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Ferdinand Christian Baur and the History of Early Christianity$
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Martin Bauspiess, Christof Landmesser, and David Lincicum

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198798415.001.0001

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The Absoluteness of Christianity and the Relativity of all History

The Absoluteness of Christianity and the Relativity of all History

Two Strands in Ferdinand Christian Baur’s Thought

Chapter:
(p.287) 12 The Absoluteness of Christianity and the Relativity of all History
Source:
Ferdinand Christian Baur and the History of Early Christianity
Author(s):

Johannes Zachhuber

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198798415.003.0012

This chapter starts with the paradox of historicism, which as formulated by Lessing is that the contingent truths of history cannot provide evidence for the necessary truths of reason. Yet Baur tried to bridge this gap by arguing that both absoluteness and relativity can be taken into account by wissenschaftliche Theologie (scientific theology). The chapter argues that tensions were already evident in Baur’s early work on Christian Gnosticism, and became more pronounced in his later writing and especially after his death when the Tübingen School split over this issue. Baur exploited Hegel’s insight that the absolute manifests itself precisely only in concrete and relative forms, but the Hegelian synthesis broke down even before Baur’s death.

Keywords:   historicism, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, absoluteness, relativity, scientific theology

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