H. L. Martensen

Stephen Backhouse

in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604722
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729324 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

H. L. Martensen

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The role of the state and the place of the nation in Christian thought forms the backbone of Bishop Hans Lassen Martensen's speculative system. The chapter examines the issue as it appears in Martensen's ‘ethical’ works, most notably the Outline to a System of Morals and Social Ethics. Martensen was concerned to elaborate a theology that ‘goes beyond’ Hegel's extreme universalism, yet retains Hegelian speculation about progression and historical development. Martensen viewed with basic approval the phenomenon of established cultural religion, considering ‘Christendom’ to be the highest expression of Christianity. The chapter considers three ‘pillars’ which support Martensen's vision of the state; underlying philosophical assumptions about the nature of history, ethics and personality that come to their fulfilment in the defence of Christian civilization. Martensen's theology of national identity thus amounts to a defence of the very Christendom against which Kierkegaard was so opposed.

Keywords: Martensen; Hegel; Kierkegaard; Outline to a System of Morals; Social Ethics; Christendom; history; ethics; personality

Chapter.  14922 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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