Chapter ID: CBB210914145

In Search of Rationality and Objectivity: Origins and Development of East German Thanatology (2016)


The officially sanctioned thanatology of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) stressed a scientific approach, in which death was seen as a biological reality that needed to be faced and accepted rationally and objectively. However, such views could be troubling, as even the chief ideologist of the GDR, Kurt Hager, noted in 1979 that a purely scientific understanding of death represented a real challenge to Marxist–Leninist thinking. This challenge was especially pressing, since the East German state had battled with the churches from the mid-1950s on over the administration and meaning of death. A close reading of the materials concerning death culture in the GDR is a revealing case study of the relationship between materialism, religion and socialism in East Germany.

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Book Paul Betts; Stephen A. Smith (2016) Science, Religion and Communism in Cold War Europe. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Hossfeld, Uwe
Walker, M.
Stokes, Raymond G.
John, Jürgen
Stutz, Rüdiger
Schramm, Manuel
Cold War History
Physis: Rivista Intemazionale di Storia della Scienza
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Johns Hopkins University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Cold War
Discipline formation
Science and religion
Science and politics
Timoféeff-Ressovsky, Nikolai
Planck, Max
East Germany
Tanzania (Tanganyika, Zanzibar)
Berlin (Germany)
20th century
19th century
Stasi [Ministerium für Staatssicherheit]
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau
United States Air Force

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