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Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment$
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Toshimasa Yasukata

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195144949

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195144945.001.0001

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(p.140) Conclusion
Lessing's Philosophy of Religion and the German Enlightenment

Toshimasa Yasukata

Oxford University Press

Offers a general summary of our findings on Lessing's view of Christianity and reason and discusses certain implications of his work for contemporary thinking. It has been demonstrated that Christianity stood at the forefront of Lessing's concerns throughout his life, though his contribution to the history of Protestantism is actually Janus‐faced. For Lessing, as his famous dictum testifies, the goal of enlightenment is a mature autonomy capable of confessing that absolute truth is for God alone. We propose to designate this ideal of Lessingian enlightenment as the attainment of an “autotheonomy” in which “autonomy is at the same time theonomy.” Our inquiry confirms that Lessing's thought contains the potential needed for the constitutive elements of a viable theology in the postmodern age.

Keywords:   autotheonomy, contemporary thinking, Janus‐faced, Lessingian enlightenment, postmodern age, Protestantism, summary

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