Der junge Goethe als Zaungast der Neologie
Theologiegeschichtliche Bemerkungen zum Pastorbrief von 1773
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The Pastorbrief (1773) is one of Goethe's most important early works, which up until now has usually been interpreted as documenting his short pietistic phase in Frankfurt. In contrast to this, the present study demonstrates through a nuanced comparison with Johann Joachim Spalding's Ueber die Nutzbarkeit des Predigtamtes from 1772 that the Pastorbrief is primarily, if not exclusively, an adaptation of neological Enlightenment theory. Goethe integrates his eclectic collection of heterogeneous contemporary theology elements in the literary concept of a systematically individualised private religion. The Pastorbrief does not intend to take part in scholarly theological discourse, but rather assemble neology blueprints as contributions to fiction.