Synopsis of Schweitzer’s QHJ [Ch. 6, Hase & Schleiermacher]

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Irish1975
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Synopsis of Schweitzer’s QHJ [Ch. 6, Hase & Schleiermacher]

Post by Irish1975 »

Albert Schweitzer’s Quest of the Historical Jesus (1st ed., tr. Montgomery, 1910) is accessible here on Early Christian Writings.

Links to earlier posts on:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapters 4 & 5


Synopsis of Chapter 6

K. A. Hase (1800-1890); biography of Jesus published in 1829
F.E.D. Schleiermacher (1768-1834); lectures on the life of Jesus delivered 1819-1832


1. Hase and Schleiermacher were the last to rationalize the miracles. But they also directed attention back to the search for a connection of events in Jesus’ life.
2. Hase was the first to attempt a biography on a purely historical basis. But compatibility with the Christian faith is also an overt principle.
3. The rationalism of both H and S is half-hearted. They both evince a dangerous, anti-rationalistic, intellectual supernaturalism which brings them close to disingenuous reactionaries.

HASE—
4. There is no evidence that Jesus actually died on the cross, because no evidence of bodily decomposition. It is possible that there was only a trance or coma, followed by a return to consciousness.
5. Only the Johannine miracles are authentic, because they are first hand accounts. The Synoptics report misunderstandings of traditions.
6. Narratives of the miraculous birth, childhood, ascenscion, angelic episodes, and portents after Jesus’ death are “mythical touches.”
7. Jewish elements in the plan and preaching of Jesus cannot be explained away.
8. There were two phases in the messianic activity of Jesus: in the earlier phase, he embraced popular beliefs and excitement about the messiah; in the later phase, he developed his own distinctive views. The incident with Peter at Caesarea Philippi was the turning point.
9. The idea of a 2-phase conception of Jesus’ messianic self-consciousness was championed later by Holtzmann, Keim, and Johannes Weiss, and Schweitzer himself. But Hase was the pioneer, who created the modern historic-psychological picture of Jesus.
10. The apostles didn’t understand Jesus’ non-eschatological views in the later phase of his activity, but imported their own ideas of an imminent End into the Synoptic accounts; only the 4th Gospel remained true to Jesus’ thinking.

SCHLEIERMACHER—
11. His lectures, the first ever on the historical Jesus, were not published until 1864; the following year, David Strauss published a tribute to them.
12. S was a great theologian, a dialectician, a dogmatist, a “spider.” He was interested only in the Jesus Christ of his own theology, not in historical facts. For S, empirical reality had no existence.
13. Many historical questions nevertheless come into view in the course of S’s masterful, enchanting, overpowering dialectic.
14. The dialectic weaves around and away from erroneous extremes: ebionism, docetism, gnosticism, rationalism, etc.
15. The trance/coma hypothesis is plausible. Resurrection appearances were not mere apparitions, but a sort of continuity with the earthly human form. Thus S pretends to retain a doctrine of Jesus’ actual resurrection, but has abandoned it.
16. S accepts and affirms only the 4th Gospel. He mostly rejects the Synoptics, particularly their miracles and their sequencing of events.
17. “I take it as established,” says S, “that the Gospel of John is the narrative of an eyewitness and forms an organic whole. The first three Gospels are compilations formed out of various narratives which had arisen independently; their discourses are composite structures, and their presentation of the history is such that one can form no idea of the grouping of events.”
18. The ground of S’s antipathy to the Synoptics was his theological agenda. He wished to insert his doctrine into the history. His premises required him to write a Life of Christ, not a Life of Jesus.
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Irish1975
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Re: Synopsis of Schweitzer’s QHJ [Ch. 6, Hase & Schleiermacher]

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Schweitzer’s antipathy to Schleiermacher is evident, and his criticism is not entirely fair or consistent. If S delivered the first lectures in Germany on the HJ, if he made all these judgments about the HJ, how can it also be true that he had no interest in empirical or historical reality?
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Re: Synopsis of Schweitzer’s QHJ [Ch. 6, Hase & Schleiermacher]

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Irish1975 wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 12:27 pm Schweitzer’s antipathy to Schleiermacher is evident, and his criticism is not entirely fair or consistent. If S delivered the first lectures in Germany on the HJ, if he made all these judgments about the HJ, how can it also be true that he had no interest in empirical or historical reality?
I think Schweitzer meant that Schleiermacher's ideology dictated his results. (If true of Schleiermacher it is doubtless true of many others and Schweitzer may be unfair in picking on him in particular but that is another issue.)

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Re: Synopsis of Schweitzer’s QHJ [Ch. 6, Hase & Schleiermacher]

Post by Irish1975 »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 10:47 am
Irish1975 wrote: Sat May 22, 2021 12:27 pm Schweitzer’s antipathy to Schleiermacher is evident, and his criticism is not entirely fair or consistent. If S delivered the first lectures in Germany on the HJ, if he made all these judgments about the HJ, how can it also be true that he had no interest in empirical or historical reality?
I think Schweitzer meant that Schleiermacher's ideology dictated his results. (If true of Schleiermacher it is doubtless true of many others and Schweitzer may be unfair in picking on him in particular but that is another issue.)

Andrew Criddle
Thanks Andrew.

Yes, that's in the synopsis (i.e., that Schweitzer writes of Schleiermacher that his ideology dictated his results.) It's more or less true of everyone in the book without exception, and certainly for Schweitzer himself. And for all of us. He is not consistent in applying so much heat in this one case. Schleiermacher was the most eminent theologian of the 19th century, and Schweitzer, writing before WW1, might understandably have resented his reputation and influence. Barth's The Letter to the Romans had not yet dethroned the liberalism of the 19th century.

On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers is Schleiermacher's classic, and still readable today.
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