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Defending the FaithGlobal Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century$
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Todd Weir and Hugh McLeod

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266915

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266915.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

The Apologetics of Modern Culture Wars: The Case of Weimar Germany

The Apologetics of Modern Culture Wars: The Case of Weimar Germany

(p.19) 1 The Apologetics of Modern Culture Wars: The Case of Weimar Germany
Defending the Faith

Todd H. Weir

British Academy

This chapter proposes that apologetics, a term borrowed from Christian theology, can provide a new analytical tool for understanding and comparing the structures and dynamics not just of religious but also of secularist movements in modern culture wars. It builds an ideal-typical model of apologetics using observations of the German Christian Churches of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and then tests it on the anticlerical associations of the socialist and communist movements. The chapter then examines apologetics as a zone of contention in which religious and secularist actors exchanged ideas and strategies in the course of their conflict. It seeks to demonstrate the value of this approach to the history of ideas through a conceptual historical exploration of Weltanschauung or worldview. It argues that competition with National Socialism and Communism led some German Protestant apologists to pursue definitions of ‘Christian worldview’ that brought them close to elements of their opponents’ worldviews.

Keywords:   Apologetics, Weimar Republic, Culture Wars, Germany, Interwar Europe, Freethought, National Socialism, Secularism, Christian Worldview

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