Mary Le Gierse

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20032004 Forum on Belief

Mary Le Gierse


College & GAS '04

Religion and the German Enlightenment

The German-speaking world of the 18th century stood at the crossroads of religious and scientific cultures. With a secular sensibility on the rise, views on theology, philosophy, and morality were hotly contested in a diverse array of settings, from literary texts to debates organized by freemasonry circles. Drawing on the work of Leibniz, Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Lessing, Herder, and Goethe, Le Gierse hopes to show how, in the midst of an ostensible polarization between religion and science, there was nevertheless a consistent social desire, as is expressed in the works of these philosophers and artists, to reconcile the two poles, bringing religion into harmony with scientific discovery.