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statements, but what is permanent in the midst of the changes; that which moves through the transient with a revivifying energy: in a word, that which is essential and unchangeable in the Christian system of redemption.1 Only such a treatment of the subject as, in its historical pragmatism, exhibits the external causes of the variation, in union with the dynamical principle, which works from within outwards.

The following are the different methods in which the History of Doctrines may be treated :—

1. The merely statutory, which simply accepts what has been confirmed by the Church as established truth, and excludes all that differs from this as confirmed heresy; the logical standpoint of Roman Catholicism. History, in this view, is simply the register of the protocols of the dictatorship of faith, exercised once for all.

2. The exclusively biblical, which starts from the position that the biblical statement of doctrine in its simple expression is sufficient for all subsequent times, and which then convinces itself either that it finds in the Bible, according to a traditional exegesis, the orthodox formulas that were later developed (e.g. those of the Trinity and Original Sin), or, with logical exegetical severity, excludes what is not verbally contained in the Scriptures (biblical supernaturalism on the one side, or biblical rationalism on the other)-the standpoint of a still incomplete Protestantism. With this method of treatment is

usually conjoined

3. The pragmatic and critical, which explains all which goes beyond the Bible (or even the popular reason) by all sorts of accidents and externalities, by climatic, or social and political relations, personal sympathy and antipathy, passions, cabals of courts, priestly deception, superstition, and the like: the standpoint of vulgar rationalism, in which, however, for a long time, the merely formal biblical supernaturalism shared.

4. The one-sided speculative treatment, which sees in the whole development of doctrine a higher but naturalistic process, completed by an internal necessity. Thus, every [For some good remarks on this subject, comp. Nitzsch, Grundriss der Dogmeng. Einl. § 3.]


dogma at some period attains its prime, and then fades away and gives place to another. Here the religious and practical significance of doctrine is underrated, as is its speculative significance by the previous modes of treatment. The error

at the basis of this method, which was pushed to its extreme by Strauss (in his Dogmatik), and which found an ardent scientific advocate in Baur, is in considering Christianity as the mere completion of a process of thought-that is, as a kind of philosophy; when it is really a moral and religious force, resting on a historical fact, and continually working on and by personal agents. Neander (Dogmengeschichte, s. 15) correctly says: "While a superficial pragmatism concedes too much influence to the individual, the speculative method sets it wholly aside, regarding individuals as nothing but the blind (?) organs of the idea, and as necessary momenta in its process of development."

5. The theological method considers the doctrinal substance of the Bible as a living germ, capable of the most prolific development, which, in the midst of the most evidently unfavourable influences, nevertheless retains the productive. power, which brings forth new forms of life adapted to the times. It always (like the second method) goes back to the Bible, and measures the products by the canon, but the plant which springs from a biblical root it will neither drive back into the root, nor cut off from it. It has respect (like the third method) to the external circumstances and the conditions of personal life, under which the doctrine has been developed, and is far from denying these influence, often so palpable and tangible; only it does not rank them so high as to get lost, with such pragmatism, in a mere atomistic tendency. Instead of this, it takes for granted (with the fourth method) that there is a dynamic process of development, which, however, is not purely dialectic, and therefore itself again subject to decomposition for this were only a more refined atomism (as is seen in Strauss' method). But, as religious truth can be only approximately expressed in speculative forms, it also seeks after the beatings of the heart of the religious life,


1 Compare the striking remark of Hamann, cited in Neander, Dogmeng. s. 3: "The pearl of Christianity is a life hid in God, consisting neither in dogmas, nor in notions, nor in rites and usages."

in the midst of both the coarser and the finer muscular systems, that it may thus grasp the whole organism. This is the scientific standpoint which is worthy of a genuine Protestantism; for that alone is truly scientific, which knows the nature of the object which science has to exhibit. He who misconceives the essential nature of religion (as distinguished from purely speculative thought), though he may have all historical knowledge and speculative talent, is unequal to a comprehensive and satisfactory account of the History of Doctrines,

§ 11.


The object of the History of Doctrines is to exhibit, not only the history of dogma as a whole, i.e. the whole substance of Christian teaching, and the doctrinal spirit expressed in its definite statements, but also the history of dogmas, i.e. the development of those particular doctrinal statements, opinions, and representations of the faith, in which the Church teaching of each period is unfolded (1). Both these points of view ought then to be so combined that the general shall be made more clear by the special, and the special also by the general. This is the import of the division of the materials into the General and the Special History of Doctrines. This division can be vindicated only when the two are not merely placed externally side by side, but are placed in such a relation to each other that the General History of Doctrine is seen to be the root of the Special, and is so proportioned that it forms an introduction to it (2).

(1) "The Christian dogma (as a whole) approves itself as a thoroughly simple, and, at the same time, as an infinitely varied system of dogmas; it is just as much a single dogma as it is also a world of dogmas. And this is the test of the perfected dogmatic principle, that all genuine dogmas can be derived from it, and referred back to it." J. P. Lange, 1.c. i. s. 29. The

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History of Doctrines has not only to consider how the particular doctrines, one after another, have received an individual, separate existence, and have asserted a right to such existence, but also to show how they are yet in their co-existence only parts of a whole, elements of one and the same conception, members of an organic system." Baur, 1.c. s. 28. Baur, l.c. s. 28. Comp. s. 75 ff.

(2) The division into the General and Special History of Doctrines has been assailed in recent times (by Baur in his review of Münscher's Lehrbuch, von Cölln's edition, in the Berlin wiss. Jahrbücher, Febr. 1836, s. 230, and by Klee in his Dogmengesch. s. 9), and rightly, so far as the two are merely co-ordinated without internal relations, and the one treated only after the other has been considered (as in Augusti and Baumgarten-Crusius); for in this way the one half seems a detailed History of Doctrine, and consequently a chapter of Church History, the other a system of theology in a historical form; and, moreover, repetitions cannot be avoided. But even Münscher has the correct view, bringing forward the general and the special in each period, so that the former stands as an introduction to the latter, and the one becomes the test of the other; and this is undoubtedly the best method. (Comp. also Neander's Dogmengeschichte.) The so called General History of Doctrines is the bond which unites into one whole the history of the particular doctrines, since it exhibits the points of view under which they are to be considered, the conditions under which they originated, etc.1 Or, would it be better, with Klee, to treat merely of the history of individual doctrines without prefixing any general summary, and without any division into periods? This leads to dismemberment. The method chosen by Meier appeals most strongly to the artistic sense; he tries to mould the historical material in such a way "that the course of the history may correspond as exactly as possible with the course of development of the dogma itself, in which the general and the special are always acting as conditions, the one upon the other; and so, too,

1 So far, the General History of Doctrines is like the History of Dogmatics; but yet it is not to be identified with it. It comprises a wider sphere. It is related to it as is the History of Law to the History of Jurisprudence, as is the History of Art to the History of Esthetics, as is the History of Christian Preaching to the History of Homiletics (as a science).

that the different aspects of the dogma can always be brought forward just at the juncture where there is manifestly some decisive or new point of development." But still, in this mode of treatment, the materials are apt to be too sparingly used. Such artistic handling demands compression, and must demand it; while the History of Doctrines ought to give the materials as completely as possible for the assistance of the student.

§ 12.

Division into Periods.

Comp. Hagenbach's Essay in the Theolog. Studien und Kritiken, 1829, Heft 4, and his Encyklop. s. 257. On the other side, Baur, l.c. s. 65 ff. [Comp. Kling in the Studien und Kritiken, 1841.]

The periods of the History of Doctrines are to be determined by the most important epochs of development in the history of the theological spirit. They do not quite coincide with those adopted in ecclesiastical history (1), and may be divided as follows (2) :

I. Period. From the close of the Apostolic Age to the death of Origen (A.D. 70-254): the Age of Apologetics (3). II. Period. From the death of Origen to John Damascene (254-730): the age of Polemics (4).

III. Period.-From John Damascene to the Reformation (730-1517): the Age of Systems (scholasticism in its widest sense) (5).

IV. Period.-From the Reformation to the Rise of the Philosophy of Leibnitz and Wolf in Germany (1517-1720): the Age of Polemico-ecclesiastical Symbolism, or of the Conflict of Confessions (6).

V. Period. From the year 1720 to the present day: the Age of Criticism, of Speculation, and of the Antagonism between Faith and Knowledge, Philosophy and Christianity, Reason and Revelation, including the attempts to reconcile them (7).

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