Uniform TitleFrom polyhistory to subversion: the philological foundations of Hermann Samuel Reimarus's (1694-1768) radical enlightenment
NameGroetsch, Ulrich (author), Mulsow, Martin (chair), Kelley, Donald R. (internal member), Morrison, Karl F. (internal member), Rendsburg, Gary A. (internal member), Grafton, Anthony T. (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Reimarus, Hermann Samuel, 1694-1768--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThis dissertation focuses on the distinguished scholar Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) who, alongside Lessing, Kant, Mendelssohn, and Wolff, is one of the most significant and influential figures of the German Enlightenment. Reimarus is perhaps best known for his subversive critique of revelation, known as the Apologie oder Schutzschrift für die vernünftigen Verehrer Gottes [Apology or the Defense of the Reasonable Worshippers of God], which was published posthumously by Lessing and spurred the fragment controversy, one of the most important disputes of the German Enlightenment.
Generally, this controversy has provided the context for existing scholarship on Reimarus, and by labeling him a deist and radical Wolffian, modern scholars have primarily emphasized the philosophical nature of his criticism. An intensive examination of the Reimarus Nachlass, with its numerous handwritten drafts of the Apology, lecture notes, adversaria, and bibliographies, paired with an understanding of his education, the influence of his mentors, and his teaching career as professor of Oriental languages at the Gymnasium illustre in Hamburg reveals, however, why such an approach ultimately ignores who Reimarus really was: a classical scholar and skilled Hebraist, raised and bred in the world of the polyhistors.
By focusing on Reimarus's use of philology, antiquarianism, and Semitic languages I show how these fields, developed by humanists and reformers and perfected in the course of the seventeenth century, influenced Reimarus's "Radical Enlightenment." Therefore, this project will significantly contribute to discussions of the Radical Enlightenment and the creation of the modern world by illustrating how its proponents - such as Reimarus - remained indebted to the tradition of the humanists.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references.
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.