Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Sakularisierung, Dechristianisierung, Rechristianisierung in Neuzeitlichen Europa: Bilanz Und Perspektiven der Forschung

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Sakularisierung, Dechristianisierung, Rechristianisierung in Neuzeitlichen Europa: Bilanz Und Perspektiven der Forschung

Article excerpt

Skularisierung, De-christianisierung, Rechristianisierung in neuzeitlichen Europa: Bilanz und Perspektiven der Forschung. Edited by Hartmut Lehmann. [Verciffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts ffr Geschichte, 130.] (Gottingen:Vandenhoek & Rupprecht. 1997. Pp. 335. DM 72.00.)

This is a very valuable compendium of the papers presented at a conference on religious history in 1994 in Gottingen. The organizer of the conference and the editor of this volume, Professor Hartmut Lehmann, summed up the principal question, that of the problems of religious history. "Did secularization mean dechristianization?" (pp. 11, 15). "About these and other questions we still have no answers." Friedrich Wilhelm Graf: "The material available in the older statistics of religiosity [Kirchlichkeitsstatistiken] hardly allows us to reach conclusions about the history of mentalities" (p. 51). The problem is not one of quantities but of qualities. "Are we at all capable of reconstructing what"certainty in faith" [Glaubensgewissheit] in a pious person meant? . . . Can historians of mentalities `look into the hearts' of others? Whoever maintains a minimum of religious wisdom must be ready to recognize the limits of an analytic rationalism" (p. 66). Martin Greschat deals with the same problem: what are working definitions of dechristianization and secularization? Herman Wellenreuther: "More than in any other research field, research on the progress of secularization encounters major methodological problems" (p. 101). Essentially the same concerns illuminate the lucid paper of Claude Langlois about religion in FrAnce (pp. 154 ff.) and that of Markus Mattmueller about people in Switzerland (pp. …

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