Reader's Guide to
Schleiermacher's Christian Faith
Definitions of Key Terms and Questions for Aiding Understanding
Second Part of the System of Doctrine: Explication of the Facts of the
Religious Self-Consciousness, as they are determined by the Antithesis of
Sin and Grace
First Aspect of the Antithesis: Explication of the Consciousness of Sin
First Section: Sin as a State of Man
§66 We have the consciousness of sin whenever the
God-consciousness which forms part of an inner state, or is in some way
added to it, determines our self-consciousness as pain; and therefore we
conceive of sin as a possible antagonism of the flesh against the spirit.
67.2; 74.1; 75.1; 81. What is Schleiermacher’s understanding of the nature of
flesh and spirit? How does his understanding relate to that of Paul? To
that of other Christian forms?
- §66. sin: a
positive antagonism of the flesh against the spirit (271).
- §66.1. sin:
everything within us that arrests the free development of the
- §66.2. sin: “an
arrestment of the determinative power of the spirit, due to the independence
of the sensuous functions” (273).
§67 We are conscious of sin as the power and work of a
time when the disposition to the God-consciousness had not yet actively
emerged in us.
- §67.1. the germ
of sin: “an independent activity of the flesh” which in time “will quite
naturally come to act as a resistance to the spirit” (273).
§68 Although sin, as a result of the unequal
development of insight and will-power, can be conceived in such a way that
its existence does not invalidate the idea of the original perfection of
man, still we are bound to regard it as a derangement of our nature.
How does Schleiermacher fit the idea of a Christian Redeemer into his
account of the human consciousness of sin as somehow connected with the
original perfection of human beings?
Schleiermacher get away with not ascribing to Christ the consciousness of
What makes human beings in need of redemption?
- §68. sin: “a
result of the unequal development of insight and will-power” (275).
§69 We are conscious of sin partly as having its source
in ourselves, partly as having its source outside our own being.
- §69. What
are the sources of sin?
First Doctrine: Original Sin
§70 The sinfulness that is present in an individual
prior to any action of his own, and has its ground outside his own being, is
in every case a complete incapacity for good, which can be removed only by
the influence of Redemption.
What can remove the human incapacity for good?
What function does Schleiermacher’s distinction between doing and receiving
serve in his understanding of human incapacity for good and redemption?
Does Schleiermacher suggest a distinction between duties to God and duties
incapacity for good: when the God-consciousness is obscured and vitiated in
a human being, he or she “must be wholly incapable” of developing or
consciously aspiring to the God-consciousness.
- §70.2. good:
“that which is determined by the God-consciousness” (283).
§71 Original sin, however, is at the same time so
really the personal guilt of every individual who shares in it that it is
best represented as the corporate act and the corporate guilt of the human
race, and that the recognition of it as such is likewise recognition of the
universal need of redemption.
What is the difference between original sin and actual sin as they manifest
in the life of the individual?
How does Schleiermacher connect the corporate nature of sin with his idea
that original sin cannot be conceived of as punishment?
What would be the result of a denial of the corporate nature of original
What is the function of the idea of punishment in the relation between
original sinfulness and the human need for redemption?
- §71.2. sin as
guilt: the totality of the whole human race (289).
- §71.2. sin as
as corruption of one’s nature: when the original perfection is subverted by
(corporate; shared) original sin (289).
- §71.2. sin as
original defect: “the source of all individual perversions of the relation
between the spirit and the several functions of our sensuous life” (289).
- §71.2. sin as
original disease: “inasmuch as on its account an element of death is lodged
in every action of the spiritual life” (289, §71.2).
- §71.2. sin as
original evil: “inasmuch as in the individual it is a persistently operative
cause of impediments to life which is independent of his own action” (289,
§72 While the idea that we have thus developed cannot
be applied in precisely the same way to the first human pair, we have no
reason for explaining universal sinfulness as due to an alteration in human
nature brought about in their person by the first sin.
Why does Schleiermacher not include an analysis of the first human pair in
his understanding of the nature of sin?
How does Schleiermacher go on to use an analysis of the first human pair to
develop his concept of original sinfulness?
§72.3-72.4 What is the significance of ‘the first sin’ for Schleiermacher?
What, in the behavior of Eve and Adam, do we learn about sin?
originating original sin: “the first sin of the first man” (304).
originated original sin: “the sinful constitution of all other men . . . the
bent and inward disposition thus bearing the name of ‘sin’ equally with the
act itself” (304).
sin: “the corporate action and the corporate guilt of the whole human race”
Second Doctrine: Actual Sin
§73 In all men, original sin is always issuing in
Are human beings capable of purely good actions?
What is the relationship between original sin and actual sins?
§74 There is no difference of worth between men in
regard to sin, apart from the fact that it does not in all stand in the same
relationship to redemption.
From where do the sins of individuals who are developing the
hardening: “a state which manifests itself most distinctly in a conscious
and fixed will not to give effect to the God-consciousness” (312).
The information on this page is copyright ©1994 onwards, Wesley
Wildman (basic information here), unless otherwise
noted. If you want to use text or ideas that you find here, please be careful to acknowledge this site as
your source, and remember also to credit the original author of what you use,
where that is applicable. If you have corrections or want to make comments,
please contact me at the feedback address for permission.