Enlightened Religion?

On Buddhism in Karl Gjellerup’s novel Die Weltwanderer (The Wanderers of the World, 1910)

  • Isabella Schwaderer (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


In the broader discourse regarding the relationship between religion and secularism in modern Imperial Germany (1871–1918), this article focuses on the impact of Arthur Schopenhauer and his understanding of Indian philosophy on debates on a ‘regeneration of Christianity’. In the early 20th century, thanks to the mediating
activities of philosophical societies and cultural magazines, these debates spread from academic circles and spilled over into popular culture. This article explains how the popularisation of Indian texts by scholars such as Paul Deussen and Karl Eugen Neumann aimed to reorient Western philosophy and Christian faith. Karl Gjellerup’s once-famous, now almost forgotten, novel Die Weltwanderer (The Wanderers of the World, 1910) will serve as a literary example of an attempt at a nationalistic reorientation of Christianity between artistic fantasies of redemption and nationalist and racialised beliefs.