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Theology as Science in Nineteenth-Century GermanyFrom F.C. Baur to Ernst Troeltsch$
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Johannes Zachhuber

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641918

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641918.001.0001

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Debating the Nature of Religion: Eduard Zeller

Debating the Nature of Religion: Eduard Zeller

(p.96) 5 Debating the Nature of Religion: Eduard Zeller
Theology as Science in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Johannes Zachhuber

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the theological contribution of Eduard Zeller (better known for his later, seminal work in the history of ancient philosophy). His response to Strauss and Feuerbach shows the changing context of theological and religious debate in the 1840s. With the rise of radical challenges to Christianity and the decline of the Romantic-Idealist worldview, new answers have to be found. A major issue is whether religion is primarily theoretical or practical; in this discussion, Schleiermacher is rediscovered as an important voice. Zeller’s long essay on the ‘essence of religion’ whose close analysis forms the centre of the chapter, shows his responses to these problems. It also demonstrates how much he takes for granted a settlement in which historical theology is wissenschaftlich by virtue of its unbiased use of critical methodology whereas systematic theology owes its respectability to its alignment with philosophical speculation.

Keywords:   E. Zeller, D. Strauss, G.W.F. Hegel, F. C. Baur, L. Feuerbach, atheism, critique of religion, essence of religion, theory and praxis, beatitude

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