schleier first sections

schleier first sections - The beginning of Friedrich...

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The beginning of Friedrich Schleiermacher’s book titled “The Christian Faith” is extremely important for understanding any of the chapters following. The following paper will explore and develop these works starting with the Second Proposition and labor through to the Sixth Proposition. There will be a major focus on Proposition 4 due the complexity of this segment and will finish with an introduction of the religious self- consciousness presented in Proposition 6. It is this author’s belief that without a thorough understanding of these initial sections the remainder of the work is often misinterpreted and the value of the works as a whole is lessened. The first chapter begins with Schleiermacher explaining Dogmatics to the reader. This sections importance lies in the title of the Second Proposition “Since Dogmatics is a theological discipline, and thus pertains solely to the Christian Church, we can only explain what it is when we have become clear as to the conception of the Christian Church.” The role of Dogmatics is specific to each Church and Schleiermacher sets out in this passage to make this information clear to the reader. It is necessary to understand this as he states “by the human reason in itself cannot have any closer relation to the Christian Church than it has to every other society of faith or of life.” To Schleiermacher and for his purposes in this book his focus will remain on the Christian Church, yet he also makes note for the general theory of church and what it means. The notion of church as he states in part two of this Proposition “must be derived principally from Ethics,” he further expounds on this by stating it “originates only through free human action and which can only through such continue to exist.” To Schleiermacher this is something that must be fully understood to embark on how the Christian Church is affected by these ethics. He notes at the end of the Second
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Proposition two specific definitions for the reader. First, Ethics understood as “speculative presentation of Reason, in the whole range of its activity, which runs parallel to natural science.” Second, Philosophy of Religion as “critical presentation of the different existing forms of religious communion, as constituting, when taken collectively, the complete phenomenon of piety in human nature.” These two definitions lead his way in to the Third Proposition in which he attempts to define the idea of church from ethical proposals. “The piety which forms the basis of all ecclesiastical communions is, considered purely in itself, neither a Knowing nor a Doing, but a modification of Feeling, or of immediate self-consciousness.” The terms feeling and self-consciousness that Schleiermacher is referring to in this opening passage will be explored more thoroughly in later sections, the key of this passage is the focus on the church. He notes that the church is an association that relates to religion or piety, and this leaves an abundance of interpretations. He clears some of the ambiguity up by stating, “it is only the
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