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On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers [Paperback]

By Friedrich Schleiermacher (Author), John C. Oman (Translator) & Jack Forstman (Foreword by)
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Item description for On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers by Friedrich Schleiermacher, John C. Oman & Jack Forstman...

This seminal work by the great Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher was first published in 1799 and quickly became a classic apologetic work. This reissue of the Oman translation presents the definitive third edition of the German original and makes this important text available again to students and scholars who wish to gain insight into the development of contemporary Protestant thought.

Publishers Description

This seminal work by the great Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher was first published in 1799 and quickly became a classic apologetic work. This reissue of the Oman translation presents the definitive third edition of the German original and makes this important text available again to students and scholars who wish to gain insight into the development of contemporary Protestant thought.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Presbyterian Publishing Corpor
Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.76" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.79"
Weight:   0.86 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 1994
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0664255566  
ISBN13  9780664255565  

Availability  80 units.
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More About Friedrich Schleiermacher, John C. Oman & Jack Forstman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Friedrich Schleiermacher was an influencial German theologian and philosopher known for his impressive attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant orthodoxy. His work also forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics.

Friedrich Schleiermacher was born in 1768 and died in 1834.

Friedrich Schleiermacher has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
  2. Columbia Series in Reformed Theology
  3. Library of Theological Ethics
  4. Making of Modern Theology

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > Substores > jp-unknown1
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

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Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about On Religion?

Infinite, feelings and God  Jan 2, 2007
I read this book because he is referred to both by John Hannah's book entitled Our Legacy and in Charles Hodge's Theology. Dr. Hannah uses the views as an example of Liberal theology. I also have heard Schleiermacher referred to the discussion on Whitehorseinn radio broadcast ( In their discussions they talk about how some of todays evangelicals do theology based upon feelings of Who God is and what God wants devoid of scriptural reference or concern what God really wants. Charles Hodge also explains what is wrong with Schleiermacher's thoughts on theology in his three book writings on theology.

Schleiermacher in this work asks the reader to examine the relationship of ones own physical existence and the soul. To compare the metaphysical with the spiritual. To explore the finite in relationship to the infinite. The author's thoughts seem pantheistic yet he argues the Supreme Being has a personal relationship with individuals. There are things on earth and things in heaven. Man should not be totally task oriented. The author purposely avoids to use the word God in the context of the first Chapter and for the most part in the book. The author tries to dissuade the reader from old associations of thought.

"The sum total of religion, then, is to feel all that moves us in our feelings, in the supreme unity of it all, as one and the same, and to feel all that is individual and particular is meditated only through that unity- that is to feel our being and life as a being and life and through God".

Religion is a person's impression of god, man's existence, the creation, man's relationship with god and the creation. The author's insistence on equality or openness of contrary thoughts. What type of God does the author want the reader to come away with. To accept all writings on spiritual matters as somewhat of the same value.

In the introduction by Richard Crouter gives an excellent sketch of the intellectual climate of Germany and the time Schleiermacher walked on this earth. John Locke and David Hume writings were within sixty years of the author. Immanuel Kant wrote in the authors youth, the French Revolution happen in the author's early adulthood. Hume totally discounted the supernatural, miracles, and God. John Locke on Religion, Government and Religious institutions. Immanuel Kant Kant tried to incorporate a response to Hume about the perception of supernatural and morals. Schleiermacher's argument are more based on human experience- the utility of belief, experience and feeling brought forth by the practice of religious ceremony. The rest of the argument seems to about the author's religious relativeness. To be cognitive think through, but based on convenience or usefulness. The editor describes more academically.

The editor does describe the social perspective of religion. The need for insight of the relationship of the finite to the finite to be shared, to worship as to be experienced. The worship, the sacraments, the meditations, maybe some yelling as part to experience. The Author argues openess of new ideas, expression of contrary thoughts about God.
Rationality could not explain the essence of religion  Jun 20, 2005
In this book, Schleiermacher wanted to revitalize the idea that human feeling is absolutely dependent on God. One who reads history in his era will find that something had disappeared from religious life because of subjective rationalism. I assume this is exactly the reason for Romantic movement. In the view of Friedrich Schleiermacher, romanticism was a movement of the rediscovery of feeling as the essence of religion. Feeling is the key idea of how someone internalizes the values, morality, and even the idea of God within himself.
For Schleiermacher, science and knowledge which is based on rationality could not explain the essence of religion. Religion has nothing to do with the knowledge of nature. The knowledge of God, on the contrary, could not be understood in the frame of `cause and effect.' Religion always related to the infinite thing, and in order to understand it, one must use immediate feeling. Schleiermacher said, "to seek and to find this infinite and eternal factor in all that lives and moves...and to know life itself only in immediate feeling-that is religion." Schleiermacher denied science because it could not bring out the contemplation of the infinite. Science or knowledge of religion is not religion itself, and it obviously, cannot be, possibly on the same level with feeling or the contemplation of religion.
It is very clear in his book that Schleiermacher wanted to put science and morality underneath religion. One could not understand any thing without religion. As a result, morality and all ethical systems have no meaning without religion. Briefly, it is impossible for a person to be moral or scientific without religion.
After subjugating science, morality and even art, Schleiermacher redefined religion and its relation to the universe. He defined religion based on human feeling, even though it doesn't mean subjectivism. We feel all particular action, our being and life, only through the consciousness of God. The consciousness of God is a kind of "external circumstance" that makes all people have the same feeling. Thousands of people could feel the same religiosity aroused in the same manner because of that external circumstance.
I found a unique idea in this book when he said: "Every particular religious organization has limited horizons. None, therefore, is able to embrace all; nor, accordingly, is any able to believe that nothing is to be seen beyond its own horizons." From this argument, Schleiermacher wanted to convince readers that difference of feeling is inevitable. Everyone, then, must be ready to see that there may be different views and experiences. Again, this can happen because "the quality of feeling" may be different. Schleiermacher stated: "Religion, however, doesn't for a moment desire to encapsulate all who have faith and feeling within a single faith or feeling. Its task is to develop sensitivity for the eternal unity of life's originating source among people whose capacity for religious experience is still immature." Therefore, within the condition of `immature,' one must be ready to have openness. Each person must be open to the fact that perceptions and feelings belong to other forms of religion for which he may well lack any sensitivity at all. From this point, Schleiermacher imagined a clear conception of inter-subjectivity in religion. He said, "this is precisely the real source of the art and love we are looking for."
In relation to morality, Schleiermacher made a distinct separation between religion and conduct. He used an example: one who acts badly may have no morality at all, but one who has morality may not be pious as well. So, the relation between religion and morality is not implicative. Religion, in itself, doesn't urge people to action at all. One can act well or badly depending on one's feelings. Therefore, conduct as a whole should be regarded as a reaction of feeling. If someone puts a good character into his feeling, his conduct will be good as well. The more we can attribute the character of piety to a feeling, the more strongly it tends to retreat within it.
It changed the landscape of Christianity  Apr 30, 2002
This book, written by Schleiermacher in 1799 at the height of his involvement with the early German Romantics, was considered one of the most provocative and intriguing reads of its day. It continues to be read today because it retains that provocative and intriguing character. In an attempt to respond to Enlightenment critiques of religion, Schleiermacher creates an entirely novel manner of thinking and speaking about religion. In this book it is possible to see the beginnings of his creative and controversial move to ground religion, not in metaphysics or morals, but rather in feeling (or what he later will call immediate self-consciousness). The ripples of this move are still apparent in Protestant theology today. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in tracing the development of modern theology back to its roots. The Crouter translation is particularly good, and it expertly renders the 18th-century language into fluid, clear prose.
The birth of liberal protestantism ...  Aug 24, 2000
... This book is a must read in order to understand the birth of liberal Protestant theology. Schleiermacher is a brilliant reaction to Kant's rational religion, with his theology of experience. One should read this in order to make sure your theology has heart.

However, Schleiermacher's solutions are wanting. In the 4th speech, he proposes that true religion can be found in small groups that are led by folks who have a closer connection to the divine than the members. In other words, let's go gather ourselves around some guru. Schleiermacher does not intend this, but in principle this idea does not exclude cases like the Branch Davidians, Hitler, etc. The later Schleiermacher of the Glaubenslehre is more self-conscious about theology's need to be continuous with tradition, while moving forward.

Read this book, then go read Barth's Word of God and the Word of Man.

The birth of liberal protestantism ...  Aug 23, 2000
Everyone who is serious about theology should read this work. Schleiermacher's desire to reconnect religion with the spiritual is an attempt to get past Kant's rational religion. For people studying theology, he gives a helpful reminder that you should not lose your soul.

However, it's in the 4th Speech that Schleiermacher lost me. I along with Karl Barth could not believe him anymore. In the 4th Speech, Schleiermacher tips his hand. Religious folks ought to form societies where they are led by someone who is more connected to the divine than they are. This seems to be a harmless premise, but this can lead to some serious misunderstandings. What excludes the Branch Davidians from this category? Or Hitler and the Nazis? To be sure, I doubt that Schleiermacher intends for these horrible things to be part an outworking of his premise. As an evangelical, I also find this view of the church as wanting in terms of its view of justification by faith and the priesthood of all believers. If we are all to be led by religious gurus, doesn't this lead to an elitist view of church leadership. It seems that Luther's great insight that all Christians are beginners in the faith has been lost.


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