Liberal Theology in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

John Allan Knight

in Liberalism versus Postliberalism

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199969388
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301546 | DOI:

Series: American Academy of Religion Series

Liberal Theology in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

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The first chapter provides background for the later discussion (in chapters three and four) of liberal theology in the twentieth century. By describing three central concerns of liberal theological method in the nineteenth century, it provides evidence that the theologians described in later chapters as representative of the liberal tradition truly are representative. The first of these three concerns is a turn to the subject, exemplified by Schleiermacher. The chapter describes briefly his two major works, the Speeches and The Christian Faith. Ritschl exemplifies the second concern, the search for historical corroboration of claims about Jesus. Finally, the search for the essence of Christianity can be seen clearly in Harnack’s What is Christianity? These three characteristic themes of nineteenth-century liberal theology will carry forward into the twentieth century and identify the theologians discussed in chapter four (especially Bultmann and Ogden) as standing squarely in the liberal tradition in theology.

Keywords: essence of christianity; Adolf von Harnack; historical jesus; liberal theology; Albrecht Ritschl; Friedrich Schleiermacher; subjective turn

Chapter.  8071 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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