Book Chapter


The ghost of the enlightenment: Communication with the dead in Southwestern Germany, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Abstract

This chapter focuses on a largely overlooked type of archival source, namely reports written by representatives of secular authorities about supposedly haunted houses and ghostly apparitions. In the seventeenth century, the ghosts were mostly described as poltergeists incapable of meaningful exchange. The ghost had no personality and hardly any identity or history. In the eighteenth century, we encounter the rise of mediumship. Certain individuals claimed to be able to talk to ghosts. As the ghost was now regarded as a messenger from the beyond, expert mediums quickly acquired religious authority outside of the realm of the established Protestant Church. These changes in the imagination of the ghost and the Enlightenment were connected insofar as they had the same precondition: the slow erosion of the authority of the Lutheran orthodoxy.



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Authors

Dillinger, Johannes

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of History, Philosophy and Culture

Dates

Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-03-21



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Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of The ghost of the enlightenment: Communication with the dead in Southwestern Germany, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
This RADAR resource is Part of Magic, witchcraft and ghosts in the enlightenment [ISBN: 9780367502775] / edited by Michael R. Lynn (Routledge, 2022).

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