Original Research - Special Collection: Engaging Schleiermacher today: South African perspectives

To feel with and for Friedrich Schleiermacher: On religious experience

Daniël P. Veldsman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5537 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5537 | © 2019 Daniël P. Veldsman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 2019 | Published: 30 July 2019

About the author(s)

Daniël P. Veldsman, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The German systematic theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher has shaped Western Christian theological thinking in many ways. One such influential way has been his formulation and exposition of religious experience, and specifically the concept of the ‘feeling of absolute dependence’ (Gefühl der schlechthinnigen Abhängigkeit). From a brief account of his understanding of the ‘feeling of absolute independence’, a few critical remarks are made from the broader context of contemporary hermeneutical discourses, focusing on the constitutive role of affectivity and narrative identity in religious experiences of embodied personhood. It is argued that these two themes in revisiting Schleiermacher’s understanding of the ‘feeling of absolute dependence’ can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of religious experience.

Keywords

Schleiermacher; Religious experience; Feeling of absolute dependence; Affectivity; Narrative identity; Embodied personhood

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