Presented to the Schleiermacher Society,
Annual Meeting of the
American Academy of Religion ( San Antonio ), November 20, 2004

 Schleiermacher Our Contemporary:

Two Tasks  

D.Seiple

www.dseiple.com

 

   

What’s at stake these days in one’s attitude toward Schleiermacher?  Not very much at all – if we cannot make Schleiermacher our contemporary.  But Friedrich Naumann, even by 1900, was saying that even German  Protestantism had hardly learned what to do with Schleiermacher, and the biographer Martin Redeker has made a similar point about us: “Protestantism has not understood how to utilize the spiritual power that came to expression in Schleiermacher’s thought.”[1] Given what has happened on the academic and political scene since Redeker wrote this in 1973, it’s perhaps hard not to agree.

What could be more daunting a task?  For to contemporaneize Schleiermacher, I think, means that two tasks, not just one, must be accomplished and harmonized, and their apparent incongruity is just what makes it so daunting.

(1>>>)   First, it means treating Schleiermacher as a beneficiary, rather than a victim, of the Linguistic Turn that both analytic[2] and continental philosophy[3] – not to mention popular culture -- have taken these days.  It means – as Francis Fiorenza has already reminded us[4] – that we need to set Schleiermacher within a “cultural-linguistic” framework.  But if our project is to take Schleiermacher at his best and make him our contemporary, Fiorenza is arguably right in saying that this would have to be a framework in which faith practice is not treated sui generis, “sheltered from and independent of its embeddeness within human experience and culture.”[5]  It would mean, in other words, giving expression to what we traditionally call “Christian liberalism.” 

Now, not surprisingly, the term “liberal” is no less a contested site than, say, the term “religion” these days – despite (or because of) the fact that many of its proponents aren’t quite sure what to say about it.  It’s not surprising to find those most interested in social justice issues, for example, are very frequently those most interested in the practices of contestation, interrogation, deconstruction, and other kind of suspiciousness aimed at some of liberalism’s own pronouncements.  And it’s not at all hard to understand why this is so.  Those who have been marginalized by discursive disciplines are not likely to be eagerly duped again, and so they cast a suspicious hermeneutical eye on the metanarratives of any prospective oppressor. 

This is one reason for liberalism’s dire straits today: its likely proponents are some of its most disillusioned constituents.  Decades ago, rather than being so unimpressed by the objective claims made in the gospel about freedom and salvation, these would have been the liberals of the day.  Old-line religious liberals, as well as their more conservative colleagues, were no less committed to objective truth: their differences were only (!?) over the objective content of the gospel message.  Frequently this was a difference in terms of logical strength (i.e., specificity).   Some “conservatives” tend to be rather specific as to the salvifically obligatory details of forensic atonement, or Christian uniqueness, or dispensational eschatology.  Liberals, on the other hand, have tended to be more minimalist, and this owes much to their sensitivity to context (e.g., “situation ethics”).  But more than one liberal has discovered that once the Linguistic Turn has been taken and the cultural-linguistic context becomes central, it becomes a battle to rescue minimalism from vacuousness.  Therein lies the daunting.

(2>>>)  All this points to a second task for Schleiermacher’s contemporaneizers to undertake – viz., to give objective content to what we take the gospel to be, even after we’ve taken that Linguistic Turn.  This would mean (I would argue) actually specifying the gospel Metanarrative which “we know” to be true.  It would mean continuing, though in a more self-critical and sensitive way, the old “liberal” project in theology.  These days, this sounds like a remarkably “conservative” thing to do, because it would also mean treating at least one Metanarrative as more than just “divine drudgery.”[6]

Metanarratives have often been described in terms of grand progress, sacred history, whiggish stories which often involve conquest and subjugation, or Armageddon-like scenarios which some even suppose they have a hand in bringing about, according to God’s judgmental will,[7] (while the rest of us are just “left behind”).  Many today have made it their special calling to interrogate, resist, contest, and deconstruct such narratives and the abstract categories they subtextualize.  I am not sure I would recommend any of those narratives.  But there is more than one way to skin a Metanarrative down to the bone of its structure.   And just because certain fundamentalist-oriented evangelicals[8] give one form to that structure does not mean that ours must be either formless or deconstructable.

So at this point I am tempted to announce that I am a confessing “objectivist.”  I do this with some trepidation.  When I say that I am an “objectivist,” I am using a term I might be better off avoiding, owing to certain other infamously cultish associations in philosophy which I certainly do not want to rouse.[9]  I might be better off simply calling myself an “extratextualist”– except for the fact that Richard Bernstein has influentially used this same term “objectivism” (though not as too much of a compliment) to mean something I do hold, viz., a conviction in “some permanent ahistorical matrix or framework to which we can ultimately appeal”[10] Never perhaps has there been a better example than this of a “third rail” in postmodern theology, probably because raising the specter of “objectivity” seems to threaten a kind of social security, a solidarity which many of our academic sisters and brothers have secured through many dangers, toils and political snares.  Totalizing discourse has indeed been hegemonically weaponized; and for the marginalized, identity formation has come often at a heavy emotional price and only by contesting the many objectivist claims that carry oppressive agendas.  So it’s not surprising that around this issue of objectivity, some of us seem to be suffering from a kind of post-modernic stress disorder. 

However, I suspect that “objectivism” (in Bernstein’s sense) may be a slippery slope only if you don’t watch carefully where you’re going.  And so, of course, we should proceed cautiously.  Sometimes, in fact, we find that a term’s slovenly connotations can actually contribute to its reassessment – its “remembrance and renewal,” as Julia Kristeva has indicated in announcing recently that she is (remarkably!) a “postmodernist humanist.”[11]  (Given what we are used to thinking about the post-structuralist erasure of “man”[12] – and this is not just a gender reference! – what could be more startling?)  So too Gadamer has labored long and hard to rehabilitate the notion of “prejudice,”[13] as Rorty has the notion of “ethnocentrism.”[14]  Dissonance may be extremely useful, in calling attention to the deeper point being made.

So when I confess belief in “some permanent ahistorical matrix or framework to which we can ultimately appeal,” right away this may sound as if I am trying to rehabilitate foundationalist epistemology or Platonic forms – a task I’ll happily leave to John Milbank.  Rather, my thought here is that human history has just enough internal coherence and shape to it, and our language has just enough referential power in it, that preaching the gospel is more than piece of autobiographical performance art and more than an exercise in literary criticism – even though it may profitably use both of these strategies to convey the message.  (Our best preachers know this already, so I’m not saying anything new.[15])    Rather, what my point is that objectivity is a performative requirement within the witness and conduct of the Christian life; without it, what we do is unintelligible at a certain level -- as if, indulging for the moment in the discourse  of analytic philosophy, I were to say: “I know that p but I don’t believe that p.”  It’s as if I know that I am saved and I know that this promise is available to all humankind, but I don’t believe that fact is objectively true.  That certainly “doesn’t preach!”

 

So, in summary here so far, if I am right, we face a need to balance two seemingly competing but both real demands upon us – (“dogmatic” demands, in the honorific sense[16]) --  those of diversity and objectivity.  My aim is certainly not to solve this daunting problem here and now in this brief discussion, but rather to motivate the project of attempting its solution. 

 

**

In this discussion my strategy will be to focus upon the second – i.e., “objectivist” -- task, by considering three illustrative points which I take to be crucial.  (This is not an exhaustive list.)  And this immediately throws us into apparent tension with the cultural-linguistic task.  For even if there is (as Schleiermacher our contemporary would surely declare) a cross-cultural objective truth to what we might want to say about religious consciousness, what is most vital and essential about it  – arguably what Thandeka describes as the certitude of life[17] taking form in consciousness -- cannot be “given externally” in the “speculative realm”[18] (by philosophy or social science).  It cannot be vividly rendered except internal to some particular cultural-linguistic form, as we might see right away from considering these three points:

 

(a*) “The significance of the biblical message when it is heard as a witness to God” takes the linguistic form of a promise.[19]  Our ordinary life, as we know it to be, is characterized by what Schleiermacher calls ‘the antithesis of pleasure and pain’ (§ 5.4), but the “highest summit” of our perfection “excludes any such antithesis.”  We have attained this “Blessedness of the finite being” when the unanswerable questions of theodicy are finally put to rest  -- when all indeed will be well, and when we shall indeed finally experience this to be so.

 

(b*) This Promise is in principle (latently though not occurrently) available to any listener in any situation that has the cultural-linguistic resources to represent it. We are all the recipients of a “single divine fore-ordination to blessedness” such that ”all belonging to the human race are eventually taken up into living fellowship with Christ”  (CF §119).    But, very importantly:  this Promise is not fulfilled by anything the listener can herself do.

 

(c*) The representational content of the Promise is not to be restricted to the “configuration [of] the life span of Jesus.”[20]  The narrative of Jesus of Nazareth is one of a  relationship with God wherein the Promise of Blessedness was fulfilled despite the most excruciating situations imaginable.  Despite Schleiermacher’s own view on this, I’m not sure why we should assume that the rather minimalist but nonetheless non-vacuous promise that “all will indeed be well” requires any reference to Jesus.  This may be one area where contemporaneizing Schleiermacher may involve a more critical eye toward some of his most dearly held doctrines. 

 

I now turn to a discussion of each of these.

 

(a*)  The Promissory Metanarrative

 

I take it that the Promise is roughly this: that in the face of all the concerns that the most accomplished theodicist can muster, we shall nonetheless see ourselves perfected one day, despite our currently imperfect state. This is even a kind of empirically testable proposition – though only of course “in principle,” since it will, if true, be confirmed not in the present, but only in the eventual experience we shall someday be having.[21]  (For those in need of philosophical nomenclature here, I would suggest “eschatological realism.”)

            How and when and in what final form that perfection shall occur is a matter of debate, and this is a debate worth having. Whether this occurs in a state literally beyond the moment of our death, or subjectively compressed at that moment for us, as if put to rest like a genetically predisposed Ivan Ilyich[22] – this is a logically separate issue. (Interestingly, Schleiermacher himself ends his discussion at CF §163 without an answer this kind of question.)  In any case, the answers to that particular debate do not, I think, occupy the same level of importance as the Promise itself.  Moreover, here we existentially are -- in the interim, having learned that real thieves in the night are thankfully infrequent and never predictable; and we face real situations where actually our salvation is fearfully and tremulously unfolding.  Yet we also “know” that the Kingdom is in breaking even now and its first perfected fruits are already ours.  So – despite the agonizingly extended interim -- the Kingdom is indeed coming even now.  Its coming, “in power” (Mark 9.1), is manifested in what we might call “the Transcendent Power of Providence,” – Schleiermacher treats it “under the form of eternal omnipotence” (§ 56) -- and it comes not from ourselves as we know ourselves to be.  For despite all the apparent limitations of time and place and personal psychology, we are called to reject the idea that “any situation is hopeless – any situation.”[23]

 

(b*)  The Human Condition: latent but not occurrent perfectibility

 

To say that humans are perfectible is not to commit the “Pelagian” error of thinking that we can perfect ourselves.   If we weren’t perfectible, then even God couldn’t perfect us.   We watch and wait, as we are called to witness and to act – though our witness and our acts flow from our having received the Promise, not in any way as its prior condition. 

So one side-comment is perhaps worth making here at the outset, especially in view of the fact that Schleiermacher’s own background is of course patrimonially Calvinist.  It is of some considerable worry for many who are friendly to Calvin these days that liberals like Schleiermacher, who emphasize “the divine nature that is in all men,”[24] are really preaching the power of human efforts for their own salvation.. For many nowadays, who remain (loosely or otherwise) “Calvinist,” the Promissory Metanarrative naturally brings forth the rhetoric of “divine sovereignty” and “human depravity.” 

It is tempting for a “liberal” to dismiss the rhetoric of sovereignty in particular as just a feudal image.  But the fact that hegemonic affiliations have encumbered such speaking is no reason in itself  not to cleanse and perfect it.[25]  Abusus non tollit usum.[26]   There may be much to like about the image of a truly benevolent (and wise and omnipotent) sovereign.  I would hate to argue that we should throw out all the language that ever had any hegemonic associations just because people’s semantic imaginations have been impaired by all the abuse they may have suffered.[27]  The remedy to that is to actually address their suffering, not just adjust our language and think we’ve addressed it.

More problematic perhaps is the rhetoric of total depravity, and here in particular Schleiermacher might have something to say to us: Let’s agree with Calvin that I have the latent power to be unalien to God: for “God’s image was not totally annihilated and destroyed” in Adam,[28] And let’s also agree that I lack the occurrent power to be that: I depend instead on a Power which is felt to be transcendent to my own Ego.  Liberals (and others) are often accused of  failing to see this – of being insufficiently alert to the boasting-potential of thinking one can save oneself,[29] of thinking that humans don’t need to be radically transformed, or that their transformation is a mere matter of getting social policy right.  (And some “liberals” have been known to think this!)  But (i) even if this charge might be more right than not, does this imply our “total depravity”?  Or (ii) is such a  particular linguistic formulation not more a matter of rhetorical choice? 

(i) Those who admire Schleiermacher’s project are likely to admire also the way he handled this portion of his own patrimony.  Schleiermacher is not even a closet Pelagian, which is a fact some of his critics may have missed. As Schleiermacher says: “The individual can act only in accordance with his species, but never can act upon that nature” (§72.3), so given the fact that terms like “redemption” have an anthropologically significant use at all (as Schleiermacher surely believes), we cannot save ourselves, by performing works of any kind (including even acts of prayer and meditation designed to raise our subjectivity to the level of “God-Consciousness).  On the other hand, Schleiermacher would also say that we need to be cautious, in our zeal to avoid the errors of Pelagius, not to stumble into Manicheanism.  If human nature did not contain at least  a latent “restorative” power, redemption could never occur at all, except as God’s “arbitrary act,” and Schleiermacher declares that to be incompatible with the biblical witness (Gal 4.4) that God’s acts occur only “in the fullness of time.”[30]

The reminder, that we cannot save ourselves, fits somewhere in between these two parameters, whose margins are perhaps more clearly drawn for us – as heresies always are – than the middle ground we seek to occupy. 

(ii) In that case, I think, the question is one that bears some resemblance to the questions a psychotherapist might ask. As a psychotherapeutic matter, virulent self-reproach is a form of self-battery, and though there may be some relief in God’s accompanying grace, how different is this from the relief of the battered wife gratefully receiving the darkly mixed messages of her sovereign husband? (This problem afflicted Luther as well.)  It’s worth asking whether those who stay with the rhetoric of total depravity have some unhealthy attachment to the syndrome.  I suspect that a fuller discussion than I can provide here would indicate that Calvin’s rhetoric at this point is more a reflection of what William K. Bouwsma, in his superb study of psychological conflict, has called “the two Calvins, coexisting uncomfortably within the same historical personage.”[31]

So my point here, to address the concerns of the Calvinist, is this: Many might agree that some rendering of the Calvinist principle of sovereign grace (rather than sola scriptura) might be the Reformation’s greater legacy.  But I wonder: Would it be incorrect to render this particular “disbelief” in the idea that our salvation can be nothing more than “an effect of the human will, of human choice, a decision, a leap of faith, an assent, or a consent”[32] – as essentially a deeply understood and vivid awareness  that our salvation depends upon more than the motivation of the objective consciousness (our own egos)?  Would agreeing to this change the actual experience of receiving “faith through grace alone” – where, to the objective consciousness, faith’s arrival can only be itself entirely startling (either at the moment of sudden conversion (for some), or else later on, in retrospective self-reflection upon the direction one’s own narrative has (somehow or other) ended up taking after all)?

            Of course, it’s not for me to say that no one can ever find any good reason to identify rather fully with Calvin and his historical audience.  As a philosophical  observation though, I suspect that the lack of “occurrent power” is already just about as total as one could possibly want.  (If we can’t do something, we really can’t do it.)  And I suspect that in more cases than not, the fire and brimstone images of Calvin are really more coercive than edifying, and that God calls us instead to freedom and spiritual autonomy – whose way may not be best prepared by some of the rhetorical practices of 16th-century Geneva (or 17th-century Salem , Massachusetts ).  In that sense, I would argue that we need to retain the rhetoric of “transcendence” – which is no less possible for a naturalist than anyone else to favor[33] – an d g iven that this entire discussion is a discussion of power, the rendering of that transcendence might as will be in terms of God’s Sovereignty.

   

(c*) The representational content of the Promise is not to be restricted
to the “configuration [of] the life span of Jesus.”[34]

   

The last of this list is perhaps the most controversial,  It is probably the most characteristically  “liberal” stipulation here.  It claims that  religious “pluralism” in some sense is true.  And it seems to me to be suggested, if not strictly implied, from a justly famous passage, where Schleiermacher declares “an eternal covenant between the living Christian faith and completely free, independent scientific inquiry, so that faith does not hinder science and science does not exclude faith.”[35]  There are moments in his discussion, however, when this cooperative venture seems to have been sidetracked, as in the matter of Christian uniqueness. 

Schleiermacher holds to the uniqueness view despite the historical connection with Judaism  and despite  the philosophical (and, we’d now say, historical) connection with Hellenism -- which he quaintly calls “Greek and Roman Heathandom.”[36]  But just as Barth could never bring himself to believe that Schleiermacher’s nationalism would have signed him on to the Kaiser’s war,  I wonder if Schleiermacher’s Eurocentric tendencies would have guided him in today’s intellectual climate, as if what actually happened with Jesus of Nazareth could occur “only where its configuration as the life span of Jesus” is valuated within the institutions of self-confessing Christians.[37]  Schleiermacher’s  argument at this point (§13.1) seems hardly worthy of him, based as it is on what seems like an embarrassing equivocation, and which sounds more like the speculative philosophers for whom Schleiermacher did not hold out much theological hope (§20.1).

Schleiermacher’s own Christology at this point actually seems to break the eternal covenant between faith and science, claiming that that the earthly appearance of Christ  “can never be explained by the conditions of the circle in which it appears and operates” (§13.1) – never, in other words, as a wholly naturalistic event.  This would mean that empirical science does indeed “exclude faith,”[38] since “anybody who refused to recognize this” would be “incapable of understanding redemption in the proper sense” (§13.2).  On the very prior page, however, Schleiermacher cannot bring himself to say that the Incarnation is not “a natural fact”: Christ’s very humanity must have contained the power to “take up into itself the restorative divine element,” or else Christ could not have been fully human.  And so Schleiermacher is, uncharacteristically, driven to a philosophically desperate position.  Whereas the Christ-event was not “absolutely supernatural,” its metaphysical pregnancy (as it were) was at least a little bit supernatural. 

It may be that Schleiermacher was wanting here to make use of the very sensible metaphysical distinction between latent and occurrent possibility, but he turned this into a metaphysical dualism driven by his apriori assumption regarding Christian uniqueness.  This seriously (and, I suspect, needlessly) weakens his overall project.   

It would not be hard to imagine a whole host of Schleiermacher scholars going wrong at just this point, by taking him seriously while not at his best.  If we view Schleiermacher through Thiemann’s lens,[39] as “clearly the father of the mature modern doctrine” of revelation[40]  and if what is thus said to be revealed is even a little bit supernatural, then we are left equally in the dark about the actual transmission, which would be, quite mysteriously, not “absolutely supra-rational” but not absolutely not supra-rational either.  And so we are stuck back in the same equivocation. It’s tempting to see Schleiermacher’s problem here as a theological version of a psychophysical dualism still familiar to our own day, which supposed that at least some mental states (usually described as “reasons,”[41] but here as “Christ’s communication or influence”[42]) could not be “absolutely” natural events within the chain of causation. 

Though there may be other reasons as well, one reason Schleiermacher is equivocal on the matter of the Incarnation may be that he lacked the conceptual tools to make room for a broader sense of nature.   And this is the direction for my own project here.

  

(*)

 

 

These considerations appear to suggest the following.  The cultural-linguistic task involves not the diremption of nature from language – as the anti-realism of the intratextualists implies.  Rather, it involves a fuller sense of “nature” than the sciences alone can provide.  Nature, on this view, is the site of access to the power of the spirit.

This is the realm towards which the objectivist task is directed.  Latency would then be the objective possibility for that which Grace makes occurrent.  It may in fact be that, objectively speaking, Grace is the latency of nature insofar as it impacts the lives of all humans.  For this we need a notion of “nature” which is not denuded of its spiritual content, so that what we reference in faithful self-representation is the power of ontological transformation, and what gets accomplished in that event (in and through the community of faith) is our own spiritual rebirth.  So faith, we might say, is a performative which Grace makes occurrent. 

The hermeneutics of suspicion is motivated by a sense that the language of any (presumably) hegemonic metanarrative lacks the semantic reference to nature which extratextualism assumes.   But if a Metanarrative references instead the universal liberation which Grace objectively provides, regardless of the cultural-linguistic form its preparatory work takes on, then the reasons for suspicion may be transfigured into reasons for celebration.

 

   back to www.dseiple.com

 

Bibliography

 

Bernstein, Richard J. Beyond Objectivism and Relativism. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

Bloesch, Donald G. Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Volume One: God, Authority, and Salvation. New York : HarperCollins, 1978.

Bouwsma, William J. John Calvin. New York and Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1988.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. Edited by John T. McNeill. Philadelphia : The Westminster Press, 1960.

Danto, Arthur C. "Basic Actions and Basic Concepts." 1979. In The Body/Body Problem, 45-62. Berkeley CA : University of California Press, 1999.

Fiorenza, Francis Schussler. "Religion: A Contested Site in Theology and the Study of Religion." Harvard Theological Review 93, no. 1 (Jan 2000).

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. Edited by Garrett Barden and John Cumming. 2d ed. New York : Crossroads, 1975.

Kristeva, Julia. "Is Revolt Possible Today?" New School University : NYU Graduate Faculty, Oct 26, 2004 .

Lafont, Christina. The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy. Cambridge MA : MIT Press, 1999.

The Linguistic Turn. Edited by Richard Rorty. Chicago and London : University of Chicago , 1967.

Morse, Christopher. The Logic of Promise in Moltmann's Theology. Philadelphia : Fortress Press, 1979.

———. Not Every Spirit. Valley Forge PA: Trinity Press International, 1994.

Peikoff, Leonard. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York : Meridian , 1991.

Redeker, Martin. Schleiermacher: Life and Thought. Translated by John Wallhausser. Philadelphia : Fortress Press, 1973.

Rice, Charles L. The Embodied Word. Minneapolis : Fortress, 1991.

Rorty, Richard. "On Ethnocentrism: A Reply to Clifford Geertz." In Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth. Vol. vol. 1 of Philosophical Papers, 203-10. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Schleiermacher, Friedrich D. E. On the Glaubenslehre: Two Letters to Dr. Lücke. Translated by James Duke, , and Francis Fiorenza. Atlanta : Scholars Press, 1981.

Schleiermacher, Friedrich. The Christian Faith. Translated by H. R. Mackintosh and J. S. Stewart. Edinburgh : T&T Clark, 1999.

Seiple, D. "Review of Victor Kestenbaum , The Grace and the Severity of the Ideal: John Dewey and the Transcendent." Union Seminary Quarterly Review Spring 2004: http://www.dseiple.com/DSeiple%20Writings/KestenbaumReview.htm.

Smith, Jonathan Z. Drudgery Divine. University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Soper, Kate. Humanism and Anti-Humanism. LaSalle IL : Open Court , 1986.

Thandeka . The Embodied Self. Albany : State University of New York Press, 1995.

Thiemann, Ronald F. Revelation and Theology: The Gospel as Narrated Promise. University of Notre Dame Press, 1985.

Weber, Timothy P. On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel 's Best Friend. Baker Academic, 2004.

 



[1] Martin Redeker, Schleiermacher: Life and Thought, translated by John Wallhausser (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1973), 34.

[2] The Linguistic Turn, edited by Richard Rorty (Chicago and London: University of Chicago, 1967).

[3] Christina Lafont, The Linguistic Turn in Hermeneutic Philosophy (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1999).

[4] Francis Schussler Fiorenza, "Religion: A Contested Site in Theology and the Study of Religion," Harvard Theological Review 93, no. 1 (Jan 2000).

[5] Fiorenza, "Religion: A Contested Site."

[6] Jonathan Z. Smith, Drudgery Divine (University of Chicago Press, 1990).

[7] Timothy P. Weber, On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel 's Best Friend (Baker Academic, 2004).

[8] It is startling how unhelpful designations like “conservative” are.  By no means do I mean to exclude here all who might consider themselves “evangelical” or “conservative.”

[9] Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (New York: Meridian, 1991).

[10] Richard J. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), 8.

[11] Julia Kristeva, "Is Revolt Possible Today?" (New School University : NYU Graduate Faculty, Oct 26 2004 ).

[12] Kate Soper, Humanism and Anti-Humanism (LaSalle IL: Open Court, 1986).

[13] Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, edited by Garrett Barden and John Cumming, 2d ed. (New York: Crossroads, 1975), 239-40.

[14] Richard Rorty, "On Ethnocentrism: A Reply to Clifford Geertz," in Philosophical Papers, vol. vol. 1, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth (Cambridge University Press, 1991), 203-10.

[15] Charles L. Rice, The Embodied Word (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991).

[16] Christopher Morse, Not Every Spirit (Valley Forge PA: Trinity Press International, 1994), 34.

[17]  Thandeka , The Embodied Self (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 103.

[18] Friedrich Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith, translated by H. R. Mackintosh and J. S. Stewart (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999), §20.1.

[19] Christopher Morse, The Logic of Promise in Moltmann's Theology (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 50.

[20] Morse, Not Every Spirit, 251.

[21] It suggests an admittedly odd kind of testability, because one possible eventuality, for all we can philosophically and scientifically determine, would be that the most cynical materialist is right, and death is just the end, and it’s all just a pathetic little tragedy.  So not actually having the promised experience would have to count as a kind of negative empirical test (as would finding ourselves among the eternally damned).  Apparently, then, a proposition can be “testable” in one highly important sense, without the results of the test actually ever being known.  

[22] Tolstoy

[23] Morse, Not Every Spirit, 250.

[24] Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Volume One: God, Authority, and Salvation (New York: HarperCollins, 1978), 121.

[25] Neither of course is it reason to ignore the need to purge the hegemonic semiotics, but this leads the discussion far astray. 

[26] The abuse of something does not preclude its proper use.

[27] At the same time, of course, this is no reason not to attend to the hegemonic issues.  Let's not force ourselves to imbibe the bathwater just because we don't want to throw out the baby.

[28] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Ford Lewis Battles, edited by John T. McNeill (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960), I, xv, 4.

[29] Calvin, Institutes, II, I, 2.

[30] Schleiermacher, CF, §13.1).

[31] William J. Bouwsma, John Calvin (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 230.

[32] Morse, Not Every Spirit, 251.

[33] D. Seiple, "Review of Victor Kestenbaum , The Grace and the Severity of the Ideal: John Dewey and the Transcendent," Union Seminary Quarterly Review Spring 2004: http://www.dseiple.com/DSeiple%20Writings/KestenbaumReview.htm.

[34] Morse, Not Every Spirit, 251.

[35] Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher, On the Glaubenslehre: Two Letters to Dr. Lücke, translated by James Duke,   and Francis Fiorenza (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1981), 64.

[36] Schleiermacher, CF, §12.1.

[37] Morse, Not Every Spirit, 251.

[38] Schleiermacher, On the Glaubenslehre, 64.

[39] However, the point of Thiemann’s discussion is to formulate a doctrine of revelation specifically not  beholden to Schleiermacher, so one might take his rather brief comments to be not so much wrong about Schleiermacher as rightly cautionary toward a line that Schleiermacher’s friendly commentators might inadvisably take.

[40] Ronald F. Thiemann, Revelation and Theology: The Gospel as Narrated Promise (University of Notre Dame Press, 1985), 25.

[41] Arthur C. Danto, "Basic Actions and Basic Concepts," 1979, in The Body/Body Problem (Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 1999), 57-59.

[42] Schleiermacher, CF, S13.2.

 

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