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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers historicization as a major paradigm of Christian thought in the nineteenth century. Early historicism saw history and religion as mutually related, and history as having a religious dimension. F. C. Baur created a monumental work of theological historicism. Yet tensions were visible in Baur’s oeuvre: between idealist and positivist interpretation of history; between historical criticism and religious faith; between history of process and the historical appreciation of individuals. These tensions increased among his students for whom historicism had become the master discourse whose rules were binding for ‘scientific’ theology as well. In this situation, a reconfiguration of theological historicism occurred in the work of Albrecht Ritschl and theology continued to work within the historicist paradigm. Only the more fundamental criticism directed by Franz Overbeck and Friedrich Nietzsche against the principles of historicism and its use in theology led the eventual abandonment of historicist theology.

Keywords: historicism, historicization, critical exegesis, Romanticism, Idealism, positivism, F. C. Baur, Albrecht Ritschl, Franz Overbeck, Friedrich Nietzsche

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