Christ, History, and the Reign of God in Schleiermacher's Dogmatics
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Series: Emerging Scholars
Title Page, Copyright
The work of Friedrich Schleiermacher has experienced a revival of interest over the last few decades. Research centers and scholarly associations in Germany and the United States have produced new critical editions and translations of his writings that offer considerably greater access to the manifold areas of his thought. Recent German and Anglophone studies have also opened new...
1. Diverging Theological Paths
Friedrich Schleiermacher developed his theology amidst a period of widespread cultural and intellectual transformation. His adult life, spanning from the closing decades of the eighteenth century through the first third of the nineteenth, coincided with a time of tremendous artistic, literary, and philosophical creativity as well as rapid and unsettling change. The unique...
2. Rationalizing the Supernatural
The turn of the nineteenth century began an era of significant upheaval in Europe. The optimism and confidence in reason that characterized the late eighteenth century gave way to a period of crisis and revolution in the decades that followed. While in France this unrest took a political form, Germany’s revolution was at its deepest root wissenschaftlich, an upheaval in the operations...
3. Charting an Alternative: Schleiermacher’s Critical Theology
The conflict between Rationalism and Supranaturalism provides an important glimpse into the context of Schleiermacher’s dogmatic thought. This ongoing controversy outlined the terms and concepts that dominated theological discussions of the time and served as the backdrop against which he would develop his own theological system. Equally important for grasping the specific...
4. The Distinctive Shape of Christian Thought: Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith
Schleiermacher’s principal dogmatic work, his Glaubenslehre, or Christian Faith, occupies a curious position in modern religious thought. It has been hailed as a classic and lauded as among the most important works of Protestant theology, with even his critics regarding the work as a monumental achievement.3 Yet...
5. The Contingency of Grace
In the complex organizational structure of Christian Faith’s introduction as well as in the propositions comprising its first part, Schleiermacher begins an inquiry into the proper theological content reflected in Christian piety. Yet the task of properly setting forth this content is reserved for the second part of the work, which describes the character of distinctive Christian self-consciousness...
6. The Distinctive Shape of Christian Action: Schleiermacher’s Lectures on Christian Ethics
Schleiermacher’s lectures on Christliche Sittenlehre, or Christian Ethics, comprise the practical side of his dogmatics and offer an important complement to the teachings of his Christian Faith. Alongside the latter’s multi-tiered reflections on the character of distinctively Christian thought, Christian Ethics investigates the developing forms of distinctively Christian action. Though unfinished, these...
7. Divine Grace and the Historical Unfolding of Christian Action
The previous chapter examined the structure and foundation of Schleiermacher’s Christian Ethics. These lectures treat the Christian life as a distinctive form of historical human action resulting from the original influence of the Redeemer. Distinctively Christian action is grounded in Christ’s redemptive activity, and this activity endures in Christian community as the...
8. Conclusion: Historically Embedded Grace
Writing several decades after Schleiermacher’s death, the prominent theologian and biblical scholar David Friedrich Strauss offered a noteworthy criticism of his former teacher’s thought on the relationship of Christ to history. Despite Schleiermacher’s claims to combine Christian faith with critical scholarly inquiry and a thoroughly historical method, Strauss notes, one miracle...