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

Schleiermacher on justification: A resource for a Reformed theology of recognition?

Robert Vosloo
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 4 | a5604 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i4.5604 | © 2019 Robert Vosloo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 June 2019 | Published: 29 November 2019

About the author(s)

Robert Vosloo, Department of Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


Against the backdrop of the resistance against Schleiermacher’s theology in Reformed theological circles in South Africa, this article poses the question as to whether Schleiermacher’s theology can be brought into a constructive conversation with the views often associated with a Reformed understanding of God’s grace. With this in mind, this article takes a closer look at Schleiermacher’s exposition of the theme of justification in his Christian faith. This discussion of Schleiermacher’s doctrine of justification is introduced by calling attention to some more recent attempts to re-read Schleiermacher in a way that at least complicates the view of him as standing antithetic towards the classical Reformed understanding of grace. Drawing on Schleiermacher’s main thesis on justification, this article proposes that Schleiermacher’s thought in this regard is historically and theologically significant for an attempt to bring the doctrine of justification in conversation with the notion of divine recognition.


Schleiermacher; Justification; Recognition; Reformed Theology; Stellenbosch


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