Andreas Urs Sommer
University of Freiburg
Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Jerusalem's Betrachtungen über die vornehmsten Wahrheiten der Religion was a bestseller of the German Enlightenment, although it is a theological book. In this article, his Betrachtungen is treated as a text that tries to synthesize the newly established philosophy of history with more or less traditional theological patterns. Jerusalem uses the argument of universal development and progress in history to demonstrate the evidence of divine providence. His book thus resembles Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, which it may have influenced. The main purpose of Jerusalem is to calm and pacify the individual's soul. He wants to prove that the individual's life fits into the general order of history, which is also the purpose of ‘profane’ philosophy of history in German Enlightenment. Jerusalem's neological philosophy of history provides new answers to the problem of evil after the decline of a metaphysical theodicy in the tradition of Leibniz.
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DOI 10.1515/znth.9.2.169
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