What is Christianity? Lectures Delivered in the University of Berlin during the Winter-Term 1899-1900.

by Adolf Harnack


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Summary

Harnack’s lectures sought to answer the question, “What is Christianity?” in a purely historical way. In the centuries before, scholars, clergy, and laypersons turned to their Bibles or their church’s creeds for the answer. For Harnack, examining Christianity with the tools of historical criticism signified a return to true Christianity, which had become mired in unnecessary and even damaging creeds and dogmas. Learning the raw historical facts, for him, was one way to strip away all but the foundations of the faith. In his lectures, then, Harnack spoke in terms of facts rather than tradition. Instead of looking to evangelize his audience, he looks to build up their understanding of the Christian religion as an historical force, moving through and shaping the times.

Kathleen O’Bannon

CCEL Staff
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About Adolf Harnack
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Adolf Harnack
Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia
Born: May 7, 1851, Governorate of Livonia
Died: June 10, 1930, Heidelberg
Related topics: Christianity--Essence, genius, nature, Christianity, Church history--Primitive and early church, Criticism, interpretation, etc., Germany
Basic information: Adolf von Harnack (7 May 1851–10 June 1930), was a German Lutheran theologian and prominent church historian. He produced many religious publications from 1873-1912. Harnack traced the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on early Christian writing and called on Christians to question the authenticity of doctrines that arose in the early Christian church.
Popular works: Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries , History of Dogma - Volume I, Origin of the New Testament, History of Dogma - Volume IV, Apostles' Creed

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