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Between Theosophy And Orthodox Christianity: Johann Salomo Semler'S Hermetic Religion

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Chapter Summary

Johann Salomo Semler was one of Germany's most renowned eighteenth-century theologians. This chapter argues that Semler sought to construct a new form of theological Hermeticism based upon Enlightenment principles that took a critical stance towards traditional Hermetic thought, while striving to renew and modernize what he considered to be Hermeticism's essence. In this sense, Semler propounded a uniquely Enlightenment form of Hermeticism that separated it from the types of esotericism propounded by his contemporaries such as Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, Swedenborg, Lavater, Saint-Germain, Mesmer, and the Rosicrucian followers of Baron von Hund. The chapter then concentrates upon Semler's innovative reinterpretation of Hermeticism and how it led him to wage polemical war against other Hermetic thinkers of the period. Semler proclaimed that everything is filled with life and soul. This general principle encompasses everything that one can discover about individual living creations.

Keywords: Germany; Johann Salomo Semler; theologian; theological Hermeticism



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