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Essays on Kant$
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Henry E. Allison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199647033

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199647033.001.0001

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: Reason, Revelation, and History in Lessing and Kant

: Reason, Revelation, and History in Lessing and Kant

(p.254) Essay Seventeen: Reason, Revelation, and History in Lessing and Kant
Essays on Kant

Henry E. Allison

Oxford University Press

This essay is concerned with the treatment of the relation between reason, revelation, and history in Lessing and Kant. It argues that both challenged the central assumption of the enlightenment that Christianity's claim to be the single true religion is based on the historicity of the Christian revelation and is therefore a question of fact. The essay is divided into three parts. The first explores Lessing's contention that the Christian religion has an “inner truth,” which is independent of its historical foundations, and his attempt in “The Education of the Human Race” to present a developmental view of religion in which Christianity occupies a middle place. The second analyzes Kant's account of Christianity as a pure moral religion, which should ultimately be purified of the historical elements of its belief system. The third part discusses the salient similarities and differences in the religious philosophies of these two thinkers.

Keywords:   Christianity, question of fact, historicity, inner truth, moral religion, reason, revelation, true religion

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