Reader's Guide to Schleiermacher's Christian Faith

Definitions of Key Terms and Questions for Aiding Understanding

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First Part of the System of Doctrine: The Development of that Religious Self-Consciousness which is always both presupposed by and contained in every Christian Religious Affection

Introduction

32 The immediate feeling of absolute dependence is presupposed and actually contained in every religious and Christian self-consciousness as the only way in which, in general, our own being and the infinite Being of God can be one in self-consciousness.

Questions

  • 32.1: Is the experience of God, the feeling of absolute dependence, a discrete experience (i.e., a particular experience of some-thing: now occurring, now not, etc.), or not? When does it occur?
  • 32.2: Is the world the object of the feeling of absolute dependence? Why, or why not? Is the world’s unity the same as God’s unity?
  • 32.3: Can one’s consciousness ever simply be pure God-consciousness as such?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

 

33 This feeling of absolute dependence, in which our self-consciousness in general represents the finitude of our being (cf.  8, 2), is therefore not an accidental element, or a thing which varies from person to person, but is a universal element of life; and the recognition of this fact takes the place, for the system of doctrine, of all the so-called proofs of the existence of God.

Questions

  • 33.1: If the feeling of absolute dependence is implicit in all human sensory experience, why isn’t everyone consciously aware of it?
  • 33.2: If an individual suffers from a “childish lack of God-consciousness”, does his or her nature assist or resist development beyond this point? Also, what are the two sources of Atheism proper?
  • 33.3: Should Dogmatics presuppose a cultivated God-consciousness, or offer proofs of God’s existence?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

 

34 The feeling of absolute dependence is contained in every Christian religious affection, in proportion as in the latter, through its co-determining stimuli, we become conscious that we are placed in a universal nature-system, i.e. in proportion as we are conscious of ourselves as part of the world.

Questions

  • 34.1: How is our spirit native to the nature-system? By what basis does it comprehend the world?
  • 34.2 [3rd & 4th ’s of 34.1]: Does comprehension of the rational structures of the world drive away religious experience? Also, does the rationality of the world mean that the world is a giant mechanism?
  • 34.3: So often, Schleiermacher notes, our sensuous impulses are swallowed by the flux of experience. Is there anything religious in this? Is there such a thing as a purely worldly, purely secular experience?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

 

35 According to the criterion of the three forms established in  30 we shall have to treat, first, the relation present in the religious self-consciousness between the finite being of the world and the infinite Being of God; then, in the second section, the attributes of God in relation to the world as they appear in that self-consciousness; and lastly, in the third section, the constitution of the world as therein conceived in virtue of its absolute dependence on God.

Questions

  • 35.1-3: Of the three forms of dogmatic propositions, what is the fundamental form? How does it relate to the other two? How to protect it from their pollution? Which of these three forms is most volatile?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

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