Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834) was an eminent classicist, philosopher, and theologian. He is most famous for his contributions to theology, for which he is known as “the father of modern theology.” He is without doubt one of the greatest Christian theologians of all time, standing in the same rank as Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin. His theological work had, and continues to have, an enormous influence, even when this influence has not always been recognized as his. It is well known that he introduced many of the ideas at the forefront of nineteenth-century German liberal Protestant theology. His influence has not been limited to liberal theology, however. Many of his insights decisively changed the understanding of the way in which the areas of theology are related to one another. For instance, the basic thrust of his argument regarding the “four natural heresies of Christianity,” has been widely accepted, as has his claim that the doctrine of the Trinity is the result of reflection on the fundamental experience of redemption in Christ and the common Spirit of the church that flows from it. Moreover, Schleiermacher's discussion of the relation of Christology to soteriology, that is, his argument that the doctrines of the person and work of Christ are inherently related (so that the “activity” of Christ cannot be separated from his “dignity”) has had an enormous impact. Whereas before Schleiermacher dogmatic textbooks tended to discuss the two topics in isolation, after him the topics were generally discussed together.
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