; The Secular Beyond: Free Religious Dissent and Debates over the Afterlife in Nineteenth-Century Germany1
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The Secular Beyond: Free Religious Dissent and Debates over the Afterlife in Nineteenth-Century Germany1

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Drawing on Koselleck's method of conceptual history, the following essay takes the popularization of "the Beyond" as a point of departure for investigating secularization and secularism as two linked, yet distinct, sources of pressure on the fault lines of nineteenth-century German religious thought.3 A comparison of the semantic qualities of "the Beyond" with those of older synonyms already points to secularization understood as the erosion of a clear distinction between the transcendent and the immanent spheres. Debates over the meanings of categories became central sites for the articulation of ideological differences in the modern public sphere.5 Just as the politicization of key categories, such as "freedom," "nation," or "republic," registered the bifurcation of the political arena in the first third of the nineteenth century, the varied meanings given to Jenseits corresponded to the growing bifurcation of religious opinion into liberal and orthodox camps.

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