Toshimasa Yasukata

in Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780195144949
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834891 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series


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Offers a general summary of our findings on Lessing's view of Christianity and reason and discusses certain implications of his work for contemporary thinking. It has been demonstrated that Christianity stood at the forefront of Lessing's concerns throughout his life, though his contribution to the history of Protestantism is actually Janus‐faced. For Lessing, as his famous dictum testifies, the goal of enlightenment is a mature autonomy capable of confessing that absolute truth is for God alone. We propose to designate this ideal of Lessingian enlightenment as the attainment of an “autotheonomy” in which “autonomy is at the same time theonomy.” Our inquiry confirms that Lessing's thought contains the potential needed for the constitutive elements of a viable theology in the postmodern age.

Keywords: autotheonomy; contemporary thinking; Janus‐faced; Lessingian enlightenment; postmodern age; Protestantism; summary

Chapter.  2897 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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