The Veiled God

Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Theology of Finitude


In The Veiled God, Ruth Jackson Ravenscroft offers a detailed portrait of Friedrich Schleiermacher’s early life, ethics, and theology in its historical and social context. She also critically reflects on the enduring relevance of his work for the study of religion.
The book analyses major texts from Schleiermacher’s early work. It argues that his experiments with literary form convey his understanding that human knowledge is inherently social, and that religion is thoroughly linguistic and historical. The book contends that by making finitude (and not freedom) a universal aspect to human life, Schleiermacher offers rich conceptual resources for considering what it means to be human in this world, both in relations of difference to others, and in relation to the infinite.

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Ruth Jackson Ravenscroft is a Research Fellow in Theology at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC-funded project ‘Bible and Antiquity in Nineteenth-Century Culture’, having received her PhD from Cambridge in 2016.
Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Works

Freedom and Particularity in Schleiermacher’s Early Ethical Anthropology

Introduction to Part 1
Delineating the Ethical and the Theological
 1Disciplinary Boundaries
 2A Godless Europe
Schleiermacher’s Religious Doubt
 1From Barby to Halle
 2‘To Cecilie’
Quarrels with Kant on Freedom
 1Necessity, Freedom, and Human Identity
 2Schleiermacher’s Kant and the Otherworldly Subject
 3Schleiermacher’s Quarrel with Kant on Freedom
 4Temporality, Dialogue and Human Identity
 5On Desire and Moral Motivation

Human Formation and Literary Form in Schleiermacher’s Soliloquies(1800)

Introduction to Part 2
Freedom and Formation Anew
 1Beyond the Moral Law, and the Idea of Universal Reason
 2Freedom and Rationality
 3The Role of Language in the Ethical Life
 4A New Approach to Freedom
Schleiermacher’s Commitment to Bildung
 1Bildung in Berlin
 2The Meaning of Bildung
 3The Self Negotiated in Society
 4Schleiermacher, Bildung, and the Question of Gender
 5Schleiermacher’s Project on the Colony in “New Holland”
The Soliloquies
 1An Idealistic Performance
 2Imagination and Individualism
 3Individuality and Immeasurability

Dialogue and Incarnation

Introduction to Part 3
Schleiermacher’s Dialogic Vision
 1A Household at Christmas
 2A Platonic Scheme?
 3Authorial Passivity
 4A Review from Kierkegaard
Seeking the Infinite in the Midst of the Finite
 1Schleiermacher’s Speeches On Religion
 2Interreligious Dialogue in Berlin
A Theology of Finitude
 1Barth’s Critique of the Christmas Dialogue
 2Music and the Transcendent
List of Cited Works
Postgraduates and scholars of theology, specialists in Schleiermacher studies, and all those interested in German intellectual history, German Romanticism, Religious Studies, and the links between religion and literature.
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