Between Faith and Unbelief: American Transcendentalists and the Challenge of Atheism
This book sets out to shed light on what is specific to American Transcendentalism by comparing it with the atheistic vision of German philosophers and theologians like Ludwig Feuerbach and Arthur Schopenhauer. The study argues that atheism was part of the discursive and religious context from which Transcendentalism emerged. Tendencies toward atheism were already inherent in Transcendentalist thought. The atheist scenario came to the surface in the controversy about Emerson’s “new views.” Contemporary critics charged that the deity Emerson worshipped was himself. Emersonian Transcendentalism thus anticipated some of the central concerns in the works of German atheists like Feuerbach. From idealism to atheism seemed but a short step.