Systematic Theology Approach - 415 REVIEWS as that developed by Schleiermacher After all such a form of theology appears t o be increasingly d o m i n a

Systematic Theology Approach - 415 REVIEWS as that...

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REVIEWS 415 as that developed by Schleiermacher. After all, such a form of theology appears to be increasingly dominant in the present day. doi:10.1093/jts/flml52 M A R K D. CHAPMAN Advance Access publication 13 November 2007 Ripon College Cuddesdon Oxford [email protected] Barth and Schleiermacher on the Doctrine of Election: A Systematic-Theological Comparison. By M A T T H I A S G O C K E L . Pp. viii + 229. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 978 0 1 9 920322 2. £ 4 5 . KARL BARTON vituperative criticisms of Friedrich Schleiermacher are no secret, and much has been made by theologians of the apparent division between the two. In this revision of his 2002 doctoral dissertation, completed at Princeton under Bruce McCormack, Matthias Gockel joins Robert Sherman and others in enriching our understanding of the relationship between Barth and Schleiermacher, challenging traditional evaluations that 'liberal theology' and 'dialectical theology' stand in irreconcilable opposition. Gockel restricts his inquiry to an incisive and cogent comparison of the development of the doctrine of election in the two thinkers. Gockel's thesis is that the doctrine of elect- ion in Barth's early theology bears a close resemblance to Schleiermacher's own Geocentric position. Barth's theology, however, from 1936 onwards, undergoes a radical christological revisioning of his earlier position. Gockel begins his survey and assessment of Schleiermacher with a chapter on Schleiermacher's revision of the doctrine in his 1819 essay O n the Doctrine of Election'. (An earlier version of this chapter appeared as 'New Perspectives on an Old Debate: Friedrich Schleiermacher's Essay on Election', IJST 6 [2004], pp. 301-18.) Situating Schleiermacher's early work on election in the context of the ecclesiastical union between the Lutheran and Reformed churches in Prussia in 1817, Gockel suggests that Schleierma- cher's most creative contribution to the discussion was his notion of an undivided and unconditional 'single divine will and decree which effects [both] faith and unbelief (p. 26). He argues that the older paradigm of a twofold divine will of election and reprobation is 'as meaningless as the question why God made © The Author 2008 Published by Oxford University Press All rights reserved For Permissions, please email journals [email protected] org
416 REVIEWS human beings in the way they were made' (p. 29). Gockel notes that the notion of the single decree 'emphasizes the unity of the divine attributes and helps to clarify key issues not only in the debate over election but also in the doctrine of God' (p. 34). Schleiermacher's revision of the doctrine of election is more fully developed in his Der christliche Glaube (ι821-2) within the bounds of a single divine decree of universal predestination to salvation in Christ, and systematically located in ecclesiology.

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