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p. 1016. Religionlocked

  • Ritchie Robertson

Abstract

Goethe was brought up in Frankfurt, a Protestant city where the Lutheran Church held sway, but was also introduced to key Enlightenment texts through his father’s extensive library. ‘Religion’ explains that an early Pietist phase strengthened the value that Goethe placed on tolerance in religious matters. Goethe’s standpoint was what the 18th century called ‘natural religion’. Goethe’s allegiance to the Enlightenment is seen in his work, including the poem ‘Prometheus’ (1774) and the neoclassical drama Iphigenie in Tauris (1786–7). Goethe seems to anticipate Nietzsche in viewing human life as ‘beyond good and evil’. What mattered to Goethe was individuality, which brings him close to the greatest contemporary philosopher, Immanuel Kant.

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