Fichtes Entlassung [Book Review]

The Owl of Minerva 35 (1-2):79-84 (2003)
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Abstract

Fichtes Entlassung: Der Atheismusstreit vor 200 Jahren addresses the Atheismusstreit, or the Atheism Dispute. In 1798, the co-editors of the Philosophisches Journal einer Gesellschaft teutscher Gelehrten, Friedrich Niethammer and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, published two essays, by Karl Friedrich Forberg and Fichte. Forberg’s essay, “The Development of the Concept of Religion,” denied the legitimacy of any theoretical discussion of religious issues. Fichte’s essay, “On the Ground of our Belief in a Divine Governance of the World,” identified belief in a moral world order with religion. Frederick August, prince-elector of Saxony, condemned the errant issue of the Philosophisches Journal in the winter of 1798. During the next spring, Duke Carl-August of Weimar censured the content of the Philosophisches Journal and “accepted” Fichte’s “resignation” from the University of Jena. By 1800, the conflict died down. It remains an example of the theological, religious, and philosophical controversies that characterized intellectual life in the eighteenth century. Nonetheless, few works provide a comprehensive account of the Atheismusstreit. Fichtes Entlassung fills this lacuna.

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