Empirical Form and Religious Function provides a fresh perspective on the rise of empirical apparition narratives in the Anglophone world of the Early Enlightenment era.
Drawing on both well-established and previously unknown sources, Michael Dopffel here offers a fundamental reappraisal of one of the defining narrative genres of the 17th and 18th centuries. Intricately connected to evolving discourses of natural philosophy, Protestant religion and popular literature, the apparition narratives portrayed in this work constitute a hybrid genre whose interpretations and literary functions retained the ambiguity of their subject matter. Simultaneously an empirically approachable phenomena and a religious experience, witnesses and writers translated the spiritual characteristics of apparitions into distinct literary forms, thereby shaping conceptions of ghosts, whether factual or fictional, to this day.
Michael Dopffel was a research assistant at the Universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg and a member of the graduate college „Holy Texts“ at the University of Tübingen. He is currently a freelance author.