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The Halle Orphanage as Scientific CommunityObservation, Eclecticism, and Pietism in the Early Enlightenment$
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Kelly Joan Whitmer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226243771

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226243801.001.0001

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Introducing the Orphanage

Introducing the Orphanage

(p.1) One Introducing the Orphanage
The Halle Orphanage as Scientific Community

Kelly Joan Whitmer

University of Chicago Press

The Introduction offers a virtual tour of the Halle Orphanage using an account of King Friedrich I’s visit to the ensemble on October 4th, 1720. It provides readers with an accessible way into to the historiographies of Pietism and Enlightenment, including a discussion of Halle Pietists’ interest in philanthropîa and a brief account of the banishment of Christian Wolff from the city in 1723. This event became a major public controversy that led to a widespread tendency to view Pietist theologians as “anti-reason” or “anti-Enlightenment” by the 1730s and 40s. Over the years, it has tended to draw attention away from what was actually going on inside of the Orphanage, including administrators’ early efforts to collaborate with the period’s leading public intellectuals in the interest of constructing a scientific community. The introduction concludes with a discussion of the book’s central contribution to the history of science, including an emerging “history of scientific observation.”

Keywords:   Halle Orphanage, Halle Pietists, enlightenment, Christian Wolff, Philanthropîa, scientific observation

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