Schleiermacher religion as feeling and relationship

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Schleiermacher often described as the father of modern Christian theology “If religion grounds itself in a person only on the basis of feeling, then a dog would be .. The pious man cannot act ethically w/o reference to his relation to God. In On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers, Schleiermacher pursues an religion is essentially and ultimately demarcated from any other relationship .. Here Schleiermacher refers to the immediate self-consciousness (or feeling. statement of the relation between religious doctrine and experience (Proudfoot. xiii, 16, 31, ). Schleiermacher was the earliest and most systematic.

While in Berlin Schleiermacher developed romantic attachments to two married women, Henriette Herz and Eleonore Grunow—the latter of which attachments led to scandal and unhappiness, eventually causing Schleiermacher to leave the city.

He spent the years —4 in Stolpe. By he was teaching at Halle University. During the period —5 he began lecturing on ethics as he would do again repeatedly until In he also began delivering his famous and important lectures on hermeneutics which he repeated regularly until In —7 he left Halle as a result of the French occupation, and moved back to Berlin.

From this time on he began actively promoting German resistance to the French occupation and the cause of German unity. In Schleiermacher married a young widow, Henriette von Willich, with whom he had several children.

In —9 he became preacher at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, in professor of theology at the University of Berlin, and by also a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. In he lectured on dialectics for the first time as he would do again regularly until his death, at which time he was in the early stages of preparing a version for publication. In he began lecturing on the history of philosophy as he would again repeatedly in subsequent years. In he delivered as an address, and then published as an essay, On the Different Methods of Translation—a very important work in translation theory deeply informed by his own experience as a translator.

In —14 he lectured on pedagogy, or the philosophy of education, for the first time as he would do on two subsequent occasions: In he lectured on psychology for the first time as he would again repeatedly until —4.

In he lectured on aesthetics for the first time as he subsequently did on two further occasions, the last of them in —3. In the same year he also began lecturing on the life of Jesus as he did again on four further occasions over the following twelve years —thereby inaugurating an important genre of literature on this subject in the nineteenth century. In —2 he published his major work of systematic theology, The Christian Faith revised edition —1.

Schleiermacher died in As can be seen even from this brief sketch of his life and works, a large proportion of his career was taken up with the philosophy of religion and theology. However, from the secular standpoint of modern philosophy it is probably his work in such areas as hermeneutics i. Accordingly, this article will begin with these more interesting areas of his thought, only turning to his philosophy of religion briefly at the end.

Schleiermacher nowhere presents his philosophy of language separately; instead, it is found scattered through such works as his lectures on psychology, dialectics, and hermeneutics. The following eight positions—all but the last of which are heavily indebted to Herder—are especially worth noting: The origin of language is not to be explained in terms of a divine source.

Nor is it to be explained in terms of the primitive expression of feelings. Rather, the use of inner language is simply fundamental to human nature. It is the foundation of, and indeed identical with, thought. It is also the foundation of other distinctively human mental characteristics, in particular self-consciousness and a clear distinguishing of perception from feeling and desire. Language and hence thought is fundamentally social in nature. More precisely, while inner language is not dependent on a social stimulus so that even in the absence of this children would develop their own languagesit does already involve a tendency or an implicit directedness toward social communication.

Language and thought are not merely additions over and above other mental processes that human beings share with the animals. Rather, they are infused throughout, and lend a distinctive character to, all human mental processes. Schleiermacher already in early work postulated an identity of thought with linguistic expression. He often equates thought more specifically with inner language e. His main motive behind such a refinement can be seen from the lectures on psychology, where he discusses cases in which thought occurs without arriving at any outward linguistic expression.

It has been claimed by some of the secondary literature that he eventually gave up this whole position e. In his psychology lectures, Schleiermacher argues that although thought and conceptualization are not reducible to the occurrence of sensuous images since that would conflict with the position that the former require, or are indeed identical with, languagethe latter are an essential foundation for the former.

This prompts the question whether there do not also exist strictly a priori concepts, as Kant had held. In his psychology lectures Schleiermacher vacillates in his answer to this question: The latter is his normal answer in the dialectics lectures as well.

Human beings exhibit, not only significant linguistic and conceptual-intellectual similarities, but also striking linguistic and conceptual-intellectual differences, especially between different historical periods and cultures, but even to some extent between individuals within a single period and culture. In this connection, Schleiermacher argues, plausibly, that the phenomenon of the linguistic and conceptual-intellectual development of cultures over time is only explicable in terms of linguistic and conceptual-intellectual innovations performed by individuals, which get taken over by the broader culture, becoming part of its common stock.

At least three aspects of his semantic holism can be distinguished: This doctrine in effect says that the various specific senses that a single word typically bears, and which will normally be distinguished by any good dictionary entry e. However, other types of conceptual relationships would no doubt be included here as well e.

Shortly afterwards, it was taken over and used to similar effect by another of the founders of modern linguistics, Wilhelm von Humboldt.

Schleiermacher: Religion as Feeling

But such a strong version of the doctrine is philosophically problematic—vulnerable to counterexamples in which thought occurs without any corresponding inner language use, and vice versa. This is likely to seem problematic at first sight because of its inclusion of sensory images in meaning. But that is arguably not so: Finally, whereas for Herder doctrine 7 was merely an empirically established rule of thumb and admitted of exceptions, Schleiermacher in his lectures on ethics and dialectics attempts to give a sort of a priori proof of linguistic and conceptual-intellectual diversity even at the level of individuals as a universal fact—a proof that is dubious in its very a priori status, in its specific details, and in its extremely counterintuitive implication often explicitly asserted by Schleiermacher that, strictly speaking, no one can ever understand another person.

It is too extensive to present in detail here. Schleiermacher argues for a strong dependence of the soul or mind on the body, and indeed for their identity. Schleiermacher also argues strongly for the unity of the soul or mind within itself: Schleiermacher argues that human minds, while they certainly share similarities, are also deeply different from each other—not only across social groups such as peoples and genders, but also at the level of individuals who belong to the same groups.

He argues that the distinctiveness of individual minds cannot be explained by any process of calculation in particular, that it is a mistake to suppose that all human minds begin the same and only come to differ due to the impact of different causal influences on their development, which might in principle be calculated. Schleiermacher says relatively little about unconscious mental processes, and when he does mention them often seems skeptical about them. Friedrich Schlegel was an immediate influence on his thought here.

Their ideas on these subjects began to take shape in the late s, when they lived together in the same house in Berlin for a time.

Schleiermacher on Language, Religious Feeling, and the Ineffable | Eric S Nelson -

Many of their ideas are shared, and it is often unclear which of the two men was the more original source of a given idea.

Schleiermacher lectured on hermeneutics frequently between and The following are his main principles: How, then, is interpretation to be accomplished?

Assuming that a text or discourse must be true will often lead to serious misinterpretation. The suggestion found in some of the secondary literature that Schleiermacher thinks that historical context is irrelevant to interpretation is absurd. Linguistic interpretation is mainly concerned with what is common or shared in a language; psychological interpretation mainly with what is distinctive to a particular author. First, he sees such a need as arising from the deep linguistic and conceptual-intellectual distinctiveness of individuals.

Schleiermacher himself places most emphasis on the first of these three considerations. However, if, as Schleiermacher does, one wants to argue that interpretation needs to invoke psychology generally, and if, as I hinted earlier, linguistic and conceptual-intellectual distinctiveness is not in fact the pervasive phenomenon that Schleiermacher usually takes it to be, then it is arguably the latter two considerations that should be considered the more fundamental ones.

Such holism introduces a pervasive circularity into interpretation, for, ultimately, interpreting these broader items in its turn depends on interpreting such pieces of text. Schleiermacher does not see this circle as vicious, however. His solution is not that all of these tasks should be accomplished simultaneously—for that would far exceed human capacities. Rather, it essentially lies in the very plausible thought that understanding is not an all-or-nothing matter but instead something that comes in degrees, so that it is possible to make progress toward full understanding in a piecemeal way.

For example, concerning the relation between a piece of text and the whole text to which it belongs, Schleiermacher recommends that we first read through and interpret as best we can each of the parts of the text in turn in order thereby to arrive at an approximate overall interpretation of the text, and that we then apply this approximate overall interpretation in order to refine our initial interpretations of each of the particular parts, which in turn gives us an improved overall interpretation, which can then be re-applied toward still further refinement of the interpretations of the parts, and so on indefinitely.

Some of the common ground here is admittedly due to the fact that they were both influenced by the same predecessors, especially J. To begin with two deviations that are not problematic, but rather advantageous: First, as was previously mentioned, Schleiermacher exacerbates the challenge to interpretation that principle 7 already poses by introducing principle 8semantic holism.

There were, however, some clearer precedents for it—for example, in van der Hardt, Chladenius, Pfeiffer, Grosch, and Meier.

But the following are further examples. However, this seems an unhelpful move, for how many works are actually composed, and hence properly interpretable, in such a way? However, he should arguably instead have regarded it as a ground for considering interpretation and natural science similar.

His mistake here was caused by a false assumption that natural science works by a method of plain induction—i. But it also includes the following three points which are either less bold, obscured, or altogether missing in Schleiermacher: This is a very important point.

It is not enough that one understand the actual sense of a confused work better than the author understood it. One must also oneself be able to know, characterize, and even construe the confusion even down to its very principles. Historiography of Philosophy Schleiermacher applied his scrupulous hermeneutic method fruitfully to several areas of scholarship that centrally require interpretation.

One example of this is the series of lectures on the life of Jesus that he delivered between and Another—for philosophers perhaps more significant—example is his work as a historiographer of philosophy. Theory of Translation As was already mentioned, Schleiermacher also develops his theory of translation on the foundation of the Herder-influenced principles in the philosophy of language 45and 7together with 8his own semantic holism, which exacerbates the challenge to translation already posed by 7.

Schleiermacher was himself a masterful translator, whose German translations of Plato are still widely used and admired today, about two hundred years after they were done. So his views on translation carry a certain prima facie authority. He explains his theory of translation mainly in the brilliant essay On the Different Methods of Translation The following are some of his main points: This is an application of principle 7.

In this connection, Schleiermacher in particular notes the following problem which might be dubbed the paradox of paraphrase: If, faced with the task of translating an alien concept, a translator attempts to reproduce its intension by reproducing its extension with the aid of an elaborate paraphrase in his own language, he will generally find that as he gets closer to the original extension he undermines the original intension in other ways.

For example, he notes that in the case of poetry it is necessary to reproduce not only the semantic but also the musical aspects of the original, such as meter and rhyme—and this not merely as a desideratum over and above the main task of reproducing meaning, but also as an essential part of that task, because in poetry such musical features serve as essential vehicles for the precise expression of meaning.

And he argues that in addition to reproducing meaning a translation should attempt to convey to its readership where an author was being conceptually conventional and where conceptually original—for example, by using older vocabulary from the target language in the former cases and relative neologisms from it in the latter.

Schleiermacher therefore champions the alternative approach of bringing the reader toward the linguistic-conceptual world of the author as the only acceptable one. But how can this possibly be accomplished? DM 25 This solution presupposes principle 5 in the philosophy of language. Reading a translation therefore inevitably remains only a poor second best to reading the original, and the translator should think of his task as one of striving to approximate an infinite, never fully realizable, ideal.

For in cases where a real conflict with that character arises, the enrichments in question will soon wither from the language. Here again as in the case of interpretationnot only the framework principles 45and 7but most of these ideas about translation come from Herder.

Aesthetics Schleiermacher tended to be quite self-deprecating about his sensitivity to and knowledge of art, and hence about his aptitude for aesthetics e.

However, he did eventually bring himself to confront the subject systematically, namely, in his lectures on aesthetics first delivered inand then again in and —3. Part of his motivation behind this eventual confrontation with the subject—and part of the reason why it remains interesting today—derives from the fact that the phenomenon of art, and in particular the phenomenon of non-linguistic art e. Do non-linguistic arts such as painting, sculpture, and music express meanings and thoughts, and if so how?

This question is obviously important for the philosophy of art. For a positive answer to this question might threaten those two principles, or at least show that they need major revision. In his last cycle of aesthetics lectures —3 Schleiermacher initially pursued a very simple strategy for dealing with these issues concerning non-linguistic art. However, he soon realized that the strategy in question was untenable, and abandoned it for a more promising but also more ambiguous position.

His whole train of thought there closely followed one that Herder had already pursued in the Critical Forestsso it may be useful to begin with a brief sketch of the latter. By the time of writing the Critical Forests Herder was already committed to his own versions of principles 4 and 5. Accordingly, in reaction to the phenomenon of the non-linguistic arts the book initially set out to argue for a theory of their nature that would preserve consistency with those principles, and it did so in a very straightforward way, denying the non-linguistic arts any the ability to express thoughts or meanings autonomously of language by denying them any ability to express thoughts or meanings at all: However, as Herder proceeded with his book he came to realize that this simplistic solution was untenable: This realization did not lead him to abandon his versions of principles 4 and 5however.

Instead, it brought him to a more refined account of the non-linguistic arts which was still consistent with those principles: To make the idea of God the apex of science, for instance, is not the religious way of having God. And to make religion a matter of good behavior is to miss its true, passive nature: If human nature is not to be truncated, religion must be allowed to take its place as an indispensable third alongside knowing and doing.

Two results of great importance stem from this paradigm constructed by Schleiermacher. First, it allows one to overcome the critical judgment; that is, the judgment that affords the suspicion with which rationalism or the despisers of religion approaches religion and its manifestations. In this perspective the reality of religion is brought back to what does not actually constitute it. In contrast, Schleiermacher sets to work and enhances a "heuristical reason," one that establishes, or tries to focus on, the genealogical instance that constitutes religious experience and accounts for its peculiar reality and the specific mode of its experiencing as well.

It highlights the framework of religion as an actual experience of humans, and thus explains why religion is a decisive, indefeasible component of the human, historical world. Second, it takes into account historical, positive, inidividual religions—religions that are provided with a principium individuationis of their own; it distinguishes them from each other and shows them as ethical realities that belong to the lived experience of individuals.

This includes two peculiar features of this comprehension of religion. On the one hand, one is engaged in accounting for the historicity and individuality of religions. In other words, it is a question of understanding why the framework of religious experience is contracted into the historical plurality of religions and into a complex phenomenology of the individual religions themselves.

According to Schleiermacher they are all entitled to equal dignity insofar as they all fulfill the original structure of religious experience and contract it into a specific historical province of human ethos. On the other hand, one sets up an exercise of critical reason that is able to discriminate, within the complex phenomenology of individual religions, what is authentic in them and what is inauthentic—that is, mixed up in them, substituting or surrogating some of their authentic elements.

In this paradigm for comprehending religion, Schleiermacher points out four main moments or steps. The first step leads to the comprehension of the historical-positive elements that occur at the heart of religious experiences. It includes the exercise of both critical and heuristical reason. The first aims at discriminating authentic from inauthentic elements. It is an inescapable moment of every investigative approach to religions.

The second aims at an insight into the individuality and essential features of a given historical form of religious experience. If one does not grasp the proper core, the essence, of an individual historical religion—of a historically lived religion—one cannot get appropriate criteria for testing how its features are shown to be authentic or inauthentic, or even for assessing its historical development.

This is the criterion the fifth speech points out as decisive for determining the nature and content of a given religion and, specifically, of Christianity as an historical religion. The second step consists of a comparative theory of religions. Given the historical-positive individuality of religions, as well as the transcendental structure of religious experience according to the paradigm established by Schleiermacher with the Speeches on Religiona comparative approach is necessary in understanding religion.

Still it gets neither a leveling nor a competitive meaning. Its purpose, rather, is to set out the values not only in doctrines but also in worships, morals, and experiences of salvation embodied in the single religions compared. While this approach makes use of analogies between religious phenomena, it does not establish a premier rank or subalternity among religions. It has, rather, at the same time a critical and an evaluating function.

The first allows one to recognize specific differences that prelude the highlighting of the individuality of each historical-religious formation. The second is engaged in recognizing the elements that validate the specificity of a religious formation, thus clarifying its essential character that makes up its historical reason for being. The latter accounts for its very historical trajectory or evolution, for the history of a religion is precisely connected with the circumstances of its actual evaluation.

Within the third speech such a comparative approach is based upon the effort to tackle the main factors influencing the historical life of religion, namely creativity and free communication of one's own religious life. At the same time it leads to a threefold typology of religions, which anticipates the one worked out in the introduction to The Christian Faith.

The third step focuses on the thematization of the essence of religion. This is perhaps the most specifically philosophical feature of this paradigm for understanding religion.

It encloses two moments. First is the highlighting of the constituting structure of religious experience namely the religious a priori that accounts for such an experience—that is, for the constitution of that region of human experience underlying the historical phenomenology of religious facts.

Second is the focusing on the reasons why such a structure is contracted into a plurality of individual formations; they are all constituted by that transcendental structure but still are different from each other as inalienable and untransferable individuals.

Uniquely, in this context, religion as a condition of possibility that warrants such an experience as the one of the relationship with the Universum shows itself to be meaningful for human beings and their history.

This is indeed the main argument of the second speech. Here Schleiermacher argues that religion, in its transcendental core insofar as it is the "function" that brings about and determines the "systems" of religious experience and belief sets up a relationship with a term called Universum that withdraws from humans' finite experience and accordingly calls into question what people do and are and experience, even though it is to be apprehended as that which makes sense of the ultimately human condition—as that which fulfills human existence.

The last step unfolds a theory of religious communication. Within this human experience, religion is linguistically set up in a communication. This brings about a community that is shaped by both symbolizing and organizing elements, though with the prevalence of the former. Communication is not an accidental, superfluous, accessory moment of religious experience, but communication belongs to religion's innermost nature and is enclosed within the sources of its concrete constitution.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

This is the constituting reason of the particular formation of religious experience that is community church, generally speaking. Community accounts for both the individuality of a religious formation and its historicity.

It also accounts for free, responsible, and creative adhesion, or membership, of single individuals who, within community, are linked up by bonds of reciprocal communication. As is well known, community and communication are the main theme of the fourth speech. Schleiermacher's first book offered much more than a shrewd, ad hominem defense of Christianity; it inaugurated a fresh stage in the critical analysis of religion. The importance of his search for a distinctive religious category is acknowledged even by those who reject his findings.

He not only exposed the urgent need to reconceive the task of theology, he also opened the way to more profound and sympathetic treatments of the psychology and history of religion than either traditional theology or freethinking critiques had been able to achieve. Christian theologians and freethinkers had agreed in treating the study of world religions as the anatomy of a sickness the difference being that the freethinkers were not inclined to make Christianity an exception.

Schleiermacher looked at religions as manifestations of human wholeness. Misunderstandings of Schleiermacher's position have sometimes been occasioned by his own language. He did not really mean to move religion out of the domains of knowledge and morals and to confine it within the domain of the emotions.

He expressly denied that he intended any such separation. By "intuition and feeling" he meant the immediate, prereflective self-consciousness that cannot be confined to any single department of human selfhood but underlies the whole of it.

Neither did he fall into a psychologism that would shut the religious subject up in its own subjectivity. For all his interest in the imagination, his theory of religion is marked by a strong sense of the reality of the transcendent, even though he thought it impossible to have the transcendent as an object.

Hermeneutics The impressive influence of Schleiermacher's hermeneutics was first brought out by Dilthey. Hermeneutics is a twin discipline of criticism, each a sort of technical skill i. Both are conceived and practiced by Schleiermacher not only in his exegetical work within the field of the New Testament ; they rule his whole effort in the field of ancient philosophy, as witnessed by his translation of Plato.

Follow the Author

That is why hermeneutics falls within the fields of both philosophy and theology. Fundamentally, it understands the spoken or written word as free creative expression of the union between nature and reason the core of the ethical process. Thus hermeneutics is based upon general principles that pertain to philosophy and induces special trends, according to the philological or exegetical treatment of texts handed over by tradition.

schleiermacher religion as feeling and relationship

Schleiermacher's contribution aims at framing a general hermeneutics as ground for special hermeneutical practices. Therefore he puts this general frame into shape through two theses. The negative one states, "Misunderstanding grows out by itself and in every point one must want and strive for understanding" Schleiermacher,p.

The positive one says we have to "reconstruct [Nachkonstruiren] the historical and divinatoric, objective and subjective of a given speech" Schleiermacher,p. Thus Schleiermacher articulates both theses into four canons ruling hermeneutical practice. He distinguishes between grammatical and psychological or technical interpretation Schleiermacher,p. Every oral or written witness is a subjective act of speakers, but at the same time is embedded in an overindividual, objective, linguistical context.

The grammatical interpretation Schleiermacher,pp. The psychological interpretation also called "technical," because a skill is involved aims at the subjective act and attempts to grasp "the principle that causes the writer to be in motion" Schleiermacher,p.

This double hermeneutical approach is joined together with another double perspective. One might address a linguistic act in its peculiarity by approaching it through comparative means; that is, in comparison with other similar semiotic phenomena.

This is a comparative process. Texts might also be grasped from the inside—that is, in a congenial way—inasmuch as they are caught in an immediate act of understanding. Here the divinatory approach is at stake. These four perspectives of interpretation are connected with each other, even though they show specific affinities. The grammatical interpretation matches to a greater degree the comparative approach, while the psychological matches the divinatory.

The ultimate purpose of interpretation is "to better understand an author than he was able to give account of himself" Schleiermacher,p. Since, to an author, a lot remains unconscious that must be set out to understand his work, the interpreter brings a surplus of understanding in his or her interpretation.

That is why the process of interpretation remains unfinished and is able to achieve its goal only approximatively. Even the hermeneutical "circle" Schleiermacher,p.

Indeed the comprehension of a single point always presupposes an understanding of the whole, but this is to be gained only by working through the single points Schleiermacher,p. In connection with general hermeneutics, Schleiermacher constantly gave lectures on criticism. In comparison with hermeneutics, criticism gets its start in the suspicion that what is present does not meet the original state of matter.

This disagreement took place either through mechanical errors or through free actions.

schleiermacher religion as feeling and relationship

Consequently, Schleiermacher articulates criticism into two main parts doctrinal and historical that echo the traditional distinction of a lower and a higher criticism. Critical endeavors aim at determining the original state of matter both from a historical viewpoint the historical event witnessed and through philological means.

Both philological and historical criticism make use of external and internal signs to ascertain the congruence with the original state.

Schleiermacher held that it is difficult to draw a boundary between higher and lower criticism. The first one determines—largely by approximation, and therein seeks the congruence of internal and external evidence—what pertains to the original fact or state historically witnessed.

External evidence probes for the closeness of analyzed elements to its core. Internal evidence probes for their agreement with such a core.

The task of lower criticism is to separate out, as accurately and convincingly as possible, the original reading of a text. It is actually an endless task. Exactly the same sort of criteria is to be applied to any kind of text.

The critical specialist uses every scrap of available evidence. Even in service of a theological aim, criticism does not rely on dogmatic rules. Exegetical inquiry is comprised of both hermeneutics and criticism. According to Schleiermacher they are thoroughly interdependent.

Hermeneutic, as the craft of interpretation, is a historical and philological enterprise, and as such is conditioned by linguistics and criticism. At the same time hermeneutical principles exert a decisive influence both upon the operations of criticism and upon the finer perceptions of linguistics. The effect is on the operations of criticism. In no way does proper hermeneutical effort obviate critical principles. Indeed Schleiermacher suggests that, as a form of historical criticism, while making its own distinctive contributions, hermeneutics relies upon the exact standard of textual criticism.

Schleiermacher's importance within the field of hermeneutics goes back to his conception of a general theory of interpretation. This had considerable influence on philosophical discussion. He constantly thought of New Testament hermeneutics and criticism as a special case of general doctrine and method; within this frame he exercised his manifold exegetical and philological practice concerning both New Testament and ancient philosophy.

In the context of the revival of hermeneutical issues in the twentieth century, above all through Martin Heidegger 's "hermeneutics of Dasein," Schleiermacher's hermeneutics gained new importance. Schleiermacher was acknowledged as a "classic of hermeneutics," even though more of a philosophical than of a theological sort. Still the influence of his hermeneutical theory and activity persevered, along with some reductive perspectives.

Already Dilthey had laid stress on the psychological interpretation. His emphasis brought about misunderstandings, causing the loss of the connection between hermeneutics and criticism, grammatical and psychological interpretation, and the link that united general with special hermeneutics applied to the New Testament.

Under the heading of "doubtfulness of Romantic hermeneutics," Gadamer,part 2, sec. On this point the subsequent investigations brought about necessary corrections, pointing to Schleiermacher's contribution in linking up general and special hermeneutics, hermeneutics and criticism, grammatical and psychological interpretation.

Philosophical System It is worth highlighting Schleiermacher's philosophical thinking, as it provides the framework of his intellectual activities. In his doctrine of science, the Dialektik Schleiermacher, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, sec. The relation of thinking with being has to rely on this transcendental ground. On the other hand, the original unity of thinking and being accounts for the various representations that are different in their content.

Here Schleiermacher refers to the immediate self-consciousness or feeling, in this precise meaning and understands it as showing an analogy with the transcendent ground. This is the pivotal point of his research, even though it withdraws from every knowing effort.

In the second, formal part of his search, Schleiermacher investigates which technical rules are needed to overcome, still only approximately, the difference in thinking toward the unity of knowing. Basing his work upon a theory of construction and combination, he develops the rules of connection from which he derives a system of sciences: Moreover Schleiermacher has addressed ethics, setting out the principles and structures of reason's action upon nature. Here he does not stick to individuals and their faculties but also encompasses the sound forms of ethical process in their framework.

In this manner he articulates ethics as a doctrine of goods, virtues, and duties. While the doctrine of goods treats the objectivations of reason that are brought about by ethical subjects, the doctrine of virtues has to show the "forces" on which individual activities rely, and the doctrine of duties treats the resultant modes of human behavior.

Schleiermacher understands every unity of reason and nature as "good"; accordingly the variety of goods is formally divided into four spheres: Only the set of all four spheres together makes up the "highest Good," which in its turn is approached in our ethical endeavors as the end of the ethical process. Reinterpretation of Dogma The ethical notion of church, as one of the four "goods," provides the formal framework for Schleiermacher's theology.

Some of the ground traversed in the Speeches is covered again in the introduction to his theological masterwork, Der christliche Glaube The Christian Faith. A little introspection will show, according to Schleiermacher, that consciousness of self and world are a reciprocal relationship, that is, a mutual or relative dependence. This deeper consciousness cannot arise from the influence of the world because humans exercise a counterinfluence upon the world and consequently are relatively dependent on it; it is precisely an immediate self-consciousness that encompasses both self and world together as absolutely dependent.

God is then the origin the "out of" of this immediate self-consciousness or feeling. In the feeling of absolute dependence, God is actually experienced in the only possible way, and to be conscious of being absolutely dependent is to be conscious of being in relation to God. This feeling, however, simply draws the transcendental frame of religious experience. Actually, it comes about concretely in the manifold elements or "stimulations" Erregungen of lived experience, which show themselves within the context of objective or sensible consciousness in its ever different features.

schleiermacher religion as feeling and relationship

That is why, among other things, the limits of one's own consciousness of God have to be overcome through a reciprocal communication that forms the base of a religious community church. The religious community is defined as the community in which, within determined limits, an ever-renewed circulation of religious self-consciousness takes place and an orderly, harmonious promotion of religious stimulations is made possible. The task of a philosophy of religion in Schleiermacher's meaning is then to set out the individual differences of each single church and each religion.