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From Barbarism To Religion: Church History And The Enlightened Narrative In Germany, Michael Printy Dec 2004

From Barbarism To Religion: Church History And The Enlightened Narrative In Germany, Michael Printy

Michael Printy

The subject of this essay is the historical vision of the German Catholic Enlightenment as seen in the work of Michael Ignaz Schmidt, a Catholic priest and author of the eleven-volume History of the Germans (1778–1793). A proper acknowledgement of Schmidt's career helps us revise the standard account of German historicism and historical practice in the eighteenth century, and also sheds light on the place of religion in the German Enlightenment. Schmidt wrote a thoroughly modern ‘history of manners’ that was indebted both to Voltaire and to Robertson. Yet his work passed into obscurity largely because he focused ...