Eric Carlsson

Position title: Lecturer in History


Phone: 608.263.1849

Office: 5217 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 5034 Mosse Humanities
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:00-3:00; Thursdays 12:30-1:30; or by appointment

Eric Carlsson


I study the intellectual and religious history of early modern Europe and the north Atlantic world, with a focus on the intersection of Christianity and Enlightenment thought in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Special areas of interest include the history of theology and biblical scholarship, the Christian humanist tradition, Jewish-Christian relations, German Pietism, and theories of secularization. My current research centers on Germany’s Protestant Enlightenment, particularly the seminal figure Johann Salomo Semler, and explores how new theories of history and novel practices of reading the Bible as a historical text were deployed to reconstruct Christian belief for what was perceived to be a new epoch in human intellectual and moral development. I teach a range of courses on thought and religion in Europe and the Atlantic world since 1500 as well as a two-semester survey of themes in Western religious thought from antiquity to the present.


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
B.A., University of Michigan

Selected Publications

  • “The Protestant Enlightenment.” In The Oxford History of Modern German Theology, vol. 1, ed. Grant Kaplan and Kevin Vander Schel (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).
  • “The Eighteenth Century,” “The Enlightenment,” “Johann Lorenz von Mosheim,” “Johann Salomo Semler,” and “Rationalism.” In Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions, ed. Timothy J. Wengert, et al. (Baker Academic, 2017).
  • “Eighteenth-Century Neology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology, 1600-1800, ed. Ulrich L. Lehner, Richard Muller, and A. G. Roeber (Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • “Pietism and Enlightenment Theology’s Historical Turn: The Case of Johann Salomo Semler.” In The Pietist Impulse in Christianity, ed. Christian T. Collins Winn, et al. (Pickwick Publications, 2011).

Selected Awards

  • Fellowship for Enlightenment Studies, Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Distinguished Honors Faculty Award, College of Letters & Science, UW-Madison
  • Fellow of the UW-Madison Teaching Academy
  • University Housing Honored Instructor, UW-Madison

History Courses

  • History 201 – The Historian’s Craft: Belief and Unbelief in Modern Europe
  • History 201—The Historian’s Craft: Religion and the Enlightenment
  • History 208 – Western Intellectual and Religious History to 1500
  • History 209 – Western Intellectual and Religious History since 1500
  • History 223 – The Making of Modern Christianity
  • History 229 – Christianity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800
  • History 229 — Religious Renewal in the Atlantic World, 1600-1800
  • History 411 – The Enlightenment and Its Critics
  • History 600 – Advanced Seminar in History: Religion and the Enlightenment