Monique Scheer

Empfundener Glaube. Die kulturelle Praxis religiöser Emotionen im deutschen Methodismus des 19. Jahrhunderts


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Our common understanding of emotions has limited our ability to analyze them as cultural practices. If we conceive of feelings as learned and cultivated, then it becomes clear that they are to be viewed as a form of knowledge acquired and regulated in specific cultural contexts. For the role of emotions in religious practice, this perspective means that we can take them seriously as an integral part of practice, not simply as its effect. Sources for this kind of analysis can and should be not only what people say they feel, but also what they do in order to feel, as is shown in this article using the example of Methodist worship practices among Germans in Württemberg and the Ohio River valley. From the class meeting to the camp meeting, different spaces of experience were created for the purpose of cultivating certain emotions, which were understood to be evidence of God’s presence.