Reinhard Hütter: The Subject is the End of the Church

Having now finished what seems to be the last of several bookshelves for our (rather small) place, I look to selling or boxing-up books.

I’ve already cited the volume by the formerly-Lutheran writer Reinhard Hütter (he converted to Catholicism sometime after the writing of this book, if my timeline is correct) titled “Bound to Be Free: Evangelical Catholic Engagements in Ecclesiology, Ethics, and Ecumenism.” I had originally thought that I’d keep this volume. It’s stimulating, but I’m not sure how helpful it is, for as I scan through it, it seems to largely provide the stimulation that foils provide when they are riddled with mistakes.

The passage cited below is no exception. Hütter here writes about the alleged transition from an older way of conceiving “theology” to an allegedly more rationalistic way which sought surer ground in metaphysics. As the story goes, the aftermath of the Reformation and the ensuing religious wars of Europe put into question the idea that knowledge of God can be had through church practices, as there then obtained an incompatible and irreconcilable plurality of practices.

First I’ll cite the passage, then discuss it.
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Richard Crouter’s Friedrich Schleiermacher: Between Enlightenment and Romanticism

friedrich-schleiermacherRichard Crouter’s Friedrich Schleiermacher consists of a series of eleven essays, most of which were published in journals from 1980 to 2003, plus an Introduction. The unity of the collection is found, Crouter argues, in the theme of the book’s title: “Schleiermacher’s cultural location between Enlightenment and Romanticism, the appellations we give to the intellectual movements that name his cultural worlds.” (1) This does not mean that Crouter thinks one can find the essential features of Schleiermacher’s thought by generalizing about either of these movements. (7) Crouter will rather use them as backdrop, for in Schleiermacher, the lines between these two movements are “blurred”. (8) Crouter states that his approach is both historically to situate the religious debates in which Schleiermacher was enmeshed (9), and to draw out the revisions between the various editions of his major works, to show what the edits reveal, and thereby put these editorial judgments in historical profile. (10) Approaching Schleiermacher in vivo, Crouter argues, will help us both in understanding him as he was, and in understanding him as he is for us. (2) To that end, Crouter has organized his essays under three main categories, roughly: Schleiermacher’s work vis-à-vis the works of three notable figures that chronologically frame him, Schleiermacher as socially- and politically-engaged citizen, and Schleiermacher as midwife of a Modern form of Christianity. Continue reading