Enlightenment Underground: Radical Germany, 1680-1720

University of Virginia Press, 30 nov. 2015 - 464 pagina's

Online supplement, "Mulsow: Additions to Notes drawn from the 2002 edition of Moderne aus dem Untergrund": full versions of nearly 300 notes that were truncated in the print edition. Hosted on H. C. Erik Midelfort's website.

Martin Mulsow’s seismic reinterpretation of the origins of the Enlightenment in Germany won awards and renown in its original German edition, and now H. C. Erik Midelfort's translation makes this sensational book available to English-speaking readers. In Enlightenment Underground, Mulsow shows that even in the late seventeenth century some thinkers in Germany ventured to express extremely dangerous ideas, but did so as part of a secret underground. Scouring manuscript collections across northern Europe, Mulsow studied the writings of countless hitherto unknown radical jurists, theologians, historians, and dissident students who pushed for the secularization of legal, political, social, and religious knowledge. Often their works circulated in manuscript, anonymously, or as clandestinely published books.

Working as a philosophical microhistorian, Mulsow has discovered the identities of several covert radicals and linked them to circles of young German scholars, many of whom were connected with the vibrant radical cultures of the Netherlands, England, and Denmark. The author reveals how radical ideas and contributions to intellectual doubt came from Socinians and Jews, church historians and biblical scholars, political theorists, and unemployed university students. He shows that misreadings of humorous or ironic works sometimes gave rise to unintended skeptical thoughts or corrosively political interpretations of Christianity. This landmark book overturns stereotypical views of the early Enlightenment in Germany as cautious, conservative, and moderate, and replaces them with a new portrait that reveals a movement far more radical, unintended, and puzzling than previously suspected.


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Translators Note
Atheism at the Heart of Orthodoxy?

Veelvoorkomende woorden en zinsdelen

Over de auteur (2015)

Martin Mulsow, author and editor of numerous works, is Professor of History at the University of Erfurt (Germany) and Director of the Research Center for Cultural and Social Scientific Studies in Gotha. He has been awarded many prizes for his scholarship, including the Premio internazionale de storia della filosofia Luigi de Franco for the best book on Renaissance philosophy (1999) and the Prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (2011). H. C. Erik Midelfort, Julian Bishko Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia, is the author of works on witchcraft, madness, and exorcism and the translator of several books, including Rainer Decker's Witchcraft and the Papacy: An Account Drawing on the Formerly Secret Records of the Roman Inquisition (Virginia).

Bibliografische gegevens