State of the Art and Future Perspectives of an Interdisciplinary Field of Research
Pietism in the Duchy and later the Kingdom of Württemberg has had a continuous and extremely multi-faceted history since the 17th century. Nevertheless, research in this field has been rather quiet in recent years. This can most likely be explained by the regional and biographical narrowing of research, which has only a few exceptions. The conference aims to address the potential of Württemberg Pietism in its multi-layered and complex history and to give new impulses for interdisciplinary research. The versatile profile of Württemberg Pietism will be considered in terms of its national and international history of influence and reception beyond 1800. In this way, a new perspective will be adopted that goes beyond a primarily regional viewpoint.
In particular, the following fields come into focus:
1. History of Theology and Piety
Württemberg Pietism absorbed and further developed a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including mystical-spiritualist, Kabbalistic, Hermetic and Theosophical currents. Their absorption, effects and the associated network formations in the Southwest have by no means been sufficiently investigated. Questions need to be asked especially about biblical hermeneutics and practice and the associated forms of piety, about the different expressions of eschatology and their effects on Christian practice, and about the changing influence of the Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine.
2. Community Forms and Social Action
From the beginning, community building and community forms were an important feature of the Pietist reform movement, within the regional church but also outside. They continue to have an effect to the present day. From the Hahn communities to Methodist and Swedenborgian groups to the Herrnhut diaspora communities, the diverse forms of community within and beyond the institutionalised church in Württemberg are particularly striking and in need of explanation. The connection between state church structures and the emancipating religious alternative and then free religious or free church societies will have to be examined. This also includes the effective diaconal activities that emerged from the heterogeneous Württemberg Pietist movements such as the Korntal Brethren Community or the Bruderhaus Diakonie founded by the Pietist and Swedenborgian Gustav Werner.
3. Political, Social, and Cultural Effects and Receptions
Another focus will be on the strong eschatological impulses and ideas in the diverse currents of Württemberg Pietism and the question of the extent to which they were linked to political and social reform movements and projects. In the southwest, theologians became politically involved in the run-up to the revolution of 1848 and built up corresponding networks. The extent to which theosophical and eschatological-apocalyptic influences and impulses of Bengel, Oetinger, Michael Hahn, Philipp Matthäus Hahn and others had an impact on political reformist movements in and beyond Württemberg is to be investigated.
Under pietistic influence, experiments were carried out in the field of economy with communitarian and cooperative forms or more worker-friendly production conditions. These approaches and their history of impact require critical examination. Gustav Werner's initiatives, which aimed at founding diaconal institutions and at the same time at Christian entrepreneurship, show that the history of theology, the history of Diakonia and Württemberg's economic history are closely interconnected. These interconnections will also be explored at the conference.
The overlaps between Pietist, Spiritist and Mesmerist currents with the revival movement have been investigated in individual studies and on individual persons. The development of these influential connections at the Tübingen Stift (J.M. Wischnath) shows that there is a need in this field to link previously separate perspectives. This also concerns the connection of Pietist and, in a narrower sense, Theosophical influences with the philosophy of Romanticism and Idealism that emerged in this environment.
The length of the presentation is 30 minutes. Travel expenses and overnight stays in Stuttgart will be covered by the organisers within the usual rules, provided that the applications for funding are successful.
We request proposals for lectures and a short curriculum vitae (CV) by 28 January 2022 to Ms Annegret Jummrich, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A response to your proposal can be expected in February 2022.