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

Reflections on Schleiermacher’s God

Rian Venter
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5556 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5556 | © 2019 Rian Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 May 2019 | Published: 29 November 2019

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Rian Venter, Historical and Constructive Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Schleiermacher’s approach to the doctrine of God has attracted interest in contemporary theological scholarship. The article tries to map the major features of his God-construal and a number of perspectives are highlighted. Attention is given to the general sentiments of his project, the history of interpretation, the question of a primary referent for ‘God’ and the centrality of causation, the role of structure in his Glaubenslehre and finally the attribute tradition and the doctrine of the Trinity. The second part of the article engages Schleiermacher’s interpretation from the developments in especially the Trinitarian Renaissance since the last part of the 20th century. A number of critical divergences are identified, for example, the preference given to plurality, greater appreciation for the immanent Trinity, a Trinitarian approach to the attributes and an expansive notion of the ‘practical’ implications of the Trinity. Critical questions about ‘Schleiermacher’s God’ are raised in the conclusion.


Divine attributes; Economic and immanent Trinity; Sabellius; Schleiermacher; Trinity


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