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Negotiating the Secular and the Religious in the German Empire: Transnational Approaches

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Volume 10

New German Historical Perspectives

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Negotiating the Secular and the Religious in the German Empire

Transnational Approaches

Edited by Rebekka Habermas

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244 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-151-2 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (March 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-152-9 eBook

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“With its strong lineup of contributors, this book adds valuable insights into the under-researched topic of what is meant by the secular, and also conveys the many ways in which the secular and the religious were intertwined in the German imperial context.” • Rebecca Bennette, Middlebury College

“Habermas addresses an important and often neglected aspect of German – and indeed European – history. The high quality of the scholarship will make this a significant contribution to the field.” • Professor Matthew Jefferies, University of Manchester


With its rapid industrialization, modernization, and gradual democratization, Imperial Germany has typically been understood in secular terms. However, religion and religious actors actually played crucial roles in the history of the Kaiserreich, a fact that becomes particularly evident when viewed through a transnational lens. In this volume, leading scholars of sociology, religious studies, and history study the interplay of secular and religious worldviews beyond the simple interrelation of practices and ideas. By exploring secular perspectives, belief systems, and rituals in a transnational context, they provide new ways of understanding how the borders between Imperial Germany’s secular and religious spheres were continually made and remade.

Rebekka Habermas is Professor of Modern German History at the University of Göttingen. She has also been a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at Oxford University and Theodor Heuss Professor at The New School in New York. Her publications include Frauen und Männer des Bürgertums: Eine Familiengeschichte (2000), Thieves in Court: The Making of the German Legal System in the Nineteenth Century (2016), and Skandal in Togo: Ein Kapitel deutscher Kolonialherrschaft (2016).

Subject: 18th/19th Century History 20th Century History Religion
Area: Germany


Introduction: Negotiating the Religious and the Secular in Modern German History
Rebekka Habermas


Chapter 1. A Secular Age? The ‘Modern World’ and the Beginnings of the Sociology of Religion
Wolfgang Knöbl

Chapter 2. The Silence on the Land: Ancient Israel versus Modern Palestine in Scientific Theology
Paul Michael Kurtz


Chapter 3. What Means to Be ‘Secular’ in the German Kaiserreich? An Intervention
Lucian Hölscher

Chapter 4. Secularism in the Long Nineteenth Century between the Global and the Local
Rebekka Habermas


Chapter 5. Retrieving Tradition? The Secular-Religious Ambiguity in Nineteenth Century German-Jewish Anarchism
Carolin Kosuch

Chapter 6. Catholic Women as Global Actors of the Religious and the Secular
Relinde Meiwes

Chapter 7. Negotiating the Fundamentals? German Missions and the Experience of the Contact Zone, 1850–1918
Richard Hölzl and Karolin Wetjen


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