German neo-pietism and the formation of national identity

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In the early nineteenth century, a neo-Pietist circle of awakened Protestants emerged in Prussia and other German lands. Disturbed by the consequences of the French Revolution, the ensuing reforms and the rising national movement, these neo-Pietists-A mong them noble estate owners, theologians, and other scholars-tried to introduce an alternative meaning for the alliance between state and religion. Drawing on seventeenth-A nd eighteenth-century pietist traditions, neo-Pietists fused their keen religious devotion with newly constructed conservative ideals, thus rehabilitating the legitimacy of political authority while investing the people's confession with additional meaning. At the same time, and through the same pietistic source of inspiration, conservative neo-Pietists forged their own understanding of national identity: Its origins, values, and implications. In this regard, and against the prevailing view of the antagonist stance taken by Christian conservatives toward nationalism in the first half on the nineteenth century, this article argues for the consolidation of certain concepts of German national identity within Christian conservatism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-119
Number of pages33
JournalChurch History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

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© 2019 American Society of Church History.


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