Philosophy and Religion at the Crux of Modernity


The year 2019 marks the two hundredth anniversary since Jacobi’s death. Jacobi held a position of unparalleled importance in the so-called ‘golden age’ of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century intellectual history. Yet despite this, his work has always posed a range of interpretative challenges that continue to hinder his reception to this day. Because of the range and style of his thought and its expression, disciplinary and interdisciplinary boundaries have limited the scope for a comprehensive presentation of his work and its legacy. The colloquium and publication which are the end of this project intends to evaluate Jacobi’s pivotal place in this period. This includes his role in bringing about the close of the Aufklärung through his critique of reason, his central part in shaping the reception of Kant’s critical philosophy and the subsequent development of German idealism, his effect on the development of Romanticism and religion through his emphasis on feeling, and his role in shaping the emergence of existentialism. The outcome of the colloquium will be the publication of an authoritative volume that will bring together major scholars on Jacobi and his period to produce an updated, authoritative resource for one of the most important but underappreciated figures in both German and European intellectual history.



  1. Birgit Sandkaulen (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): Jacobi Studies: Past, Present and Future

  2. Ariberto Acerbi (Pontificia Universitas Sanctae Crucis): Religion: Jacobi and the Enlightenment Interpretation of Christianity

  3. Benjamin Crowe (Boston University): Philosophy: Jacobi’s Critique of Reason

  4. George di Giovanni (McGill University): Literature: Jacobi and the Poets

  5. Peter Jonkers (Tillburg University): Jacobi’s Response to (Religious) Nihilism

  6. Brady Bowman (Pennsylvania State University): Certainty or Absence of Doubt? Tensions in Jacobi’s Conception of Glauben between Empiricism and Rationalism

  7. John Betz (University of Notre Dame): The Relationship between Hamann and Jacobi

  8. David W. Wood (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven): Jacobi and Fichte on the Voice of Conscience

  9. Anders Moe Rasmussen (Aarhus University): Nihilism in Jacobi and Kierkegaard

  10. Sean McGrath (Memorial University of Newfoundland): Schelling’s 1809 Response to Jacobi

  11. Douglas Hedley (University of Cambridge): Jacobi and the Munster Circle

  12. Alexander J. B. Hampton (University of Toronto): Jacobi and the Romantics

  13. Jörg Lauster (Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität): The Power of Intuition Jacobi’s Impact on Schleiermacher and the German Protestant Tradition

  14. Daniel Whistler (Royal Holloway, University of London): Palingenetic Influences on Jacobi’s Spinoza-Briefe

  15. Myriam Gerhard (Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg): Jacobi and Hegel

  16. James J. DiCenso (University of Toronto), Jacobi and Kant: On the Ethics of Reasoned Faith

  17. Ernst-Otto Onnasch (Universiteit Utrecht): Jacobi and Flatt against Kantian causality towards objective Idealism

  18. Paolo Livieri (McGill University): Reason and Revelation in Jacobi’s Late Work



The colloquium was awarded support from the DAAD and SSHRC. The event was held at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, on 28-29 September, 2019. 

Forthcoming Publication

A volume based on the colloquium is in the process of being compile, and should be published in 2021.