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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the nineteenth-century discourse on myth and its influence on Christian theological and cultural debate from the 1790s to the eve of the First World War. After preliminary comments on the eighteenth century, it examines five ‘key’ moments in this history: the Romantic idea of a ‘new mythology’ (focusing on Friedrich Schelling); the ‘religious’ turn in myth scholarship c.1810 (Friedrich Creuzer); debates over the role of myth in the gospels (focusing on David Strauss and Christian Weisse); theories of language and race and their impact on myth scholarship; and Arthur Drews’ The Christ Myth and the debate over the historicity of Jesus. This chapter argues that the discourse on myth (in Germany and elsewhere) was closely bound to the categories and assumptions of Christian theology, reproducing them even as it undermined the authority of the Bible, the clergy, and the churches.

Keywords: myth, Friedrich Schelling, Friedrich Creuzer, David Strauss, Arthur Drews

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