Between Faith and Unbelief: American Transcendentalists and the Challenge of Atheism

Between Faith and Unbelief: American Transcendentalists and the Challenge of Atheism

by Elisabeth Hurth

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Overview

Between Faith and Unbelief: American Transcendentalists and the Challenge of Atheism by Elisabeth Hurth

This book sets out to shed light on what is specific to American Transcendentalism by comparing it with the atheistic vision of German philosophers and theologians like Ludwig Feuerbach and Arthur Schopenhauer. The study argues that atheism was part of the discursive and religious context from which Transcendentalism emerged. Tendencies toward atheism were already inherent in Transcendentalist thought. The atheist scenario came to the surface in the controversy about Emerson’s “new views.” Contemporary critics charged that the deity Emerson worshipped was himself. Emersonian Transcendentalism thus anticipated some of the central concerns in the works of German atheists like Feuerbach. From idealism to atheism seemed but a short step.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789004161665
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 08/13/2007
Series: Studies in the History of Christian Traditions Series , #136
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Elisabeth Hurth is a freelance writer and scholar is Wiesbaden, Germany. Her recent publications include Mann Gottes: Das Priesterbild in Literatur und Medien (Grünewald, 2003) and Gute Nacht, John-Boy. Familien vor und auf dem Bildschirm (Grünewald, 2005).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

I. “The Spirit of Infidelity”: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Harvard’s Early Göttingen Students
II. The “Credentials” of Faith: The Miracles Controversy in New England
III. The Arch-Fiend of Christian Faith: David Friedrich Strauss and New England Divinity
IV. The Claims of History: Strauss’s “Mytho-Mania” and After
V. Man as God-Maker: Feuerbachian Atheism in New England
VI. From Idealism to Atheism: Theodore Parker and the Projection Theory of Religion
VII. The “Cures for Atheism”: Emerson and Jakob Böhme
VIII. “A World Without God”: Emerson and Arthur Schopenhauer

Conclusion

Selected Bibliography
Index

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