Friedrich Schleiermacher Criticism - Essay

The British Quarterly Review (essay date 1849)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Der Christliche Glaube nach den Grundsätzen der Evangelischen Kirsche im zusammenhange dargestellt,” in The British Quarterly Review, May 1, 1849, pp. 303-54.

[In the following essay, an anonymous reviewer examines Schleiermacher's ideology and his powerful influence on German theology.]

Two countrymen, says the fable, were walking in the fields when they saw a cloud approaching, huge and dark. Ah, cried John, there comes the hail; our crops will be ruined, a famine in three months, then a pestilence, then—Hail! interrupted Thomas, that cloud carries rain, the very thing we want, we shall make a fortune this summer. The dispute grew warm....

(The entire section is 23312 words.)

Robert Munro (essay date 1903)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Philosophical Position,” in Schleiermacher: Personal and Speculative, Alexander Gardner, 1903, pp. 131-223.

[In the following excerpt, Munro presents a detailed overview of Schleiermacher's philosophy, focusing on his theory of knowledge, the elements of thought, and the distinction drawn between religion and philosophy.]


The philosophy of Schleiermacher, while not absolutely original, is very much more than a mere repetition of the results of the critical method. It is an independent study of the problem of knowledge—a study which, although making free use of the materials of past investigators, so builds them...

(The entire section is 21712 words.)

J. Arundel Chapman (essay date 1932)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Valuation and Criticism of the Addresses,” in An Introduction to Schleiermacher, The Epworth Press, 1903, pp. 55-99.

[In the following excerpt, Chapman provides an interpretation of Schleiermacher's Addresses (also known as his Speeches), characterizing them as a seminal influence on nineteenth-century theological development.]

The Addresses were published in 1799. Goethe was at the height of his power. His first great burst of literary activity was over, and nine years were yet to elapse before the publication of the First Part of Faust. Kant was nearing the end of his philosophical toils, The Critique of Pure Reason...

(The entire section is 14363 words.)

Richard B. Brandt (essay date 1941)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Schleiermacher's Influence,” in The Philosophy of Schleiermacher: The Development of His Theory of Scientific and Religious Knowledge, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1941, pp. 299-317.

[In the following excerpt, Brandt asserts that Schleiermacher's vast influence on theologians was due in part to his ability to mediate between supernatural theology and naturalism, thus allowing both orthodox and liberal theologians to accept modern science while also defending religion and theology.]

An adequate discussion of Schleiermacher's influence, especially in Germany, would require a separate book. For his work in theology was so significant in bringing about a...

(The entire section is 9163 words.)

Jerry F. Dawson (essay date 1966)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Schleiermacher, Rationalism, and Romanticism,” in Friedrich Schleiermacher: The Evolution of a Nationalist, University of Texas Press, 1941, pp. 17-42.

[In the following excerpt, Dawson traces the development of Schleiermacher's nationalism and his response to the romanticist philosophy in the context of his Speeches on Religion.]

The subtle, subjective influence of Pietism upon Schleiermacher was an excellent preparation for the next step he took in his evolutionary progress toward nationalism: the study of rationalism. When he cast off the yoke of rigid Moravian Pietistic doctrines in order to study at Halle, he did more than just leave one institution...

(The entire section is 10691 words.)

Jack Forstman (essay date 1977)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Religion Within the Limits of Human Perception: Schleiermacher,” in A Romantic Triangle: Schleiermacher and Early German Romanticism, Scholars Press, 1977, pp. 65-79.

[In the following excerpt, Forstman critiques Schleiermacher's Speeches as evidence of his evolving religious philosophy, which makes a clear distinction between religion and morality.]

In the early romantic circle in Berlin, at a time when polemics, not least against religion, had not yet given way to rebuilding, Friedrich Schleiermacher was something of an enigma to the others. He had won his rights to membership by solid performance on the salon circuit. An engaging...

(The entire section is 7884 words.)

Robert F. Streetman (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Romanticism and the Sensus Numinis in Schleiermacher,” in The Interpretation of Belief: Coleridge, Schleiermacher and Romanticism, Macmillan, 1986, pp. 104-25.

[In the following essay, Streetman illustrates the ways in which Schleiermacher influenced religion during the nineteenth century, noting his revitalization of the sense of divinity which led to the creation of an experiential faith rooted in Romantic philosophy.]

These words of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834) will surely be subjected to new assessments during the several events commemorating the 150th anniversary of his death: ‘I, for my part, am a stranger to the life...

(The entire section is 7759 words.)

Keith Clements (essay date 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Main Themes in Schleiermacher's Theology,” in Friedrich Schleiermacher: Pioneer of Modern Theology, Collins, 1987, pp. 35-65.

[In the following excerpt, Clements discusses the influence of Schleiermacher's writings on the philosophy and study of religion, focusing on his theological methods, nationalism, and ideas on the place of Christianity in relation to other religions.]

Our selection of themes from Schleiermacher's work and the corresponding texts chosen to exemplify his treatment of these do not pretend to be an exhaustive survey of his theology. They do, however, bring into relief the particular contribution which Schleiermacher made to the renewing...

(The entire section is 13166 words.)

Tilottama Rajan (essay date 1988)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Is There a Romantic Ideology? Some Thoughts on Schleiermacher's Hermeneutic and Textual Criticism,” in Text: Transactions of the Society for Textual Scholarship, edited by D. C. Greetham and W. Speed Hill, AMS Press, 1988, pp. 59-77.

[In the following essay, Rajan provides an overview of the development of Schleiermacher's hermeneutic philosophy in the context of Romantic ideas regarding discourse, criticism, and creation.]

Since the appearance of Jerome J. McGann's A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism in 1983, we have begun to reconceive significantly a textual criticism based on a theory of final authorial intentions. In taking issue with...

(The entire section is 7849 words.)

Julie Ellison (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Hermeneutics as Desire,” in Delicate Subjects: Romanticism, Gender, and the Ethics of Understanding, Cornell University Press, 1990, pp. 63-99.

[In the following excerpt, Ellison studies Schleiermacher's approach to interpretive theory through an examination of his major texts.]


After the publication in 1806 of his dialogue Christmas Eve, his last work in an early romantic mode, Schleiermacher's engagement with readers outside academic circles took the form of sermons and statements on public affairs.1 During the uncertain years of the French invasion and occupation of Prussia (1806-14),...

(The entire section is 15023 words.)

Hans Küng (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Friedrich Schleiermacher: Theology at the Dawn of Modernity,” in Great Christian Thinkers, SCM Press, 1994, pp. 157-84.

[In the following excerpt, Küng traces the development of Schleiermacher's theological philosophy and provides an overview of his major works.]


‘The first place in a history of the theology of the most recent times belongs and will always belong to Schleiermacher, and he has no rival.’ So says Schleiermacher's most vigorous opponent, who was to drive him from his pinnacle, and continues: ‘It has often been pointed out that Schleiermacher did not found any school. This...

(The entire section is 10480 words.)

Theodore M. Vial (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Friedrich Schleiermacher on the Central Place of Worship in Theology,” in Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 91, No. 1, January, 1998, pp. 59-73.

[In the following essay, Vial proposes that worship is a fundamental tenet of Schleiermacher's theology.]

Suspicion raised by the Neo-orthodox movement concerning Schleiermacher's theological enterprise continues to cast its shadow. Karl Barth framed this suspicion perspicaciously in terms of an “either/or” in his “Concluding Unscientific Postscript on Schleiermacher”:

Is Schleiermacher's enterprise concerned (a) necessarily, intrinsically, and authentically with a...

(The entire section is 6210 words.)