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"An Examination Of The Christology Of Friedrich Schleiermacher"

1729 words - 7 pages

An examination of the Christology of Friedrich SchleiermacherFriedrich Schleiermacher is without a doubt one of the most important figures in the field of Christology. He is generally regarded as the father of modern liberal Christology and even Karl Barth, one of his most severe critics admitted that "The first place in a history of the theology of modern times belongs and will always belong to Schleiermacher, and he has no rival." Another admirer of Schleiermacher, the elder Gass once wrote to him, "there is no one who can make me waver in my belief that your dogmatics herald a new era... in the whole study of theology in general" after reading his Doctrine of Faith.His Christology has been described as "humanistic Christology" as he rejected the rationalist Christology of Kant and tried to incorporate more elements of experience and feeling (gefuhl) into his ideas about human thought, particularly within the field of religion. He had read Kant from an early age and came to believe that Kant's Christology did not do humans justice. He believed that we are more than just "rational" beings. In many respects Schleiermacher's Christology is satisfactory. His idea of Christ's perfect humanity is coherent, logical and believable. However, his attempt to better explain the "two natures doctrine" falls slightly short of satisfactory in my opinion due to his failure to properly account for Jesus' sinlessness. I will examine several different aspects of his Christology, in particularly why he believed that Christ's "God-consciousness" was the fulfilment of human nature and not a contradiction of it. I will then examine his interpretation of the two natures doctrine and show why his idea is not wholly satisfactory.One of the reasons why Schleiermacher's Christology has been described as humanistic is because his argument relies on his belief that Jesus Christ was "totally" human! If Jesus Christ was not human, but some supernatural being then the whole point of his life as well as his death and resurrection is lost. If only a supernatural being is capable of living the sinless life that Jesus did then we can all give up hope of ever achieving what he did. Schleiermacher's argument however, is designed to encourage us. Jesus Christ he argues was the perfect embodiment of a human being and something that we can all aspire to be. This is where his interpretation of the two natures doctrine becomes essential. Schleiermacher believed that Christ was not contradiction of human nature, but the perfection of it. Therefore, to become like Jesus is to become like God. Jesus Christ himself did in fact according to Schleiermacher embody this perfection of human nature and therefore, was indeed both God and man as Christianity would have us believe."The Redeemer, then is like all men in virtue of theidentity of human nature, but distinguished fromthem all by the constant potency of His God-consciousness,which was a veritable existence of God in Him."This brings us to...

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