Debating ‘Protestant Freedom’ in Nineteenth-Century Germany: Theology, Politics and Natural Science

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This essay examines the interplay of politics, science and theology in the debates over ‘Protestant freedom’ that took place in mid-nineteenth century Germany. It begins by tracing how rival factions of conservative, liberal, and radical clergy sought to mobilize the tradition of ‘Protestant Freedom’ during the period of ferment preceding the Revolution of 1848. The essay then turns to the 1860s to explore how church liberals argued for the compatibility of natural science and Protestantism. The final section picks up debates among radicals, who, on the eve of German unification in 1870, were divided over the question of whether the conscience, as defined in the Lutheran tradition, was compatible with scientific naturalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-188
Number of pages18
JournalNTT: Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2018

Cite this