Prof. Dr. Udo Sträter (Theology)

Prof. Dr. Josef N. Neumann (History of Medicine),
Prof. em. Dr. Wolfgang Ruf (Music),
Prof. em. Dr. Arno Sames (Church History),
PD Dr. Christian Soboth (German Studies),
PD Dr. Ulrike Gleixner (History),
Prof. Dr. Pia Schmid (Education),
Prof. Dr. Hermann Goltz †,
Prof. Dr. Swetlana Mengel (Slavonic Studies),
Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke (Director of the Francke Foundations)

The research of this project field, within itself interdisciplinary, deals with the tensions between the goals and reception of Pietism, thereby directly addressing the central themes of Enlightenment and religion. Pietism was the most powerful renewal movement within Protestantism since the Reformation. Its characteristic features are an emphasis on emotional and practical experience, and a turn towards social practice. It shared the common criticism of traditional forms of religiosity and theological academia with the incipient Enlightenment. The chiliastic 'hope of better times' converges with Enlightenment concepts about the formability of the future. A re-christianization through the mediums of edification (sermon, song, religious literature) coexists with emotionality and highly rational activities directed outward (pedagogical, social, economic and political activities). Transcending the model of 'true godliness and Christian intelligence' leads Pietism in Halle in the social realm to forms of instrumental, rational behaviour. In the field of theology this transcends the naïve view of tradition as a material document and thus achieves new forms of historical and critical analysis of biblical texts as well as the establishment of historically based and philosophically reformed 'new Protestantism'.

There are three thematic fields within the framework of 'Transformations of the Religious and the Rational.' The envisioned projects include encounters and confrontations of religion with the philosophy of the Enlightenment (Wolff vs. Lange) which produces a form of Pietism and which finds a new form in Neology (Johann Salomo Semler). In contact with the Enlightenment, the intrinsic reformatory stringency of Pietism achieves a rationalization of faith and also reclaims a transformation of the rational within the context of religion. The artistic forms specific to Pietism and its rhetoric/semantic of sensitivity expand through the course of the Enlightenment their more specific function in the context of the religious and move into a dimension of the cultural-literary (culture of sentimentalism). Pietism in Halle thus extends into the anthropological, aesthetic dimension of the Enlightenment.