Peter Erickson

"Religious Conversion in the Late German Enlightenment: Goethe, Schiller, and Wieland"
In my dissertation, I show that German novelists in the late-eighteenth century made extensive use of models of religious conversion in developing the genre of the Bildungsroman.  And I trace this interest on the part of novelists back to a series of contentious debates in the late German Enlightenment –– carried out not only among theologians but also within the emerging field of empirical psychology –– about the credibility, causality, and ongoing relevance of spiritual conversion.  Returning to the University of Chicago after six months of archival research in Germany, I look forward to finishing my dissertation this year alongside a group of scholars at the Martin Marty Center who are likewise engaged in pondering the influence of religion on modern thought.
Department of Germanic Studies