On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers

by Friedrich Schleiermacher

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Young Friedrich Schleiermacher was a Reformed Calvinist Chaplain in Berlin when he wrote his first major work, On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers. Comprised of five speeches on religion, Schleiermacher's book was largely influenced by several rationalist philosophers that Schleiermacher had studied. Schleiermacher argued that religion was rooted in human feelings, describing the core of religion as "a sense and taste for the Infinite in the finite." He understood religion as the human effort to communicate our experienced consciousness of the Divine within the human social sphere. As a result of his analysis, Schleiermacher was sensitive to the limitations of religion in the finite realm. The emergence of this book in 1799 marked the beginning of the era of Protestant Liberal Theology, and it offered a method of understanding religion that was refreshing for Schleiermacher's time.

Emmalon Davis
CCEL Staff Writer
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About Friedrich Schleiermacher
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Friedrich  Schleiermacher
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Popular works: On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers, Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher: translated by Mary F. Wilson.