in his footsteps. Professors at Freiburg routinely excoriated corruption in Rome and called for structural church reform. Some of the more radical professors, like Karl Alexander von Reichlin-Meldegg, Heinrich Schreiber, and Heinrich Amann, were also said to question the doctrine of the Trinity and even the divinity of Christ, teaching their students to think of biblical events historically, and to understand that there was no uniform truth emanating from Rome but rather that the church had taken a great diversity of positions over the centuries. The result of all this encouragement in rebellious thinking, as one of the few less liberal professors complained, was a strong sense of individual autonomy among many of Baden's Catholic priests, for "every lowly clergyman dares to tinker with the worship service, with the handling of the sacraments, to celebrate the Holy Mass in German language, to present his very own catechism."
The Anti-Celibacy Campaign
The great drama of the 1830s and 1840s was the eventual displacement of all the reformist Catholic leaders by conservatives loyal to Rome; by a peculiar twist of fate it was the reformists' efforts to abolish priestly celibacy which catalyzed the revival of Catholic conservatism. For the same professors at Freiburg who challenged Rome and questioned its teachings also aggressively promoted the ideal of priestly marriage and discussed that which was, in Professor Schreiber's oft-quoted phrase, "immoral, unlawful and unnatural" about the celibacy rule. No sooner had the new archdiocese been established, and an archbishop, Bernhard Boll, installed, when already in the spring of 1828 twenty-three prominent Catholic laypeople from Freiburg, a number of them professors, sent a petition authored by Professors Heinrich Amann and Karl ZeIl to the Lower Chamber of the Badenese diet, soliciting the Lower Chamber's assistance in convincing the grand duke to induce the archbishop to abolish priestly celibacy within Baden's borders. They also delivered addresses directly to the grand duke and the archbishop.
Excerpted from Intimacy and Exclusion by Dagmar Herzog. Copyright © 1996 Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission of PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
|Map of Baden in the 1840s||2|
|Ch. 1||Bodies and Souls||19|
|Ch. 2||Jewish Emancipation and Jewish Difference||53|
|Ch. 3||(Wo)Men's Emancipation and Women's Difference||85|
|Ch. 4||Problematics of Philosemitism||111|
|Ch. 5||The Feminist Conundrum||140|
|Abbreviations Used in Notes||175|