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Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology

ISBN: 978-0-470-67331-7
616 pages
April 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology (0470673311) cover image


Winner: 2012 The American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in Theology and Religious Studies, PROSE Award.

In this thought-provoking new work, the world renowned theologian Gary Dorrien reveals how Kantian and post-Kantian idealism were instrumental in the foundation and development of modern Christian theology.

  • Presents a radical rethinking of the roots of modern theology
  • Reveals how Kantian and post-Kantian idealism were instrumental in the foundation and development of modern Christian theology
  • Shows how it took Kant's writings on ethics and religion to launch a fully modern departure in religious thought
  • Dissects Kant's three critiques of reason and his moral conception of religion
  • Analyzes alternative arguments offered by Schleiermacher, Schelling, Hegel, and others - moving historically and chronologically through key figures in European philosophy and theology
  • Presents notoriously difficult and intellectual arguments in a lucid and accessible manner
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction: Kantian Concepts, Liberal Theology, and Post-Kantian Idealism 1

2 Subjectivity in Question: Immanuel Kant, Johann G. Fichte, and Critical Idealism 23

3 Making Sense of Religion: Friedrich Schleiermacher, John Locke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Liberal Theology 84

4 Dialectics of Spirit: F. W. J. Schelling, G. W. F. Hegel, and Absolute Idealism 159

5 Hegelian Spirit in Question: David Friedrich Strauss, Søren Kierkegaard, and Mediating Theology 243

6 Neo-Kantian Historicism: Albrecht Ritschl, Adolf von Harnack, Wilhelm Herrmann, Ernst Troeltsch, and the Ritschlian School 315

7 Idealistic Ordering: Lux Mundi, Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison, Hastings Rashdall, Alfred E. Garvie, Alfred North Whitehead, William Temple, and British Idealism 378

8 The Barthian Revolt: Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and the Legacy of Liberal Theology 454

9 Idealistic Ironies: From Kant and Hegel to Tillich and Barth 530

Index 574

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Author Information

Gary Dorrien is the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including the highly-acclaimed trilogy The Making of Liberal Theology (2001, 2003, 2006), and Social Ethics in the Making: Interpreting an American Tradition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008, 2010).

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“Nonetheless, the thoroughness of this volume and the cogency of its arguments make it an absolute must for theology students.”  (Religious Studies Review, 27 February 2014)

“Dorrien's book-which I cannot avoid calling brilliant-will hold the same enduring place in giving an historical justification for his "modern theology" that Barth's Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century holds in setting the table for Barth's dogmatics. Time will tell whether the future belongs to Dorrien's theology, Barth's (in historical or repristinated form), or some other.”  (Themelios, 1 August 2013)

“Graduate students and philosophy of religion students will find this book indispensable.  Summing Up:  Essential.  All libraries supporting graduate programs in theology and religion.”  (Choice, 1 February 2013)

"I have always told students that one cannot understand modern theology, including Barthian theology, without a firm grasp of Kant. Dorrien's work substantiates this claim with an attention to detail that is nothing short of breathtaking. This book is a brilliant and much needed account of the influence of Immanuel Kant and the tradition of post-Kantian idealism on modern theology."
William Stacy Johnson, Princeton Theological Seminary

"This is a brilliant and much needed book. Dorrien's magisterial achievements to date lend his voice a special authority, but in this book, the reader is simply compelled by the deft interplay of nuance and overview to trust his mentorship. Dorrien has masterfully approached this most intimidating and yet indispensable corpus of texts with depth and breadth of analysis, and with an extraordinarily fresh perspective."
Catherine Keller, Drew University

"Gary Dorrien is a superstar as an interpreter of modern religious thought. This unique, fascinating, aggressively revisionary book will have no competition until books appear to argue against it."
Frederick Ferré, University of Georgia

"This is an extraordinarily fine book, a delight to read, a real page-turner, and a brilliant interpretation, all of which one expects of such an accomplished scholar and author as Dorrien. As a theologian and historian, Dorrien is in top form. As a theologian and philosopher, he writes with precise, analytical control over the ideas involved, offering, among other things, the best treatment I know of the evolving relations among Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. No one else I know could have written this book, which will be the dominant treatment of its subject. Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit is a magisterial interpretive history of one of the most important theological deltas of our time."
Robert C. Neville, Boston University

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