Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Divine VariationsHow Christian Thought Became Racial Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Terence Keel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780804795401

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804795401.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use (for details see www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 January 2019

Impure Thoughts

Impure Thoughts

Johann Blumenbach and the Birth of Racial Science

(p.23) 1 Impure Thoughts
Divine Variations

Terence Keel

Stanford University Press

Chapter 1 examines the thought of the eighteenth-century ethnologist Johann F. Blumenbach, whose 1775 work On the Natural Variety of Mankind is often represented as precipitating the secular turn in the modern study of race. The chapter offers an alternative account of the intellectual ancestry alive in Blumenbach’s racial theories by recovering the Christian sources of his thinking. Political and philosophical anti-Judaism prevalent in late eighteenth-century Germany, the transformation of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther into a pioneer of German national identity, and the anti-Jewish writings of Johann David Michaelis in the emergent field of biblical geography at Göttingen University were all crucial political, religious, and intellectual influences during the time Blumenbach developed his racial theories. Drawing on the notion that the epistemological origins of racial science are fundamentally mongrel, this chapter argues that Blumenbach’s racial theories were not an expression of pure, untainted, secular rationality.

Keywords:   Blumenbach, Martin Luther, origins of racial science, post-Enlightenment

Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.