Reinhard Hütter: The Church as Public (& not as Voluntary Association)

Several weeks ago I posted a summary of Steve Bruce and Roy Wallace on the “orthodox model” of secularization. In that work, Bruce & Wallis argue that the defining mark of secularization is the diminution of religion’s public influence, and, we might quickly conclude, the loss of its public character (they distinguish the process of secularization from the trends of modernization, such as inclusion into a national center, &c.). Regarding this loss of public character, there is a section from Reinhard Hütter’s book, Bound to be Free, where he asks some very pointed questions about the Church as public: he thinks the Church is essentially public, and ponders what it means for her to lose this characteristic feature. Continue reading

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