Lessing und Zinzendorf : eine vergleichende Studie zu Lessings person̈lichem Glauben

Peter Willmer
Two centuries of research have failed to produce a consensus as to the precise nature of G.E. Lessing's religion. This is due in part to the methods applied to resolve this problem: a detailed analysis of an author's writings may not always yield solutions that are acceptable to everyone. For this reason, a different approach - that of the comparative study - is suggested here to uncover what Lessing himself believed to be the "true faith". N.L. von Zinzendorf's personal religious views are, in
more » ... gious views are, in contrast to Lessing's, very well defined and thus can serve as a "backdrop", against which those of Lessing may be determined. The study undertaken here shows that Lessirtg and Zinzendorf shared remarkably similar views on the nature of Holy Scripture, the importance of Christian tradition, and religious tolerance. Moreover, it becomes very apparent, that in contrast to the Neologens and the Lutheran Orthodoxy of the Enlightenment, they both place religion into the realm of the subjective. In addition, both express similar ideas on the development of the personal faith of the individual. A comparison of Lessing's relgious thoughts with those of Zinzendorf place the personal belief of the former in much greater proximity to what might be termed "orthodox Christianity" than expected. But Lessing's predominantly negative attitude towards Lutheranism, Catholicism, and other denominations precludes any association on his part with the established Churches of his time. His religion is instead characterized by a search for perfection within Christianity - for a state, which approximates that of the Church of the first four centuries.
doi:10.14288/1.0096651 fatcat:6pleq2f3fjcjzn2ro24awjs4ae