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On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  243 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Detailed annotation clarifies this translation of a key document in early German Romanticism, which had a significant impact on nineteenth century religious thought after its publication in 1799.
Paperback, 175 pages
Published April 18th 1996 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1799)
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(showing 1-30 of 582)
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Jonathan Norton
Feb 10, 2013 Jonathan Norton rated it it was ok
The Ur-text for much modern theology, these 1799 essays attempt to promote the idea of religion to an elite audience versed in the very latest transcendental philosophy. Religion isn't what they thought it was, it turns out to a intuitive sensibility for the relation of the finite to the infinite cosmos, and as such may be manifest throughout culture and in different religions. FS is happiest when describing non-historical idealised religious communities, less successful in connecting these idea ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Ed rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
Herr Schleiermacher engages in the quixotic task of, unsurprisingly, defending religion to its cultured despisers. The European wars of religion ended a century earlier, but the consequent negativity towards religion in general is still prevailing. Whereas Immanuel Kant based his apology upon reason, Schleiermacher sought to defend religion as a pure sentiment of finite humans interacting with the Infinite. Religions then, are nothing more than various attempts to describe and teach exactly how ...more
Alex Kartelias
May 19, 2016 Alex Kartelias rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
I have mixed feelings about this book. As a student of Eckhart and others, I see many attractive ideas which are indeed mystical/metaphysical- and see how he fits into the rich tradition of German thought-but my admiration ends when he claims when it doesn't matter whether one follows a religion or not and that all religions originate from 'emotion'. What is similar about religions is partly about 'emotion' but he doesn't go into the doctrines of any religion at all.

The problem with emotion is t
Jun 26, 2015 Elias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kai Sadinmaan kirjan "10 käskyä kirjalle" vanavedessä olisi suonut, että tästäkin klassikosta tehtäisiin uusi painos - ja mielellään myös uusi suomennos, sillä Aina Lähteenojan suomennos viime vuosisadan alusta alkaa paikoin olla hieman vanhahtava. Saksalaisille ikävän tyypillisiä äärettömän pitkiä lauseita sopisi hieman lyhentää, eikä väliotsikotkaan olisi pahitteeksi. Tekstissä on myös 311 viitettä, mutta viiteluettelo on unohtunut lopusta.

Schleiermacherin kirja pyrkii selittämään "oppineille
Ryan Linkous
Oct 27, 2015 Ryan Linkous rated it liked it
This book gets a simultaneous 1 and 5 which results in it only receiving a 3.

Schleiermacher is a brilliant critic of the "cultural despisers" of religion. Many of his criticisms are equally relevant today, it not more so. He is helpful in showing the religious orientation of each person.

All that being said, after having demolished the critics of religious in his day, he builds a house that is a undependable and dangerous. To say he reduces religion to feeling is accurate, but still too nondescri
Joseph Sverker
It was very interesting to finally read this extremely influential book. Richard Crouter points out in the foreword that this book might not be useful for what it can contribute to today's discussion about religion, but that it still will give food for thought and be of interest to the reader and I think he is completely correct, at least if one is thinking of the "New Atheist" critique of religion. This is not a rationalistic argument or defence for religion. As is well known Schleiermacher emp ...more
Tylor Lovins
Dec 19, 2012 Tylor Lovins rated it really liked it
This book was very useful to me, from a Wittgensteinian perspective, while I was trying to think about the so-called 'primitive reaction' that enables belief. In this case, Schleiermacher was useful in helping me understand what sort of reaction to life as a whole is embodied in Christian doctrine. This attitude seems to be put most clearly in this book, as Schleiermacher outlines the feeling of complete dependency on the Whole. Schleiermacher is so useful because he is very honest, it seems, wi ...more
Oct 05, 2013 Jeremy rated it did not like it
Had to read speeches 1-4 for Barry Harvey's course on the History of Christianity III (Fall 2013). I read the CCEL version, not this one.

Swing and a miss. Mostly by me, but probably for Schleiermacher too. My philosophy background is weak, so I had trouble categorizing and following all of his thoughts ("maybe that's the problem, trying to systematize everything," I can hear Schleiermacher saying). I'll admit that my lack of appreciation could be mostly due to my delinquency in reading, but Schl
David A-S
Jan 15, 2016 David A-S rated it liked it
Schleiermacher's work was so foundational for his time and shaped theology for a century, so it is a worthy read. Though the issue of reconciling faith in an enlightenment culture is still relevant for us today, his manner of arguing does date him more. That said, his answer seems to be rooted in mysticism, ecumenism, and a community of faith.
Aug 18, 2012 Craig rated it it was amazing
This book was published in 1799 at the insistence of his Romantic era friends-none of whom understood how a Christian minister could "get" what they were about. It became a best seller at the time. HIs friends were the "cultured despisers" he was addressing in the five essays, i.e. speeches.

It is surprisingly easy to read given when it was written. If nothing else, just read the first essay. He is regarded as the father of modern Christianity and irrevocably altered the theological landscape of
Dec 06, 2015 Dan rated it really liked it
While this is well written and reasoned, it leans too much on feeling and instinct, which can lead to no good when it is implemented into a system of authority over believers.
Feb 14, 2016 Kyle rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, philosophy
An attempted aesthetic justification for Christianity (religion?). Schleiermacher seems to be insecure about faith in light of his cultured friends (Schlegel, et al.).
Jan 17, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
I appreciated learning more about this influential theologian, and to some extent am excited by his notion of humanity not being the ultimate, but a piece of the infinite. His thoughts of religion being neither something one does, nor knows, rather intuits were revolutionary for his time, but I was left a bit puzzled after reading his fourth speech. He takes us from a stance that religion is something formed from within the individual, to a place where we are to give into the leadership of someo ...more
May 02, 2008 Donald rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't find the version I have either on goodreads or Amazon. I have the Harper Torchback book. Schleiermacher gave his due diligence to Kant. His views on immanence and the entire Christ-consciousness led to a significant havoc. I respect this theologian, but do not follow in his tradition. He rejected Greek categories and so followed Barth and later, Bultmann. His writing influenced theologians that to this day speak the words that he spoke in the early 19th century. I never attended seminar ...more
Jacob Stubbs
Scheiermacher deserves credit for creating Protestant Liberalism. While I disagree with many facets of his theology, Scheiermacher does offer a well-reasoned beast which is quite strong and offers an interesting rendering of what a Christian faith may look like in a Kantian system. That being said, Schleiermacher does write with pomposity, which on the one hand is much appreciated in these days of academical obfuscation, and, on the other, can cause massive frustration in truly analyzing his wor ...more
Benjamin Merritt
Oct 27, 2013 Benjamin Merritt rated it really liked it
I had a hard time focusing on this book (he is very difficult to read and understand), which is why it took me so long to finish. This is an important book in the history of modern theology. Much what Karl Barth says is in reaction to (or conversation with) Schleiermacher (yes I picked this up partly because of this). In Speeches, Schleiermacher says many helpful things, and I found myself appreciating what he was trying to do (basically a soft apologetics), but I would only follow him so far.
Dwight Davis
Dec 03, 2013 Dwight Davis rated it it was ok
This is where theology began to go wrong. Too much focus on emotions and intuition. Very little room for the incarnation and resurrection of Christ. It's fascinating to me how much modern evangelicalism has in common with this text while despising the liberal theology that Schleiermacher spearheaded.
Mar 11, 2012 Tyler rated it liked it
Useful in its value to understanding the roots of Protestant liberalism, but Schleiermacher has terrible theology since he applies Enlightenment rules to Christianity. He tries to specify a specific feeling for religion to prove its use, and he ultimately ends up in heterodoxy.
Jul 27, 2010 Rhesa marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Longing for this classic
Jeremy Sabol
Dec 15, 2007 Jeremy Sabol rated it liked it
"whooey tough going"
Jeremy Sabol
Dec 14, 2007 Jeremy Sabol rated it liked it
whooey tough going
May 04, 2007 Meghan rated it it was amazing
a must!
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Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher was a German theologian and philosopher known for his impressive attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant orthodoxy. He also became influential in the evolution of Higher Criticism. His work also forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics. Because of his profound impact on subsequent Christian t ...more
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“Belief must be something different from a mixture of opinions about God and the world, and of precepts for one life or for two. Piety cannot be an instinct craving for a mess of metaphysical and ethical crumbs.” 3 likes
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