The Communion of Saints: A Dogmatic Inquiry into the Sociology of the Church

The Communion of Saints: A Dogmatic Inquiry into the Sociology of the Church

The Communion of Saints: A Dogmatic Inquiry into the Sociology of the Church

The Communion of Saints: A Dogmatic Inquiry into the Sociology of the Church

Excerpt

This study places social philosophy and sociology in the service of dogmatic. Only by this means did the structure of the Christian church as a community seem to yield itself to systemmatch understanding. The subject under discussion belongs to dogmatic, not to the sociology of religion. The inquiry into Christian social philosophy and sociology is a genuinely dogmatch one, since it can be answered only if our starting-point is the concept of the church. The more theologians have consided the significance of the sociological category for theology, the more clearly the social intention of all the basic Christian concepts has emerged. Ideas such as 'person', 'primal state', 'sin' and 'revelation' are fully understandable only in relation to sociality. The fact that every genuinely theological concept can be correctly comprehended only when set within and supplemended by its special social sphere is proof of the specifically theological nature of any inquiry into the sociology of the church.

This book was written more than three years ago. I was unable completely to revise it before it went to press, but had to be content with rewriting it in parts. In view of the course the subsequent debate has taken, this is a defect. My justification for publishing the book in its present form is the basic approach adopted in dealing with the problem, which now as then seems to me the right and profitable one.

I should like particularly to thank Herr Geheimrat Reinhold Seeberg, who from the outset has shown a most friendly interest in this work. My thanks are due also to the Minister for Science, Art and Education for the help accorded me in getting the book printed. It was the Notgemeinschaft für deutsche Wissenschaft, together with a grant from the Reinhold Seeberg foundation, which made publication possible. For this too I should like to express my thanks.

July 1930 . . .

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