Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Gérard Vallée


The relationship between philosophy and theology in Schleiermacher's thought has been the subject of controversy ever since the incipience of scholarship devoted to the criticism of the nineteenth century theologian's work. This thesis attempts to contribute to an understanding of this issue through an examination of the relationship between God and World in Schleiermacher's seminal philosophical and theological works, respectively, the Dialektik and the Glaubenslehre.

The posthumously published lectures on Dialektik portray Schleiermacher's mature endeavors in philosophical reflection. Schleiermacher's point of departure in this work is specifically epistemological in nature, the nineteenth century theologian envisioning the task of the Dialektik as the ascertainment at both the principles and the laws for the proper conduct of contested thinking to the certainty of knowing. The former constitutes the task of the Transcendental Part of the Dialektik; the latter the task of the Formal Part. The interest of our study lies in the Transcendental Part of the Dialektik for it is here that Schleiernlacher considers the God-World relationship.

A fundamental aspect of the Transcendental Part of the Dialektik involves the definition of the nature of thinking which knowing presupposes as its foundation. According to Schleiermacher, only real thinking (wirkliches Denken), which unites intellection and sensibility, may provide such a groundwork. Real thinking occurs in the coalescence of the activity of reason (Vernunftthätigkeit) and the faculty of organization (Organisation). The former provides ideal, the latter real determination to the process of thinking. This necessary conjunction of the Ideal and the Real for the proper constitution of real thinking is expressed by Schleiermacher at the conclusion of the transcendental Part of the Dialektik in terms of the God-World relationship. In Schleiermacher's view, the regulative principle Die Welt (Real) nicht ohne Gott (Ideal), Gott nicht ohne die Welt governs the proper expression of the God-World relationship which respects the requisite conjunction of the Ideal and the Real in human thinking. As such, Schleiermacher's delineation of the God-World relationship is noetic in intent and summarizes the purport of his entire epistemology.

The Glaubenslehre is Schleiermacher's magnum opus and has been acclaimed as the most influential Protestant dogmatics since Calvin's Institutes. In Schleiermacher's view, the task of dogmatics lies in describing the Christian determination of pious feeling or immediate self-consciousness shared by particular Church at a given time. According to Schleiermacher, the substance or content of valid Christian doctrine must be derived solely from the pious experience of the Church; the philosophical, i.e., the logical or dialectical, interest may only play a formal role in dogmatics. The logical or dialectical interest may only contribute to the scientific construction of language and aid in the systematic interconnection of individual doctrinal propositions. The interest of our study in Schleiermacher's dogmatics lies in the First Part of the System of Doctrine, which is devoted to the exposition of those Christian doctrines which express the general relationship between God and World: the doctrines of Creation and Preservation; the doctrine of the divine attributes of eternity, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence; and the doctrines of the original perfection of man and World.

It is the contention of our study that Schleiermacher's philosophical formulation of the God-World relationship in the Dialektik served as a principle with respect to which his exposition of Christian doctrine in the First Part of the Glaubenslehre was critically developed. We maintain that the noetic correlation of God and World in the Dialektik, which expresses the proper constitution of real thinking, shapes and determines those doctrines in the First Part of the Glaubenslehre expressing the general relationship between God and World. In our view, this influence of the Dialektik upon the Glaubenslehre may not merely be regarded as formalistic, but rather as substantive in nature. It was against this influence of the logical or dialectical interest upon the content of Christian doctrine that Schleiermacher argued throughout his career as a dogmatic theologian. As a result, we conclude that Schleiermacher failed to maintain the exclusion of the influence of the philosophical interest upon the content of doctrine demanded by his own view on the methodology of dogmatics.

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