Renewals of Spirituality

Theodore Ziolkowski

in Modes of Faith

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226983639
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226983660 | DOI:
Renewals of Spirituality

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In a lecture called “Science as Vocation” delivered at the University of Munich in 1919, Max Weber observed that “liberation from the rationalism and intellectualism of science is the fundamental presupposition of life in community with the divine.” Weber realized that a new longing for release from the rationalism of science is “one of the fundamental watchwords to be gathered from reactions among those of our youth whose feelings are attuned to religion or who strive for religious experiences.” The novels of Aldous Huxley and W. Somerset Maugham reflect a pronounced obsession with religious mysticism in the 1920s and 1930s. When Weber, Paul Valéry, and others observed a turn to spirituality in response to the disorder of the war, what they had in mind was a genuine revival of the religious spirituality that was lost by many at the end of the nineteenth century. One of the conspicuous phenomena of the years surrounding World War I in Europe was the number of conversions among writers and intellectuals from all religious denominations, including Gertrud von le Fort and Evelyn Waugh.

Keywords: spirituality; Max Weber; science; rationalism; religion; mysticism; Europe; conversions; Gertrud von le Fort; Evelyn Waugh

Chapter.  11706 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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