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Prof. Dr. Friedrich Vollhardt

Academic Year 2012/13

Friedrich Vollhardt, Professor of Modern German Literature Studies at the LMU specializing in Literature of the Early Modern Period, will conduct research on the development of tolerance discourse in the 16th and 17th centuries. His goal is to reconstruct the prerequisites of thought history which were definitive for Lessing's Nathan and which were motivating factors for his position on the contemporary debates. This is intended to provide a contribution to the archeology of the European tolerance idea in an area which has seen little research to date. Friedrich Vollhardt contends that the discussion parameters and thought horizons important to Lessing are not equivalent to that which has been established as fundamental knowledge in the field of tolerance research to date. The tolerance debate in Germany has rather been both characterized by the pluralization of religious faith proclamations since the Reformation and strongly determined by a lay consciousness which was formed in the course of spiritualistic movements and demanded tolerance from the church Magisterium. From this perspective, the discourse network within which Lessing's tolerance ideas have hitherto been placed is to be redefined as part of this project.

The work group also includes three young scholars. Marie-Helen Geißler is working on a dissertation on Salomon Geßner's Idyllen combining art theory and visual arts, Oliver Bach is concerned in his dissertation with the political tragedies of Andreas Gryphius with a focus on the legal theology and natural law debates of the time, and Michael Multhammer is pursuing a project on Lessings 'Rettungen'. Geschichte und Genese eines Denkstils (Lessing's Salvations: Genesis and History of a Thought Style).

Liliane Weissberg, Professor of German and Comparative Literature Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, will join the group for several months as a guest scholar.

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