Sin and redemption constitute the heart of Schleiermacher's understanding of Christianity. Christianity “is essentially distinguished from other such [monotheistic and teleological] faiths by the fact that in it everything is related to the redemption accomplished by Jesus of Nazareth” (CF, § 11); “the distinctive feature of Christian piety lies in the fact that whatever alienation from God there is in the phases of our experience, we are conscious of it as an action originating in ourselves, which we call Sin; but whatever fellowship with God there is, we are conscious of it as resting upon a communication from the Redeemer, which we call Grace” (§ 63). The problem that Schleiermacher confronted was how to give an account of sin and grace after the Enlightenment, when fundamental questions about the credibility of Christian doctrines had been raised. Schleiermacher is committed to producing a dogmatics adequate to the modern world, that is, to meeting the challenge to the credibility of theology while remaining appropriate to the Christian tradition. To carry out this project Schleiermacher boldly reinterpreted traditional doctrines to establish their credibility, while seeking to show how his revisionist formulas are consistent with both the New Testament and the Protestant confessions of the sixteenth century as the criteria of appropriateness. His discussion of sin and redemption exhibits his dual commitment to revision and fidelity to the Christian (specifically, Protestant) tradition.
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