An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant.
have been good or bad, according as they ministered to character.  So strong was this ethical trait in Kant that it dwarfed all else.  He was not himself a man of great breadth or richness of feeling.  He was not a man of imagination.  His religion was austere, not to say arid.  Hegel was before all things an intellectualist.  Speculation was the breath of life to him.  He had metaphysical genius.  He tended to transform in this direction everything which he touched.  Religion is thought.  He criticised the rationalist movement from the height of vantage which idealism had reached.  But as pure intellectualist he would put most rationalists to shame.  We owe to this temperament his zeal for an interpretation of the universe ’all in one piece.’  Its highest quality would be its abstract truth.  His understanding of religion had the glory and the limitations which attend this view.


Between Kant and Hegel came another, Schleiermacher.  He too was no mean philosopher.  But he was essentially a theologian, the founder of modern theology.  He served in the same faculty with Hegel and was overshadowed by him.  His influence upon religious thought was less immediate.  It has been more permanent.  It was characteristically upon the side which Kant and Hegel had neglected.  That was the side of feeling.  His theology has been called the theology of feeling.  He defined religion as feeling.  Christianity is for him a specific feeling.  Because he made so much of feeling, his name has been made a theological household word by many who appropriated little else of all he had to teach.  His warmth and passion, his enthusiasm for Christ, the central place of Christ in his system, made him loved by many who, had they understood him better, might have loved him less.  For his real greatness lay, not in the fact that he possessed these qualities alone, but that he possessed them in a singularly beautiful combination with other qualities.  The emphasis is, however, correct.  He was the prophet of feeling, as Kant had been of ethical religion and Hegel of the intellectuality of faith.  The entire Protestant theology of the nineteenth century has felt his influence.  The English-speaking race is almost as much his debtor as is his own.  The French Huguenots of the revival felt him to be one of themselves.  Even to Amiel and Scherer he was a kindred spirit.

It is a true remark of Dilthey that in unusual degree an understanding of the man’s personality and career is necessary to the appreciation of his thought.  Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher was born in 1768 in Breslau, the son of a chaplain in the Reformed Church.  He never connected himself officially with the Lutheran Church.  We have alluded to an episode broadly characteristic of his youth.  He was tutor in the house of one of the landed nobility of Prussia, curate in a country parish, preacher at the Charite in Berlin in 1795, professor extraordinarius

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An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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