The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology

The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology

The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology

The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology

Synopsis

Bringing together a collection of essays by prominent scholars, The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Theology presents a comprehensive account of the most significant theological figures, movements, and developments of thought that emerged in Europe and America during the nineteenth century.
  • Representing the most up-to-date theological research, this new reference work offers an engaging and illuminating overview of a period whose forceful ideas continue to live on in contemporary theology
  • A new reference work providing a comprehensive account of the most significant theological figures and developments of thought that emerged in Europe and America during the nineteenth century
  • Brings together newly-commissioned research from prominent international Biblical scholars, historians, and theologians, covering the key thinkers, confessional traditions, and major religious movements of the period
  • Ensures a balanced, ecumenical viewpoint, with essays covering Catholic, Russian, and Protestant theologies
  • Includes analysis of such prominent thinkers as Kant and Kierkegaard, the influence and authority of Darwin and the natural sciences on theology, and debates the role and enduring influence of the nineteenth century "anti-theologians"

Excerpt

The nineteenth century was one of the most diverse and creative periods in the history of Christian theology. Its problems, challenges, and developments continue to be assimilated by theologians today, while its great thinkers — G. W. F. Hegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Søren Kierkegaard, John Henry Newman, et al. — are the subject of intensive international scholarship.

The theologies of the nineteenth century can be viewed variously as reactive, creative, and innovative. The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century had bequeathed a set of problems that continued to preoccupy philosophers and theologians. These included the disputed rationality of religious belief; the status of claims based upon a putative divine revelation, especially with respect to miracles; and a growing awareness of the multiplicity of religions across the world. While recognizing the pertinence of these questions, many later thinkers were deeply dissatisfied with the responses developed by deists and rationalists throughout the preceding century. Their reliance on the traditional arguments for the existence of God was queried. The notion of an essential natural religion that could be identified as the kernel of all historical variants was found to be problematic. And, at the same time, the predominantly dry and cerebral approach to religion did not appear adequate to the affective and spiritual dimensions of life. In much of this reaction to the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant functions as a key transitional figure both in his criticism of the powers of reason and in his attempt to establish religion as an article of moral faith. In his work, however, much of the Enlightenment is affirmed, there being no way back to a premodern era.

Despite this intense intellectual scrutiny of the tenets of Christian faith, the churches maintained their powerful social position in the confessional states of Europe while also displaying an impressive vitality in the New World. This ensured that theological work continued to receive the closest attention of some of the greatest thinkers in Europe and North America, not merely those within a . . .

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