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eBook David Friedrich Strauss His Theology (Monograph supplements to the Scottish journal of theology) ePub

by Horton Harris

eBook David Friedrich Strauss  His Theology (Monograph supplements to the Scottish journal of theology) ePub
Author: Horton Harris
Language: English
ISBN: 052120139X
ISBN13: 978-0521201391
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 31, 1974)
Pages: 301
Category: Religious Studies
Subcategory: Religios
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 337
Formats: azw mobi rtf lrf
ePub file: 1578 kb
Fb2 file: 1322 kb

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Recommend this journal.

He ruthlessly and relentlessly exposed the often inadequate solutions which the orthodox theology had provided to. .For almost 40 years Strauss was renowned throughout the length and breadth of the land, and his influence extended to cleric and lay alike.

He ruthlessly and relentlessly exposed the often inadequate solutions which the orthodox theology had provided to the biblical problem. ut his hardest strictures were reserved for those who stood half-way, for those who hobbled between the old faith and the new--between the old obsolete orthodoxy and the new scientific criticis.

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David Friedrich Strauss and His Theology. Horton Harris," The Journal of Religion 55, no. 2 (Ap. 1975): 277-279.

ISBN 9780707302324 (978-0-7073-0232-4) Hardcover, Scottish Academic Press Ltd, 1982. ISBN 9780707302324 (978-0-7073-0232-4) Hardcover, Scottish Academic Press Ltd, 1982.

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Are you sure you want to remove Strauss & His Theology (Monograph supplements to the Scottish journal of theology) from your list? Strauss & His Theology (Monograph supplements to the Scottish journal of theology). by Horton Harris, Harris. Published January 31, 1974 by Cambridge University Press.

76. Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus. year-old Strauss had rocked the theological world in 1835 with the publication of his famous Das Leben Jesu.

Scottish Journal of Theology is an international journal of systematic, historical and biblical theology. Since its foundation in 1948, it has become established as one of the world's leading theological journals. Furthermore, it will be argued that Taylor’s adaptation of Calvinism was a necessary accommodation to the phenomenon of mass conversion and evangelism during the Second Great Awakening.

Strauss was a pioneer in higher criticism of the New Testament. He paved the way for much Teutonic scholarship. And because his conclusions were often sound, they were unpopular, and he paid a martyr's price for his temerity. This book of a good summation of his life and struggles.
Author Horton Harris also wrote The Tubingen School: A Historical and Theological Investigation of the School of F.C. Baur.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1973 book, “Of all the nineteenth-century theologians, Strauss was the most notorious. No single theological work ever created such consternation in the theological world as Strauss’ Life Of Jesus. It split the century into two theological eras—before and after Strauss. But Strauss was not merely the most notorious theologian of the century; he was also unquestionably the most consequent… He ruthlessly and relentlessly exposed the often inadequate solutions which the orthodox theology had provided to the biblical problems… but his hardest strictures were reserved for those who stood half-way, for those who hobbled between the old faith and the new---between the old obsolete orthodoxy and the new scientific criticism… He was not the greatest theologian---that crown must go to Schleiermacher---if greatness be measured by the ability to create a theological system. Now was he… the most influential---that prize is won by Baur… [But] It was Strauss who made Baur’s critical investigations largely possible, and in this respect Strauss’ influence and importance can hardly be overestimated. For almost 40 years Strauss was renowned throughout the length and breadth of the land, and his influence extended to cleric and lay alike.” (Pg. ix-x)

He comments on Strauss’ university education: “[It] had provided Strauss with all the tools he required for the further study of theology---a knowledge of the ancient languages, of philosophy and theology---and he graduated from the University in 1830 as the primus among the students. By this time, however, any active faith which he might have had in traditional Christian beliefs had been completely destroyed, although five years were still to elapse before he gave public testimony to this fact in his ‘Life of Jesus’…” (Pg. 20)

Strauss moved to Berlin, where his philosophical idol Hegel was lecturing: “On the day before lectures commenced Strauss made the personal acquaintance of Hegel and reported that he had been extremely favorably received… Hegel on his part was delighted to meet such a keen disciple of his philosophy… The following day Strauss attended Hegel’s first two lectures and was elated by the excellent beginning. On the morning of the 15th, however, he visited Schleiermacher for the first time, and when Schleiermacher informed him that Hegel had died of cholera on the previous day, Strauss was unable to contain his deep disappointment and unthinkingly blurted out the words, ‘But it was for his sake that I came here to Berlin,’ which Schleiermacher took as a personal diminution of his own prestige; from that moment on Straus was accorded cool treatment from the great theologian.” (Pg. 28)

Harris notes after ‘The Life of Jesus’ was published, “the truly alarming feature of Strauss’ book lay rather in the WAY in which he had destroyed the whole historical basis of Christianity. Voltaire and his friends had merely denied the traditional doctrines; Strauss had destroyed the foundations on which those doctrines stood. No longer, it appeared, could anyone believe the things written in the New Testament, for Strauss had remorselessly exhibited the discrepancies, contradictions and mistakes in the Gospel narratives and made the supernatural explanations appear weak and untenable… The presupposition on which the whole ‘Life of Jesus’ was written was a denial of the miraculous and supernatural in the world… God’s activity was possible only indirectly through the laws of nature.” (Pg. 42)

He notes that ten days after the publication of Volume I, ‘a rescript went out from … the Director of Studies at the seminary [where Strauss was teaching], addressed to the Inspectorate, asking whether Strauss’ views were compatible with his status as a lecturer… And so an answer was demanded as to whether a tutor who held the greatest part of the Gospel records to be spurious and mythical could be retained in his position… the report of the Inspectorate… condemned his religious views as clearly being in opposition to the traditional orthodoxy of the Church, and viewed the effect of his ideas upon the students at the seminary with great misgiving.” (Pg. 58)

Later, he adds, “Nor was it any better with the theologians whose liberal views were akin to his own. For his book had brought down the wrath of the orthodox not merely upon his head, but upon all those attempting to pursue a mediating and conciliatory line; it dashed any hope of a relaxation of theological freedom and heightened the struggle between the orthodox and liberal lines of thought. It was as a consequence of this fact that the theologians were forced to give at least a token sign of their orthodoxy, and… the best way of obtaining theological promotion was to write a critical refutation of Strauss.” (Pg. 70)

He explains, “Herein lay the very heart of the whole problem---how to ascertain which parts of the Gospel narratives were historical and which parts were mythical. It was clear that there had to be at least some historical basis behind the life of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels; on the other hand it was possible that a mythical element also existed and the question was whether the evidence adduced in its favor was convincing… the problem was to extract this core and get behind the sources to the original historical Jesus…” (Pg. 72)

He goes on, “The great debate which arose over the genuineness of the Gospel of John was occasioned by Strauss’ denial of its authenticity. At the beginning of the nineteenth century John had been regarded as the most historically accurate of all the Gospels… and since it contained fewer miracles than the other Gospels it was the favorite Gospel of the rationalists. Thus the acceptance of its genuineness was never seriously in danger … the historicity of the Gospel remained virtually undisputed until Strauss’ assertion that John was in fact inferior to the Synoptics as an historical source… There is a sense in which the whole flood of writings on the Synoptic and Johannine problem originated with his ‘Life of Jesus,’ which … brought them out into the open air for free discussion.” (Pg. 73-75)

He continues, “Not only in the theological seminaries did the book produce a great sensation and continuing controversy over the problems which it raised, but in every church, in every town, in an age where the church formed the central position in the lives of the majority of the populace, Strauss’ views were for focal point of all religious discussion.” (Pg. 75-76)

He adds, “Strauss had hoped for a flood of articles and books taking his side and lending support for his views, but apart from the writings of … three friends almost no one took his part. He stood isolated and almost completely alone. But what of his former professors Kern and Baur---could they not have come to his aid? Kern came out against Strauss on the side of the supernaturalists… there was clearly no help to be expected from that quarter.” (Pg. 83)

While Strauss was contemplating a third edition of ‘The Life of Jesus,’ “the main problem confronting him was the question of his future sphere of activity. His hopes of obtaining a theological or even philosophical chair were slim; all that remained open to him was a position in a secondary school teaching languages---and he had no desire to spend the rest of his life in such an occupation… It was probably all these factors combined---the ecclesiastical and social ostracism, the failure of the attempts to gain a professorship and the numerous pamphlets and books written against him---which caused him to waver in his views. No one supported him openly; he stood completely alone. Even his old teacher Baur expressed his disagreement over his denial of the authenticity of John and it was only to be expected that Strauss would be beset by doubts… And so, in this difficult situation… he faltered, and in the third edition conceded certain points to his critics.” (Pg. 117-118)

He adds, “What [the compromises] did show was that Strauss was no longer certain about the full applicability of the mythical principle to the New Testament… he had compromised and retreated back to the same solutions on which he had formerly poured his scorn; the mythical principle was no longer independent of the sources… and was automatically excluded wherever a narrative was given a rational explanation. No one was satisfied. The orthodox were jubilant that Strauss had begun to contradict himself… Strauss himself, weary of strife and realizing his mistake, decided to take them all back and return in the fourth edition of 1840 to the pure and unadulterated mythical interpretation which had been the basis of the first edition.” (Pg. 121)

After Strauss wrote a book of Dogmatics, it was “Christianity no longer mysterious, but an expression of the Christian faith without a personal God, without a divine and supernatural Jesus, without any miraculous events and without any life after death… On the whole, the book received an apathetic reception. With such presuppositions the result was a foregone conclusion and few people expected anything different… All the traditional theology had been demolished, but nothing substantial had been rebuilt in its place.” (Pg. 139-140) Later, he adds, “For 20 years Strauss wrote nothing of a directly theological nature. His entire output during the years 1842-62 consisted of biographical, literary, historical or political writings…” (Pg. 183-184)

While Strauss was writing his ‘Life of Jesus for the German People,’ it was clear that “The crucial point concerned Jesus’ statements about his second coming. Whereas his utterances about his pre-existence were to be found only in John’s Gospel and could easily be explained away… the statements about the second coming were not so easily disposed of since they appeared in all the Gospels, and especially in the more historically trustworthy Synoptics. If Jesus had really uttered statements about his return upon the clouds of heaven, then he deserved only scorn and pity… In the end, however, Strauss made no clear decision one way or the other… and was content to fall back on the old rationalist explanation of Jesus as an extraordinary religious personality… [although] certainly not without his defect---he had little to say on family life, trade and the arts---which Straus did not hesitate to point out.” (Pg. 206-207)

It was in this book, not ‘The Life of Jesus,’ that Strauss ridiculed the rationalist theory that Jesus only apparently died, saying (in a passage which Christian apologists love to quote): “It is impossible that a being who had crawled half-dead out of the tomb and slunk around weak and ill, needing medical treatment, bandaging, convalescence and tender care, and who finally succumbed to his sufferings, could have given his disciples the impression of being the Victor over death and the grave, the Prince of Life… Such a reanimation could have only weakened the impression which he had made upon them during his life and in his death… but by no possibility have transferred their sorrow into enthusiasm or elevated their respect into worship.” (Pg. 208)

Of Strauss’ last book, The Old Faith and the New, Harris notes that it addresses four questions, and answers them: “1. Are we still Christians? … No! because we cannot believe all this absurd nonsense. 2. Have we still Religion? The answer which Strauss gave was: ‘Yes or no, according as to how we understand the question.’ In the old theistic sense… the answer is no, but if religion is understood as some form of feeling then the question may be answered in the affirmative… 3. How are we to understand the Universe? … the assertion that man was the pinnacle of a long process of evolution provided Strauss with a satisfying and liberating hypothesis…. He was certain that the truth of the evolutionary viewpoint would be decisively vindicated in the future… 4, How do we order our Life? Strauss believed that there was a moral basis for life and that the development of moral consciousness was a gradual process in society… As for the Church itself, Strauss regarded it as a worthless institution for those who had once been enlightened.” (Pg. 240-244)

Harris concludes, “We may briefly sum up Strauss’ influence in three different spheres: 1. It was Strauss who set in motion the whole ‘Quest’ for the historical Jesus… 2. The ‘Life of Jesus’ precipitated the great critical examination of the biblical sources… 3. Strauss was also instrumental in influencing the course of Old Testament Studies for the ‘Life of Jesus’ opened up a new interest in the Jewish background to the New Testament.” (Pg. 279-281) He adds, “Strauss’ ‘Life of Jesus’ was the most intellectually reasoned attack which has ever been mounted against Christianity… no one since Strauss has so acutely concentrated on the crucial cardinal issues which must be dealt with. Strauss confronted theology with an either/or: show that the Christian faith is historically and intellectually credible, or admit that it is based on myth and delusion… If Strauss cannot be convincingly answered, then it would appear that Christianity must slowly but surely collapse.” (Pg. 281-282)

This is an excellent study, which will be “MUST READING” for anyone seriously studying Strauss, and the influence of his books.
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