From 1906 onwards the Teubner Verlag in Leipzig published the first volumes of an ambitious encyclopedia "Die Kultur der Gegenwart, ihre Entwicklung und ihre Ziele" under the general editorship of the cultural philosopher Paul Hinneberg. The work presents a systematic account of contemporary culture. Leading scholars of the age were recruited to work on the project.
Ernst Troeltsch was charged with the section on Protestant Christianity and the Modern Age; the first edition of this appeared in 1906, with an extended second edition in 1909, which was republished unrevised in 1922.
In the present volume, Troeltsch's study is published as a separate book for the first time. In this study, Troeltsch reconstructs the historical development of Protestantism from the Reformation to the present. He distinguishes an old Protestant epoch, which is more medieval in its orientation, and a new Protestantism, which he sees as belonging more to the enlightened modern age. Troeltsch elucidates the difference between the two epochs by emphasising in particular the changes in Protestant cultural relations, and thus in Protestantism's cultural significance.