Skip to main content

Full text of "The Ritschlian theology and the evangelical faith"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on Hbrary shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/| 


. I 



Edited by the Rtv. 


Editor of •• The Ej^ositor- 







Edited by the Rev. W. Robertson Nicoll, M.A., LL.D. 

Editor of TAe Expositof, 

Fcap. BvOf clothy price 2s. 6d, each. 

A Manual of Christian Evidences. 

By the Rev. Prbbbndary Row, M.A., D.D. 

An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New 
By the Rev. Professor B. B. Warpibld, D.D. 

A Hebrew Grammar. 

By the Rev. W. H. Lows, M.A. 

A Manual of Church History. 

In Two ParU. By the Rev. A. C. Jbnnings, M.A. 

Vol. I. From the First to the Tenth Century. 

Vol. II. From the Tenth to the Nineteenth Century. 

An Exposition of the Apostles' Creed. 
By the Rev. J. E. Yonge, M.A. 

The Prayer Book. 

By the Rev. Charles Hole, B.A. 

An Introduction to the New Testament. 
By Marcus Dods, D.D. 

The Language of the New Testament. 
By the Rev. W. H. Simcox, M.A. 

The Writers of the New Testament : Their Style and 
By the Rev. W. H. Simcox, M.A. 

An Introduction to the Old Testament. 
By the Rev. C. H. H. Wright, D.D. 

Outlines of Christian Doctrine. 

By the Rev. H. C. G. Moulb, D.D. 

The Theology of the New Testament. 

By the Rev. Professor W. F. Adbnbv, M.A. 

Evolution and Christianity. 

By the Rev. Professor Ivbrach, D.D. 

The Theology of the Old Testament 

By the Rev. Professor W. H. Bennett, M.A. 

The Ritschllan Theology. 

By the Rev. Professor Orr, M.A., D.D. 


The Ritschlian Theology 
AND THE Evangelical Faith 





Author of " The ChrisHan View of God and the World 

(Kerr Lectures), etc. 

* M 




• " // w€ haw rightly designaUd the essence of Christianity^ we 
may comfort ourselves by saying that the nearer the system of a 
systematic theologian approaches to a mektphysic, the farther it 
removes itself from Christianify,**—Ilo¥UAKV, quoted by Herrmann. 



IN issuing this little book, which aims at bemg, 
within the limits assigned, as objective a presen- 
tation of the Ititschlian Theology as is possible to 
one who, while conscious of having benefited by 
its teaching, does not share the standpoint of the 
schooly the author desires to express his thanks 
to the Ilev. Wm. M'Gilchrist, B.D., Ardrossan, for 
his kindness in aidiog in the revision of the proofs, 
and for frequent helpful suggestions. 





Introductoiy : Becent Origin and Importance of the 
Bitschlian MoTement — Its LnpoBing dainis — Caiues 
of its Snccess — The Personality of fiitschl — ^Ability 
of his Disciples — ^Adaptation to the Temper and 
Tendencies of the Age — Ritschl above all a Systematic 
Theologian — Flan of the Book 1 

Personal : Bitschl's Mental Development as throwing 
light on his Theology — ^Early Tendencies — ^At Bonn : 
Nitzsch--At Halle : Tholnck, J. Miiller— Hegelian 
Stage — ^Attaches l^iiwarff to Baor — ^His Origin of the 
Old Catholie Chwrch — Break with Baor — ^Independent 
Theological Activity — ^The Doctrine of Justification 
— Influence of Schlelermacher — Influence of Kant 
— Influence of Lotze — His Work on Jtutijieation — 
Growing Influence at GKHtingen — The Bitschlian 
"School" — Principal Bepiesentatives . . . *'" 




THE "method" 

Relation of the Eitschlian Theology to the Past— The 
" Speculative " Tendency in Ritschl — Dependence on 
Kant — Kant's Theoretic Agnosticism — His Practical 
Faith— The " Moral Proof "—The " Kingdom of God " 
— Doctrine of Freedom in its bearings on Qmlt and 
Punishment — Modifications in Lotze — Being known 
only in Relations — Supremacy of the Gkx)d — " Forms ** 
and "Values" — Religious Knowledge — Indebtedness • 
of Ritschl to Schleiermacher — Religious Philosophy — 
Teleological View of Christianity — Reference to Re- 
demption — Religion and Fellowship — Person and 
Work of Christ— De Wette, etc 29 

The Ritschlian "Method" — Its Ambiguity — Its Real 
Nature — RitschFs Agreement with Schleiermacher — 
Christian Facts studied as " Mirrored " in the Subject 
— The Claim to derive Theology from Historical 
Revelation—" Scientific" Method in Theology . . 47 



The Ritschlian System — " Theology without Metaphysics" 

— Qualification of this : Need of a Theory of Know- \ 
ledge — Religious and Theoretic Knowledge — Ritechl's 
Phenomenalism — Bearings on his Theology — Doctrines 
of God, Christ, the Unio Mygticay Sin — Nature of V 
Religious Knowledge — "Judgments of Value" — 
Differences on this Subject — Application to " God- 
head" of Christ 67 

The Ritschlian Theory of Religion— Man and the " World" 
— Derivation of Idea of God — " Value- Judgment " in 
this connection — Distinction of Ends in Religion and 
Morality — Bearings on Theology — Justification and 
Good Works— Ritschl's Definition of Christianity . 70 





"Revelation- Worth" of Christ the Positive Principle of 
Christian Theology — Scope of this Principle — Place 
of Christianity in History of Religions — Christ and 
" Community " — ^The Idea of Revelation — Fact not 
Theory — Ambigtiity of the Ritschlian Concept — 
Christian Apologetic — Origin of Personal Faith : the 
Impression of Christ — Faith and the Gospel Records 
— Criticism and Miracle — Rltschl on Miracle — The 
" Scientific " Proof of Christianity : Agreement with 
antecedent ** Postulates ".«... 81 

Place of Holy Scripture — The New Testament a Witness 
to Primitive Christianity — Bearing of Old Testament 
on Interpretation and Canonicity — The Scriptures 
not « a Rule of Faith " 95 

General Sketch of Christianity^^As realising the Idea 
of the Perfect Spiritual and Moral Religion — Ab 
related to Sin — The Religion of Redemption . . 101 



The Doctrine of God— Rejection of Theoretic " Proofs"— 
God known only in Acts and Manifestations — " Re- 
ligions" Interpretation of Attributes— Idea of Eternity 
—Love the Fundamental Attribute— God as Spiritual 
Person— The " Fatherhood " of God— Ritschlian Re- 
striction of this Notion— Deduction from Love of the 
Idea of the Kingdom of God— The World as a Means 
to this Kingdom— Ambiguities in Ritschlian Usage- 
Kingdom of God and Church . . . • • 106 



The Person of Christ as Founder of the Kingdom — Christ's 
Person in light of His " Vocation "—The Kingly Office 
the Highest— The Meaning of " Godhead " of Christ 
— Christ the Revelation of God's Grace and Truth — 
Unity with God in His World-Purpose — His Supremacy 
over the World — Comparison with New Testament 
Representations— The Word made Flesh— The " Lord" 
— Christ's Pre-Existence and Connection with Crea- 
tion—Efficient and Final Cause— The Exalted Christ 
— Significance for us — Ritschl's Anti-Mysticism . . 125 



Variations of Ritschl — Postulates of Ordinary Doctrine 
of Sin — RitschVs Earlier and Later Views — Denial 
of Retributive Justice — Standard of Sin in Idea of 
Kingdom of God — Sin as Ignorance — Denial of 
Original Sin — Guilt and its Punishment — Sin and 
Death — Satisfaction-Theory of Atonement rejected — 
Christ as Revealer of God's Grace — The Connection 
of Forgiveness with Christ's Death — Doctrine of 
Sacrifice in Old and New Testaments . . . .136 

Ritschlian View of Justification, Adoption, and Recon- 
ciliation — Justification and Good Works — Contra- 
dictions in Ritschl's View — Religion and Ethics — 
The Objective in Justification translated finally into 
the Subjective (Regeneration, etc.) — Christ as Priest — 
Representation and Imputation — The. ** Community " 
the Direct Object of Justification — Does Faith pre- 
cede or follow Justification? — The Christian Life — 
Its Religious Side; Faith in Providence, etc. — Its 
Ethical Side ; Action from Love in God's Kingdom — 
Lack of Eschatology— Excluded by the Principles of \ 

the System ......... 156 






A System tested by its Deyelopment^Diffeiences in the 
School, with Agreement in Leading Ideas — ^Agree- 
ments and Differences on the Theory of Knowledge 
— Relations of Religions and Theoretic Knowledge-— 
Meaning of ^' Yalne-Jndgments " — ^Agreements and 
Differences in Doctrine of Religion — ^Yiews on History, 
Theological Method, and Christian Apologetic — ^The 
'* Speculative " Method in Kaftan — Relation of the 
School to Miracle — ^to Christ's Resurrection — Agree- 
ments and Differences on Doctrine of the Kingdom 
of Ck)d — ^ViewB on Christolpgy — ^Herrmann, Schnltz, 
etc., on the " Godhead '* of Christ — ^Idea of Reyelation 
in Christ — Agreements and Differences on Doctrines 
of Sin and Salvation — Kaftan on Sin and Guilt — 
Forgiveness of Sins in Herrmann and Kaftan — Con- 
nection with Christ's Death — Haring on Atonement 
— The Christian Life — Divergencies on Mysticism — 
The Doctrine of the Essalted Christ— The Church— 
Eschatology — Troeltsch on Ritachlian ^ Subjectivism" 
— Relation of the School to Scripture. . . , 182 



Good Features in Ritschlianism — Relation to the Spirit of 
the Age — ^Nevertheless Inadmissible as a Substitute for 
the Older Evangelical Faith— Futility of its Claim 
to be uninfluenced by Philosophy and Science— Its 
Theory of Knowledge — ^''Metaphysic" and <* Theoretic 
Thought": Ambiguity of Terms — ^Impossibility of 
Pivorce of Religion and Theoretic Thought— Theory 



of " Value- Judging " — In what sense Religion in- 
volves " Value-Judging " — ^Nature of the ** Judgment 
of Value" — ^'^ Judgments of Value" and Scientific 
Judgments not Opposed — Bitschlian Subjectivism — 
Defects in Bitschlian Theoiy of Beligion and Revela- 
tion — The Problem of Revelation in Christ — "Natural 
Theology " — The Teleological Conception of Christi- 
anity — Defects in Ritschlian Idea of God — " Love " . 
the Abstraction of the Divine Purpose — Ritschlian 
View of the Divine Righteousness ; its Inadequacy — 
Love and Law — Intrinsic Rightness of Divine Methods 
and Ends — ^Defects in Idea of the Kingdom of God — 
Its Abstract Character — Relation to Idea of Church — 
Modem Place of this Conception — Ritschlianism and 
the Primitive Gospel — Place of Death and Resurrection 
of Christ iu the Latter — Doctrine of the Incarnation 
— Defects of Ritschlian Treatment — Evangelical View 
in accordance with the Facts — Doctrine of Recon- 
ciliation — Ritschlian Ignoring of " Propitiation " — 
Defects in Views of Sin and Redemption — Evangelical 
Doctrine of Atonement — Defects in Ritschlian View 
of Work of the Spirit and the New Life — Decline of 
Influence of the School — Evangelical Spirit under- 
lying Differences — Conclusion 231 



N.B. — ^The references in the teict are to the editions named in 

this list. 



Introdactoiy : Becent Origin and Importance of the mfarjiliiui 
MoYement — Xt& ImposiDg Claims — Caoaes of its Soocess — 
The Personality of Kitschl — ^Ability of his Diaciplefl — 
Adaptation to the Temper and Tendencies of the Age — 
Bitschl above all a Systematic Theologian — Plan of the 

Personal : Ritschl's Mental Development as throwing light on 
his Theology — Barly Tendencies — ^At Bonn : Nitzach — ^At 
Halle : Tholnck, J. Miiller— Hegelian Stage— Attaches 
himself to Banr— His Origin of the Old Catholic Chmreh 
— Break with Baar — Independent Theological Actirity — 
The Doctrine of Justification — Influence of Schleiermacher 
— Influence of Eant — Influence of Lotze — His Work on 
Jugtificaiion — Growing Influence at Gottingen — The 
Bitschlian '* School " — Pnncipal BepresentatiTea. 

IT is proposed in these pages to study a movement, 
the rapid rise, extensive spread, and dominant 
influence of which admittedly constitute it the 
most remarkable phenomenon in the recent history 
of religious thought. Scarcely a quarter of a 
century has elapsed since the publication of Albrecht 
Ritschl's monumental work on JugtificcUion and 
BecanciluUion (1870-74), and Ritschl himself only 
passed from the scene in 1889, yet already his 
disciples bold chairs in all the leading Universities 



in (xermanyy and the ideas, and still more the spirit, 
of his teaching are recognised as the reigning 
influences in Continental theology, and are rapidly 
penetrating theological thought in Britain and 
America as welL This alone renders it desirahle 
that the attempt should he made to furnish some 
more complete and satisfactory account of this move- 
ment than yet exists in English, and that, along 
with this, there should he the endeavour to come to 
some understanding with it as to its hearings on, 
and relations to, what is commonly known as the 
Evangelical Faith. 

It is not, however, the outward success only of the 
new theological movement which excites our curiosity 
to become better acquainted with it. The claims it 
makes for itself not less provoke inquiry and invite 
criticism. For Bitschlianism also professes to be an 
evangelical theology — ^nay, the only pure evangelical 
theology in existence. It is an axiom of the school 
that the Church has erred from well-nigh the 
beginning of its history in its apprehension of 
Christ's Gospel ; * that, misled by a false intellectual- 
ism, the result of its Hellenic environment,f it early 
committed the mistake of converting the simple 

 Even the Apostles^ Kitschl holds, lapsed from Christ's 
point of view in losing hold of the idea of the Kingdom of 
God, and giving their teaching an eschatological turn. — 
R, nnd V,, ii., pp. 295-7 ; iii., p. 270 (3rd Edit.). 

t On the influence of the Hellenic spirit on Christianity, 
and its effects, see especially the works of Harnack, Kaftan, 
Herrmann ; and in English, Hatch's Hibbert Lectures on The 
Influence of Greek Ideas, etc. On the other side, ct H. Bois, 
Ze Dogme €hrec* 


utterances of faith into metaphysical dogmas — thus 
stamping on them a character alien, to their true 
nature ; and this unhappy mixture of philosophy with 
theology has continued to be the distinguishing mark 
of theological systems since. Even the Keformers, it 
is contended, very imperfectly understood the bear- 
ings of their own principles, and failed to rescue 
Christianity from this bondage to alien modes of 
thought into which it had fallen*; while later 
Protestantism, so far from rectifying the evil, relapsed 
into the worst vices of the pre- Reformation period, 
and developed a scholasticism of its own. Now, how- 
ever, it is claimed, with the advent of Ritschl, a better 
era has dawned. The root of the error in which the 
Church has been so long entangled has been laid 
bare ; the true principle and genuine sequence of the 
thoughts in Christ's religion have been seized; the 
possibility of a theology adequate in form and content 
to the pure original Evangel has for the first time 
been created, f 

* Bitschlianism claims to be the true Lntheranism, but only 
in the spirit, not in the letter. "The ideas of the Refor- 
mation/' Bitschl boldly declares, " were more concealed than 
disclosed in the theological works of Luther and Melanchthon." 
— Brei akad. Beden, p. 18. Melanchthon nearly always 
appears in Bitschl's references as a sort of marplot of the 
Beformation. "In the Melanchthonian theology, the refor- 
matory ideas of Luther had no place." — Ibid,^ p. 18. And 
Melanchthon is the founder of the Lutheran orthodoxy. — 
R. und F, i., pp. 478, 603 (B. T., pp. 452, 572). Herrmann 
is careful to explain that it is Luther the Beformer, not Luther 
the scholastic, to whom he attaches himself. — Verkehr^ p. 131, 
2nd edit. (B. T., p. 127). 

t This hardly exaggerates the tone of BitschVs more enthusi* 


These claims, it will be allowed, are sufficiently 
startling — probably since the days of the Hegelian 
speculative " orthodoxy " no school has pitched its 
pretensions on quite so high a key — ^but it must also 
be owned that they are not put forward without a 
very considerable knowledge and ability being dis- 
played on their behalf. In estimating the causes of 
the success of the Eitschlian movement, a large space 
must always be assigned to the personality of Bitschl 
himself. The bitterest lopponents of Kitschl do not 
deny to him the credit of being a historian, exegete, 
and systematic theologian of the first rank.* We 
shall see afterwards how singular was his mental 
history — how, in a sense, he passed through, and 
incorporated in himself, all the important phases of 
thought in his generation. He was a man of 
strongly marked individuality, forceful and masterly 
in disposition, pronounced in his sympathies and 

astic disciples, especially in the earlier peiiod. The tone is 
since somewhat modified. Eattenbnsch in his Von Schleier, 
zu Mitgchl speaks only of Kitschl as inaugurating a new 
" phase " of the movement founded by Schleiermacher (p. 17). 
But all are emphatic in declaring that they have learned more 
fiom Kitschl than from any other living teacher. 

* Lemme, formerly a pupil, afterwards a critic, says : 
^' Bitschl was a historian of dogma of the first rank . . . There 
is scarcely an epoch of Church history on which new light has 
not been cast by his investigations. He was, further, a critic 
of rare acuteness, whose exhaustive treatment of theological 
notions has scarcely had its equal. In both relations Ritschl 
has given a powerful impetus to German theology." — Die 
Prinzipien, etc., p. 59. Frank, Bertrand, Schoen, Pfleiderer, 
Nippold, etc., bear similar testimony to Bitschl's historical and 
^xegetical, but specially to his systematic ^fts, 


antipathies^ exacting in his demands on the alle- 
giance of his followers,* yet capable, as his class-room 
showed, of impressing himself by the energy of his 
character and originality of his teaching on a multi- 
tude of talented minds.f His works, difficult and 
cumbrous as they are in style, irresistibly produce 
upon the reader the same impression of power, 
originality, and penetrative, if frequently arbitrary, 
judgment; while the system of thought unfolded in 
them is characterised by a certain massive unity — 
massive, often, rather than internally compact or clear 
— ^vast but vague, like mountains looming through 
mist, with clefts and gaps between, which the haze 
floating over them does not permit us always distinctly 
to perceive. The impulse thus comn\unicated has been 
diffused and perpetuated by a band of pupils and 
admirers — many of them men of brilliant parts, who, 
grateful for the benefit they have received, have thrown 
themselves with rare devotion, and no small measure 
of polemical zeal, into the task of working out, popular- 
ising, and defending the ideas of the new theology, and 
of justifying them by a critical study of the past. 
The ablest advocacy, however, would not have 

* Already at Bonn .he sought to develop, though as yet 
without the desired success, what he calls " a certain specific 
fidelity to myself." — Lehen^ i., p. 409. 

f Ritschl's son says of him, he was a man " of one mould " 
{ofM einem Onsse^, and lays stress on his concentration of 
purpose and strongly pronounced character, by which he 
" repelled many, while on others, to whom he was more closely 
knit by likeness of feeling and kinship of aim, he exercised 
all the more powerful an attraction.'* — Cf. the whole sketch, 
J^hen, i., pp. 1, 2. 




secured for Kitsehlianism the success it has attained, 
had it not been that there were elements in the system 
itself which enabled it to appeal in a direct and 
palpable fashion to deep-lying tendencies and needs 
of the age in which it had its birth. The more 
narrowly the new movement is scrutinised, the clearer 
it becomes that its peculiar attractiveness lies just 
in this, that in its distinctive watchwords it strikes 
chords which are already vibrating in the intellectual 
and spiritual atmosphere around us, — that, addressing 
itself to an age profoundly distrustful of reason in its 
metaphysical flights, enamoured of the methods of the 
positive sciences, yet craving a ground of religious 
certainty which neither philosophy nor science can 
give, it mirrors back to that age with unerring fideHty 
its own dissatisfactions and desires.* In Germany, 
the great speculative movement of the earlier part of 
the century had broken down, and the reaction in 
favour of a strict demarcation of the limits of reason 
found its expression in the cry "Back to Kant." 
The experimental sciences, in the flush of their 
triumphs, had held out hopes of a certainty in know- 
ledge, and assurances of progress, but these also 
had not been realised. Instead, a bold materialism, 

 Pfleiderer declares that the peculiar significance of the 
Ritschlian system lies in the fact that it is " the theological 
expression and mirror of the general consciousness of the time, 
according to its strong and legitimate, but also its weak and 
dangerous sides,"— Quoted in Nippold, Mnzelschule, ii., p. 1 ; 
cf. Schoen, pp. 7-9. The tendency to distrust reason, and to 
base religion on some non- or ultra-rational foundation, finds 
contemporary illustration in such works as Mr. Balfour^s 
Foundations of Belief , and Kidd's Social Evolution, 


pressing in like a flood, threatened the foundations of 
moral life ; a gaunt pessimism, raising its head amidst 
the wreck of old beliefs, mocked the dreams of 
advancement. The religious instinct, refusing to be 
stilled, yearned for a satisfaction in a region where 
reason could not intrude with its questionings, nor 
science enter with its doubts. The EitscUian teach- 
ing could not but powerfully appeal to all who, 
consciously or unconsciously, had come under these 
influences of the time-spirit. It fell in with the 
prevailing distaste for metaphysics by confining 
the theoretic domain to phenomena, and dissolving 
all connection between religion and philosophy; it 
accentuated the weariedness of scholastic dogma by 
declaring past theology a failure, and oflfering a new 
interpretation of Christianity which should be beyond 
challenge; it met the positive spirit of the age by 
professing to derive everything from historical Bevela- 
tion in Christ, and by cutting off all transcendental 
considerations ; it harmonised with the social tendency 
of the time in giving prominence to the practical and 
ethical ideal of the Kingdom of €rod ; it conciliated 
the ecclesiastical tendency by the stress it laid on the 
doctrine of the Church, and by its boast to be the true 
Lutheranism ; * it was anti-mystical, yet was capable 
of kindling an enthusiasm almost mystical in its 
fervour in the breasts of its disciples ;t it could 

* Kattenbnsch speaks of the " Plerophoric " with which 
Bitschl Tindieates the Lutheran character for himself. — > o» 
S, zu BitseM, p. 79. 

t J. Weiss says truly that the warmth of Herrmann recalls 
that of the best days of Pietism,— 2>ie Nachfolge Christi, p. 130. 


appeal to the philosophical and scientific interests 
themselves, for, as we shall see, it agreed with them 
in their striving after unity of view — after a " Welt- 
anschauung '* — and in its claim to furnish a solution 
of the " world-problem." * 

This last. remark leads to the notice of a point of 
considerable importance for the right understanding 
of the Ritschlian theology — at least of that of Eitschl 
himself. Those who imagine that because Kitschl is 
constantly tilting against the theology of the Church, 
he has any objection to theology as such, or disbelief 
in the possibility and need of a scientific treatment of 
Christian doctrines, make the profoundest of mistakes. 
Bitschl was in every nerve and fibre of his being a 
systematic theologian.t Christianity was to him no 
vague sentiment, to be shaped into any arbitrary 
moulds men's fancies pleased, but enclosed within 
itself a definite, coherent body of truth about God, 
the world, and the world-end ; J and theology, for the 

* Thus Bitschl: "The religious view of the world in 
Christianity is the means for the solution of the world-problem 
generally." — R. und F., iii. p. 268 ; of. pp, 190, 216, etc. 

f See below, p. 25. Eattenbusch says of him that " he was 
entirely a systematic theologian, even when he appeared as a 
historian" (in Nippold, i., p. 254: cf. ii., p. 1). So Mielke 
speaks of him as " the most important systematic theologian 
of the new time " (Introd. to his System A, RitschVs), 

{ A '* geschlossene Weltanschauung," as he phrases it (i2. und 
F., iii. p. 191). His biographer says that he laid great stress 
on the idea "that in scientific knowledge there should not 
only be a knowledge of each particular in its own kind, but 
that the parts should be apprehended in their connection with 
one another, and in the right relation of the whole to its parts 
and of the parts to their whole," and adds that "for this 


same reason, is no thing of " shreds and patches,^ bat 
has for its task to grasp, and scientifically to exhibit, 
this religions and moral view of the world invcdved in 
Christianity, and to show how and why it answers to 
the religious need. Its express function, as he defines 
it, is to present each element of Christian truth in its 
inseparable connection with the unity of the whole.* 
The reproach he casts on other theologians is that 
they are '* fragmentists," f and he specially blames 
his opponents that they attack his system in detail 
without having the capacity to grasp it as a whole.:}: 
He regarded it as his peculiar merit that he had suc- 
ceeded in exhibiting this *< total view " of Christianity,§ 
in its entirety, and in the correct relation of its parts, 
where others had failed. His disciples, it is to be 
granted, are not all of one mind with him on this 
matter. While in the main they may be said to adhere 
to the position that a theology is a necessity for the 
thought and life of the Church, and hold, with 
Kaftan, that the want of the age is not to get rid 
of dogma, but the evolution of *' a new dogma " || — 

reason he insisted so much that above all things Christiiuiit j 
should be represented as a self-contained and unified view 
of the world (jeine in sick gewhlostene einheitUche Welt- 
a ntchauti/ng') " {Lehen^ ii., p. 1 84). BitschFs mind was probably 
dominated more than any other in his generation by this 
idea of a ** whole " of truth in Christianity. 

* R, UTid F., iii., p. 15." 

t Lehen, ii., p. 183. 

t Ibid., p. 385. 

§ V Oesammtanschauung." — R, and V,, iii, p. 33. 

II This is the point of Kaftan's controversy with Dreyer, 
author of Undogniatisehes Ckristenthum. Of. his Brauehen 


still apparently to seek, — there is an important section 
of the school whose bias is distinctly anti-dogmatic, or 
for whom d(^ma — even if acknowledged to be in 
some sense a necessity — ^is simply the fluent and ever- 
varying expression of the Christian " hfe." * 

We are far from insensible to the many incidental 
merits of the Eitschlian theology, and cordially 
acknowledge the freshening influence it has had on 
all historical and doctrinal studies. In this influence, 
taken by itself, there is much to be grateful for. 
When, however, it is asked whether, for the sake of 
the good it contains, criticism of the defects and weak- 
nesses of the theology ought not to be foregone, we 
demur. There is a feeling in many minds that the 
faults of the Eitschlian theology lie mainly on the 
surface — relate chiefly to modes of conception and 
expression — and may readily be pardoned in view of 
the soundness of the system at its core. This, we are 
persuaded, is nearly an inversion of the actual state 
of the case. It is the first look of the system that 
is plausible; only when we get a little further down, 
and begin to apprehend it in its inwardness — ^to see 

wir ein neues Dognia? and article " Glaube und Dogmatik," in 
ZeitschHft fur Z und K., 1891. 

* This is the tendency specially in the French and Swiss 
sections of the school, represented by Babatier, Asti^, Dandiran, 
etc. Christianity is "life," and "dogma" is the ever- varying 
product of that " life." Herrmann, in his Verhehr, looks at 
least in this direction (pp. 6-10), while Hamack upholds the 
view that Christianity has a definite content which it is the 
business of dogma to unfold. Cf. the new paragraph against 
Sabatier in third edit, of his Dogmengeschichte (E. T., i., 
p. 22). 


the foundations on which it rests, the ideas which 
control it, the sense it puts on individual doctrines 
— do we hecome aware how impossible it is for the 
Church ever to accept it as a satisfactory interpre- 
tation of its faith. The balancing of merits and 
defects, however, belongs more appropriately to a 
later stage, when our survey of the system is com- 
pleted. Meanwhile we proceed to indicate briefly the 
general lines of the treatment we propose to foUow 
in the present volume. 

The order we shall pursue will be that which 
the subject itself naturally presents. It does not 
lie within the scope of our design to enter into 
biographical or personal details, but the connection 
of Hitschl's theology with the history of his mental 
development is so intimate that it is necessary that 
some account should be given of at least the chief 
stages in his career. For this ample materials are 
provided in the recent biography by his son,* and 
interestiug glimpses are occasionally furnished by 
Sitschl himself in his works. The remainder of the 
present chapter will accordingly be occupied with 
such a survey, and with a glance at the peraonnd of 
Kitschl'd *' School." Thereafter, in a second chapter, 
we shall seek to trace the historical genesis of the new 
theology by showing its relation to previous systems, 
especially those of Kant, Schleiermacher, and Lotze. 
A third chapter will treat of what may be called the 
presuppositions of the system — its theory of know- 

• Albreeht RiUchV* Lehen, by Otto Bitachl (2 vote.). With 
this may be compared Nippold's BinzehehuUf which reviews 
the facts from a less f avoarable standpmnt. 


ledge and theory of religion ; and a fourth of questions 
usually embraced under Prolegomena — the idea of 
Revelation, the place of Scripture, miracle, etc. The 
way will then be open for an exposition of the special 
Christian doctrines as these lie before us in the con- 
nection of the Ritschlian system. This will occupy the 
fifth and sixth chapters, while the later development 
of this theology in the circles of RitschFs disciples 
will form the subject of a seventh. We shall then 
be prepared, in a concluding chapter, to sum up upon 
the system as a whole, and to institute a comparison 
in cardinal points between Ritschlianism and the 
ordinary Evangelical Faith. In the course of our 
exposition we shall endeavour, by references and ex- 
tracts, to furnish the reader with abundant materials 
for forming a judgment on the system for himself. 

In accordance with the plan now sketched, we 
begin with a brief account of Kitschl himself. It 
was remarked above that, in the course of his 
development, Ritschl passed through nearly all the 
important phases of thought in his generation.* His 
mind, we shall discover, was of that receptive cast 
which took on a deep impression from every fresh 
influence to which it was subjected : at the same time 
the energy and independence of his personality were 
such as to prevent these from ever exercising more 
than a temporary influence over him, and to secure 
that the outcome of his thinking should always be in 

 In this he strikingly resembled Schleiermacher, who might 
likewise be described as an epitome and reflection of the 
tendencies of his age. 


harmony -with his individual bent. The range of bis 
acquisitions did not suppress his individuality, but only 
gave occasion for its more conspicuous display. This 
manysidedness of his training helps largely to explain 
how he was able to touch his age at so many points. 

Albrecht Eitschl was born at Breslau on March 21st, 
1822, and died as Professor of Theology at Gottingen 
on March 28th, 1889. His father, who soon after 
his son's birth was made Bishop and General Super- 
intendent of the Evangelical Church in Pomerania, 
was a man of estimable character, and strict sense of 
duty. His mother was a lady of a lively, energetic 
nature, quick and sharp in judgment and word * — 
qualities which Albrecht inherited. From her also 
he inherited his love of music. Even as a boy, his 
bent was towards theology — " not merely," as he says 
himself, '' from the child's natural desire to be what 
his father was, but from a speculative impulse to 
comprehend the highest truth." t This early-formed 
purpose in Bitschl's mind, and the speculative motive 
which led to it (" Drang " is his own stronger word), 
are deserving of careful note as illustrating, what we 
shall frequently have to observe, the organic character 
of his mental development. In 1839 he went to 
Bonn, studying there, among other professors, under 
Nitzsch, from whom he received at first a considerable 
impression. But it was Bitschl's fate never to be 
long satisfied with his teachers, and by 1841 we find 
him declaring Nitzsch ^^ exhausted," % ^i^d removing 

 " Scharf und schneU/'— X^J^wi, i., p. 18. 
t P. 18. 
% F. 51. 


to. Halle, where Tholuck and Julius MiiUer were at 
the height of their fame. From Tholuck especially 
he received great kindness, but it was not long before 
his interest in these teachers cooled also. Both, as 
systematic theologians, he pronounced ''confused''* 
— an indication of his own systematic bent — and 
Tholuck's handling of morals, he thought, ''lacked 
foundation." t His own mind at this time was pass- 
ing through a severe crisis — the result of the ferment 
between the old and new elements in his education — 
and we even find him, under pressure of this ex- 
perience, disposed for a time to give in his allegiance 
to the ultra-conservative Hengstenberg ! But new 
influences speedily wrought a change in his purposes. 
The Hegelian philosophy, powerfully represented by 
such teachers as Hinrichs, Schaller, and Erdmann, 
was still in the ascendant at Halle, and, with its tone 
of assurance, its imposing dialectics, and its universal 
sweep, which left nothing outside the grasp of the 
"Idea,'' could not but possess a fascination for a 
speculatively- disposed mind like Eitschl's. Even 
earlier we find traces of the attraction which this 
philosophy had for him. His first purchase at Bonn 
had been a copy of Hegel's Logic^t a^d at the same 
University he began privately the study of the great 
idealist's lectures on The History of Philosophy. Now 
the influence of Erdmann at Halle, and association 
with a group of youthful Hegelian enthusiasts, con- 
firmed the spell, and he passed definitely over to the 
Hegelian standpoint. 

 Lehen^ i,, p. 50. t P. 53. J P. 26. 


It is difficult, in the light of later events, to figure 
Bitschl to one's mind as a convinced Hegelian, and 
his biographer is probably right in the opinion that 
he never surrendered himself absolutely to the philo- 
sophy of the Idea. *' Even when living," he remarks, 
'' in the Hegelian world of notions, it was still only 
the form of his thought; his innermost convictions 
were not drawn into its service ; the ethical kernel of 
his way of contemplating the world was never sacri- 
ficed to intellectualism."* This also seems to have 
been Ritschl's own view, when, with a kind of amused 
self-pity, he looked back in after years on this intoxi- 
cation of his youth. '' The Absolute ! " he says in one 
place, t '^ how finely that sounds ! I remember dindy 
the impression which that word made on me in my 
youth, when the Hegelian terminology threatened to 
draw me into its vortex. It is a long time since 
then ! " Bitschl regarded his later break with the 
philosophy of Hegel as complete; but we may see 
reason to -question whether its effects on certain of 
his habits of thought were not more lasting than he 
supposed. Its immediate result was his attachment 
to the school of Baur, whose acquaintance, after six 
months spent under Rothe at Heidelberg, he first 
made at TlibiDgen in 1845, but with whose History 
of the Doctrine of Reconciliation he had been familiar 
since his student days at Bonn.}: The "Tubingen 
School," as it is called, was then at the summit of its 

• P. 49. 

t Theol. und Met^ p. 18. 

X Lehen, i., pp. 58, 59. HIb later criticwm of tbia work in 
R. und F., L, chap. 1., is very severe. 


influence,* and Kitschl was entirely captivated by it. 
He entered keenly into its critical studies — ^wrote, for 
example, on the relation of Luke's Gospel to that of 
Marcion (1841), and on the Synoptical problem 
(1851) ; but the chief fruit of his connection with it 
was his important — ^in some respects epoch-making — 
book on Th& Origin of the Old Catholic Church (1850). 
The old law of repulsion following attraction here 
also, however, soon asserted itself. Bitschrs mind, 
always independent in its actings, was already, when 
he wrote this book, veering away from Baur's posi- 
tions; growing estrangement followed, culminating 
in 1856 with open rupture ; finally, in a second and 
completely recast edition of his work in 1857, his 
relations with the Tubingen School were formally 
severed. This work on the Old Catholic Church is 
one of the best Bitschl ever wrote, and in its revised 
form, allowance being made for advance of knowledge 
on points of detail, retains its interest and value 
almost unimpaired till the present hour. It lays 
down the lines, indeed, for the study of the earliest age 
of Christianity which the best scholarship has followed 
since.f Only its main thesis can be indicated here. 
Rejecting the Tubingen hypothesis of a conflict 
between Paul and the original Apostles as the key to 

* Baxa^B Paulus was published in 1846. With Baarwere 
associated in this tendency Zeller, Schwegler, Eostlin, etc. 

f Harnack says regarding it that its principles *^ have found 
acceptance, if not with all, yet with the majority of indepen- 
dent critics" (Cont Review, Augnst 1886, p. 234). Nippold 
inisrepi*esents the biography on this point by quoting a sen- 
tence which relates to the .first editioD, as if it applied to the 
&^0OJid,-^Mnz^l9chuley i., p. 247 (cf, Zeben, i., pp. 292-3). 


the history of the early Church, it shows that Grentile 
Christianity was not, as Baor sappoeed, a product of 
Pauline influences exclusively, hut owed its character 
rather to a blunting of Pauline ideas, arising from 
the incapacity of the Gentile mind to enter into the 
Old Testament presuppositions of the latter, and into 
the peculiar experiences of the Apostle which gave 
birth to them. This failure to apprehend the thoughts 
of the Pauline Gospel, with its counterpart in the 
entrance of the conception of Christianity as ''a 
new law," was the fact which lay at the basis of 
the complex of hierarchical and sacerdotal institutions 
known as the Old Catholic Church, and, in union 
with the idea of the Logos, affords the key also to the 
form assumed by the Old Catholic theology. Ritschl 
does not as yet lay the stress he afterwards came 
to do on the Hellenic factor in the shaping of early 

The rupture with Baur may be regarded as marking 
the middle point in Ritschl's career. From 1846 he 
had been teaching as " Privat-dooent " at Bonn; in 
1852 he had been appointed Extraordinary Professor; 
now, in 1859, he became Ordinary Professor. From 
this period he strikes out with conscious aim, and in a 
thoroughly independent spirit, in the elaboration of 
his own theology. Hitherto his lectures had been 
chiefly devoted to New Testament Exegesis and 
Theology and to the History of Doctrine; now he 
definitely entered the Dogmatic field, never again 
to quit it. The tentative steps by which his final 
conclusions were reached are well mirrored in the 
successive sketches of a dogmatic system preserved by 



his biographer,* to the details of which frequent 
references will be made in the subsequent pages of 
this volume. The important point to observe in 
this connection is how from the beginning Ritschrs 
theological interest centred in the Pauline doctrines 
of Justification and Keconciliation. It is difficult at 
first sight to see why this should have been so, for 
while the doctrine of justification (as he understands 
it) has undoubtedly a place of great moment in his 
completed system, it is there already overshadowed 
by ideas of wider import, and in the theology of his 
followers disappears as a leading doctrine behind that 
of the Kingdom of God. Something may be due to 
the fact that in all the schools of the period when 
Bitschl began his studies, — the Kantian, that of 
Schleiermacher, the Hegelian, — ^great stress was laid 
on the Christian doctrine of reconciliation ; t but, 
however this may be, there is no doubt that Ritschl's 
thought early nucleated itself in this important 
doctrine, and that he made it the centre of all his 
later studies. :{: Already at Bonn we find him deeply 

* The first was in 1853, the second in 1856, the third in 
1861, and the fourth in I8664 Cf . Lehen^ U pp. 226, 278, 384 ft. ; 
ii., p. 21 ft Many characteristic notes of the later system 
aheady appear in these sketches. 

f The Kantian theologians, and specially Tieftrunk, ear- 
nestly occupied themselves with this problem ; Schleier- 
macher placed the essence of Christianity in the consciousness 
of redemption by Jesus Christ ; Hegelianism also had its third 
and highest moment in the phase of reconciliation. Cf . the 
relevant sections in R, and V., i. (E. T., pp. 387, 404, 418, 

t In the Preface to his chief work (vol. i., 1st edit., 1870), 
he practically subfiomes the whole of his life-work under this 


engaged in the study of its historical development,* 
and throughout his whole course he kept it in view 
as the goal of his theological investigations. ''It 
grew," we are told, " to be for him a chief problem of 
his whole work — whetherj namely, together with the 
common basis of ideas in the New Testament, this 
special doctrine of Paul could be vindicated as a 
universally valid expression for the general Christian 
view ; for on the solution of this question depended 
the other, whether the Keformation theology, which 
goes back on the Pauline doctrine of justification, 
could be upheld in its integrity." t Both questions 
Bitschl answered in the affirmative, and on this 
account held himself justified in directly connecting 
his theology with that of the Reformation.! 

particular stady. So on p. 1 he designates the doctrine of 
jostification "the real centre of the theological system." 

 JLeben, i., p. 55. 

t ii., pp. 172-3. 

J Bitschl is more *' Pauline " than many of his followers. 
Against those who advocate return to the " historical Christ/' 
and speak slightingly of the Apostolic doctrine, he affirms 
strongly that we must start with the latter as the expression 
of the primitive consciousness of the Church. "Theological 
terminology," he says, " leans directly on the Apostolic series 
of ideas,'* and "it would be a &lse purism if one were to 
prefer the less extended intimations of Jesus on this subject to 
the forms of the Apostolic representations. We are further 
justified in not levelling down the terms of the Pauline 
formation of thoughtsi which is the most detailed of all, but 
in maintaining them Intact in theological usage " (iZ. und F., 
iii., p. 3). Whether RitschVs doctrine is really the Pauline 
one, or has any genuine affinity to that of the Reformers, is 
of course a different matter, which will afterwatds have to be 


The new direction taken by Ritschrs studies after 
his break with Baur was immediately apparent in his 
choosing of the subject De Ira Dei for his inaugural 
address in 1859, and in the articles on Justification 
and the Work of Christ he now began to contribute 
to the theological magazines. In other directions 
also his horizon became sensibly widened. It will 
have been observed that while mention has been made 
of the effect produced on Ritschl by Nitzsch, Hegel, 
Baur, and others, nothing has as yet been said of two 
great influences that had much to do with the later 
shaping of his thought — ^those, viz., of Schleiermacher 
and Kant. The reason is that up to the point we have 
reached few traces of one or the other are discernible. 
Not, of course, that Bitschl was formally unacquainted 
with the works of either of these great teachers. " In 
my youth," he tells us, " it was a task imposed on 
every student of theology to work through Schleier- 
macher's GlaubeTislehre" but, he adds, " this under- 
taking yielded no result for my culture, for I had 
then no guidance in the study of the book."  Even 
up to the time of his residence in Halle, he does not 
seem to have carried out his purpose of making a 
study of this work, t In 1842 we find him trying to 
come to an understanding with Schleiermacher's 
doctrine of the Church + ; in 1853 we can trace a 

* On Sohleiermacher's Reden, p. 19. " After my experience,*' 
he says, " I should be very chary of inviting any young man 
to undertake the journey, perilous with rocks, through the 
Glaubenslehre or Reden^ unless I myself held the helm." 

t Leberit L, p. 46. 

I Pp. 66-7. 


manifest influence of Schleiermacher on his studies 
in Dogmatics*;' and in 1859 the preparation of a 
course on Ethics led him to a careful examination 
of Schleiermacher's ethical positions.t It was not, 
however, till ten years later (1869-70), after his 
removal to Gottingen, that the real grappling with 
Schleiermacher came in the preparation of the first 
^Historical) volume of his own great work ; and then 
we find at one moment his tone carping and de- 
preciatory, and his feelings towards his author 
amounting almost to disgust ;j: at another, he de- 
clares himself reproducing from Schleiermacher "a 
series of thoughts , . . in which I recognise the key 
for my whole theology." § The Reden ("Addresses 
on Religion") did not receive his special attention 
till 1874, when he made a private study of them with 
some of his students. || In his review of these he 
somewhat compensates for his previous ill-humour by 
the high place he assigns to Schleiermacher in the 
theological thought of the century, while confessing 

* Pp. 244-6. 


j ii., pp. 82-3. In letters to Diestel (October 1869 and 
January 1870) he doubts whether Schleiermacher represents 
any unconditional advance on previous theology, and specially 
on Kant) and attributes the pitiable state of existing theology 
to the Buperstitious regard for Schleiermacher fostered by 
those who ought to know better. So much in the GlauhenS' 
lehre disgusts him {anwidert) that only antipathy {Antipathie) 
holds him to his task. He thinks he has done a good work 
in reducing Schleiermacher to his proper level. 

§ P. 68, to Steitz (December 1869). 

II P. 244. _ 


that he is still alternately captivated and repelled by 
his procedure.* 

To the same period succeeding the break with Baur 
we must attribute the beginning of the remarkable 
ascendency ultimately obtained over the thoughts of 
Bitschl by Kant, Up to 1853, as we learn from the 
biography, no trace of such influence is perceptible ; 
but already in 1859, in the course of ethics alluded 
to above, Kitschl had arrived at the conviction that 
" for the first time Kant has laid the foundation of 
a philosophy of morals which is adequate to Chris- 
tianity." t It was, however, as in the case of 
Schleiermacher, in connection with the protracted 
historical studies preparatory to his work on Justi- 
fication, that the decisive impression was made. % 
Bitschl, indeed, was never a Kantian in the sense of 
accepting Kant's positions without discrimination or 
criticism, or a feeling of the need of supplementing 
them by his own theories of religion and of Chris- 
tianity ; but his mind was now fully awakened to the 
depth, range, and importance for his subject of the 

* On Schleieriiiiacher's Reden, p. 19. He is now of opinion 
that the preyailing theological incapacity stands in the closest 
connection with the undervaluing of Schleiermacher's theology, 
as if men had got beyond it 1 He does not, however, regard 
Schleiermacher as suitable for theological novices. For 
these, ** besides the Reformation works of Luther, only the 
study of Calvin's Institutes is to be recommended. But if it 
is desired to complete this stimulus on the material side by 
methodical guidance in theological thinking, we can only go 
to school with Schleiermacher and Thomas Aquinas " (p. 20). 

fZeben, i., p. 346. 

j ii., p. 81, 


Critical Philosophy, and it does him no injustice to 
say that his thought from this time moved on dis- 
tinctively Kantian lines. Kant's philosophy, in 
short, now furnished the framework within which 
his own theology was set. It is, as he expresses it, 
the task of theology to prove " the Christian thought 
of reconciliation by the thought of the moral Kingdom 
of God, in which Kant, in a purely philosophic way, 
recognises the final end of the world."* The first 
edition of the third (Dogmatic) volume of his work 
(1874), from which the above is quoted, shows this 
influence of Kant at its maximum; thereafter new 
forces enter — notably the influence of Lotze. 

Ritschl's friendship with Lotze had commenced 
with his removal to Gottingen in 1864, and Lotze's 
influence is already well marked in certain directions, 
even in the first edition of his work.t The Kantian 
period had, however, to be gone through before he 
was fully prepared to profit by the new association. 
Ritschrs thought was always in flux — ever growing, 
improving upon itself, perfecting itself, as he would 
say. He " had learned infinitely much in the carrying 
through of the dogmatic work," he declared, "and 
was still learning." % Accordingly, on the appearance 
of the second edition of his third volume, in 1883, and 
afterwards of the third edition in 1888, it was found 
that his views had undergone many advances and 

• R.y/nd F., p. 14 (Ist edit.). 

t See discossions and references in pp. 171, 199, 261, etc., 
on the origin of the idea of the world- whole, the personality 
of God, the idea of eternity, etc. ; and cf . Lelen, ii., p. 20, 

X Leben, ii., p, 150, 


changes, some of them noteworthy enough. A passage 
in the biography deserves notice in this connection. 
Writing to his son on the revision of the third volume^ 
in 1888, he avows that he finds no satisfaction or 
strengthening in the work as it lies before him. 
" Not every day," he says, " can I bring my mind to 
go on with it. And the reason of this disinclination 
I find in the fact that the matter confronts me as 
something strange. I am really surprised at much 
that I wrote twenty years ago, so little does my 
memory retain its hold of the parts of the system then 
constructed."* The principal changes on the first 
edition were connected with the increased importance 
he had come to attach to a theory of knowledge in 
the construction of a theology ; the modifications in 
his own theory under the influence of Lotze ; his new 
working out of the distinctions of religious and 
theoretic knowledge; his definition of the former as 
consisting in "judgments of value,'* etc. The most 
important of these changes were preluded in his small 
work on Theology and Meia/physics in 1881, in which, 
and -in the 1883 edition of his chief work, he formally 
avowed himself a Lotzean in his theory of knowledge.t 
This last change, as we shall see, was more in appear- 
ance than reality, for his theory has still more affinity 
to Kant's than to Lotze's; but Lotze's influence on 
his ideas was undoubtedly considerable, and may be 
held to mark the final stage in his development — so 
far as finality was ever reached. Kitschl's later 
labours in his elaborate History of Pietism (3 vols., 

* P. 510. * 

f TJieol, und Met,, pp. 32 ff.; cf, R, und F., iii., p. 20. 


1880-86) — the work of "a dogmatician in the garb 
of a historian/' as Loofs phrases it * — only indirectly 
interests us here. 

The later years of Ritschl's residence at Gottingen 
mark the culmination of his influence as a teacher. 
Previously, the attendance at his classes had not 
been encouraging, but now that the publication of 
his large work had established his reputation as an 
able and independent thinker, he speedily gathered 
round himself a group of attached disciples, eager and 
qualified to imbibe the new wisdom. His biographer 
testifies, in harmony with what has been said, that it 
was specially his systematic gift which gained for 
him his hold over them.f Now, accordingly, we begin 
to see forming itself what with propriety may be 
called a ^'schoor' of Kitschl, though the sense in 
which this term may be employed is still a good deal 
in debate. It is a singular circumstance that, not- 
withstanding the stress laid by Eitschl on the organic 
character of his theology, no one of his disciples has 
accepted his system in its entirety — most, indeed, 
have gone off on lines of their own, and seem anxious, 
rather than otherwise, to assert their relative inde- 
pendence, t Fart of the explanation, no doubt, is, 

* Quoted in Nippold, i., p. 254. 

f •• It was not," he says, " Ritschrs labours in Biblical 
theology by which he exercised an influence on a wider circle. 
Bather were his scholars won for his view of Christianity 
quite preponderatingly by his systematic theology." — Lehen^ 
ii., p. 260; cf., p. 184. Ritschl himself says : "Theological 
schools are ever formed through principles of systematic 
theology."— i2. und F., i., p. 621 (B. T., p. 493). 

X Kaftan, e.g.^ says it is not ciuite correct to speak of hi 


that discipleship to Eitschl, from the nature of the 
case, was always a thing of very varying degrees. 
There were those who had received in his class-room 
their first and strongest theological impulses, hut a 
still larger numher, probably, were brought into 
relation with him only through his books, or in 
personal friendship, and imbibed rather the spirit 
and central thoughts ef his teaching, than any de- 
terminate system. Some of the best known repre- 
sentatives of the " school " — Kaftan and Herrmann, 
for example — were not pupils of Ritschl at all. 
Others, again, who took his lectures, carried into 
their relations with him impulses already derived 
from previous ' teachers — e,g, Kattenbusch ;* ^ivhile 

a follower of Ritschl and representative of the Kitschlian 
theology, though he has learned much from Ritschl. — Das 
Weserty Preface. Herrmann speaks of those who are " called " 
disciples of Ritschl, and says, '^A Ritschlian 8ch9ol, as it 
exists in the warlike minds of its opponents, does not exist, 
so far as I know. Of the theologians whom it is customary to 
regard as specially belonging to that school, there is none who 
is ready to uphold Ritschl's theology at all points. But we have 
learned more from him than from any other theologian since 
Schleiermacher." — Verkehr^ p. 3 (2nd Edit). Kattenbusch 
thinks that injustice is done to Schultz in reckoning him with- 
out further ado as a " Ritschlian," and says : ** RitschVs tYieo- 
\og\(id\prinovple is infinitely richer than Ritschl's system*' — Von 
8. zu JR., pp. 70, 78. This, however, we may point out, was far 
from Ritschl's estimate of his own work, and reduces his influ- 
ence to what he himself speaks of so depreciatingly in the case 
of Schleiermacher, when he denies him the credit of having 
foimded a " school," and allows only — "Of the more systematic 
theologians of recent times, there is no one who is not indebted 
to him for essential help."— i2. und F.,L, p. 465 (E. T., p. 440). 
 See bis Von S, zu 7?., p. 72, 


some, as Lemme, Bertrand, and Nippold, who at one 
time were reckoned as disciples, afterwards withdrew, 
and became critics of the system. Bender, of Bonn, 
diverged into a subjectivism so pronounced as to lead 
the party generally to repudiate him. With all the 
differences that exist, however, there is, as we hope 
to show, sufficient community of ideas and aims in 
this circle of theologians to entitle us to speak of 
them as constituting a " school." * 

Of the theologians who may be thus classed it 
would be hopeless to attempt a complete list ; their 
standpoints vary so much, while many, as just seen, 
would not accept the designation '' Bitschlian " with- 
out qualification. Among prominent representatives 
of older standing are Herrmann, in Marburg ; Kaftan 
and Harnack, in Berlin ; Schultz and SchUrer in 
Gottingen ; Wendt, in Jena ; Lobstein, in Strassburg ; 
Thikbtter, pastor in Bremen ; Kattenbusch and Stade, 
in Giessen ; Bomemann, in Magdeburg ; Loofs, Kahler, 
and Heischle, in Halle; Haring and Gottschick, in 
Tiibingen; and of the younger men, Baldensperger, 
in Giessen; J. Weiss (Hitschl's son-in-law), in 
Marburg ; Troeltsch, in Heidelberg ; Sell, in Bonn ; 
Ziegler, pastor in Aalen, etc.t Such a list takes no 

• Kaftan says in Zeitschrift, 1896, p. 378 : " The Ritschllan 
school, as a definite nnity, which represents the same theology, 
exists only in the phantasy of its opponents. The differences 
among ns are very great." But he adds: "Nevertheless, 
in some essential points we all agree." — Cf. Pfleiderer, Die 
EiUeh. Theol., p. 77. 

t Notices of some of the above maybe seen in the Leben, ii., 
pp. 267, 297-8, 363, etc. We may perhaps discount the charges 
brought by Nippold (ii., pp. 82, ff.) and others a|;ain8t Bitschl 


account of the various departments with which these 
scholars occupy themselves, as Harnack and Loofs 
with Church History and History of Doctrine ; Schultz 
with Old Testament Theology, Wendt with New 
Testament Theology, etc. The literary organs of the 
party are the Theologische IdtercUu/rzeitungy a review 
conducted by Harnack and SchUrer ; * the Zeitsckn/t 
fur Theologie und Kirche, edited by Gottschick, with 
help from others of the party ; and an ably-conducted 
semi-popular weekly, Die christliche Wdt, edited by 
Hade, pastor in Frankfort. Powerful influences have 
been received from Eitschl in France and Switzerland, 
through such teachers as Sabatier, of Paris, and 
Asti6, of Lausanne ; in America the cause is repre- 
sented by Prof. McGiffert, of Union Seminary, New 
York, etc.t 

of having used unworthy means to " capture " the theological 
faculties for his disciples, though his zeal in the promotion of 
their candidatures is undeniable. Of. Lehen^ ii., pp. 303, 331, etc. 

* Now, for some years, by Schurer aione. 

•f Some interesting reminiscences of Ritschl are given by 
Bertrand in his Nouvelle Conception de la MSdentption, " He 
told me one day,** he says, " that three Frenchmen, St. Anselm, 
Bernard of Clairvaux, and Calvin, deserved, in his view, to 
be reckoned in the number of the greatest religious thinkers 
of all ages ; and we have ourselves seen him repeatedly in his 
study take delight in reading a homily of St. Bernartl, ' What 
a man that was 1 ' he said with warmth, in speaking of the 
famous adversary of Abelard. Calvin's Institutes of the Chris^ 
tia.7i Religion was his favourite book. ' There,* he said to us 
in a conversation we had with him, * there is the masterpiece 
. of Protestant theology ' '* (pp. 9, 10). This last remark agrees 
with words of Bitschl already cited. 



Relation of the Ritschlian Theology to the Past — The " Specu- 
lative ** Tendency in Bitschl — Dependence on Eant — 
Kant's Theoretic Agnosticism — His Practical Faith — The 
" Moral Proof "—The " Kingdom of God "—Doctrine of 
Freedom in its bearings on Guilt and Punishment — 
Modifications in Lotze — Being known only in Relations 
— Supremacy of the Good — "Forms" and "Values" — 
Religious Knowledge — Indebtedness of Ritschl to Schleier- 
macher — Religious Philosophy — Teleological View of 
Christianity — Reference to Redemption — Religion and 
Fellowship— Person and Work of Christ— De Wette, etc. 

The Ritschlian " Method "—Its Ambiguity— Its Real Nature 
— Ritschl's Agreement with Schleiermacher — Christian 
Facts studied as " Mirrored " on the subject — The 
Claim to. derive Theology from Historical Revelation — 
" Scientific " Method in Theology. 

THE preceding chapter will have made it evident 
that the Kitschlian theology is not without large 
indebtedness to the earlier theology and philosophy 
of the century. This, of course, is no reproach to 
it ; is rather, in some respects, a merit ; though the 
adherents of the school have not always been as 
forward as they might to acknowledge the magnitude 
of the debt. What may fairly be claimed for Kitschl 



is that the thoughts he appropriated from others he 
passed thoroughly through the alembic of his own 
mind; carried them out with greater logical con- 
sistency than his predecessors ; and, above all, wrought 
them into a new and original combination through 
union with ideas which were his own contribution — 
his theory of religion, for example, and the distinc- 
tion he makes between the spheres of religion and 
ethics, and their respective ends. On the other hand, 
it cannot justly be denied that his theory of know- 
ledge, his doctrine of God and His Kingdom, much 
of his Ohristology, his doctrine of the Church, with 
many other elements of his system, have their roots 
in previous speculation, or belong to the common 
heritage of the theological thought of the century. 
We shall seek in the present chapter to exhibit this 
genetic connection of the Eitschlian theology with 
the past, and shall conclude with a brief discussion of 
the peculiarities of the Eitschlian " Method." 

To the interesting question — Did Ritschrs Hegelian 
stage leave any trace of itself in his finished theology ? 
the correct answer would probably be — ^in a strict 
sense, "No"; in a wider respect, "Yes." Apart 
from the fact that but for Baur's investigations into 
early Christianity Hitschl's book on the Old Catholic 
Church could never have been written, there are not 
lacking evidences that some of the effects of his 
Hegelian training remained with him to the end. 
The speculative affinities which originally drew him 
to the school of Hegel were not destroyed, but 
strengthened, by the bracing they received in that 


stimulating atmosphere, and are, we think, stiH to be 
detected under the widely altered forms of his later 
thought. What distinguishes Hegel is the largeness 
and boldness of his conceptions, and the daring use 
he makes of the deductive method. Batschl also is 
dominated in an extraordinary d^ree by the idea of 
a '' whole " in things, and frequently amazes us by 
the freedom and boldness of his deductions, and 'the 
plunges he takes into what, to the ordinary eye, 
looks very like "metaphysics." We might refer in 
illustration to his transcendent deduction of the King- 
dom of Crod, and of the world of nature as a means 
to this, from the idea of the Divine love;* and to 
the high, speculative type of thinking displayed in his 
discussions on the Divine Personality,t the rations of 
eternity to time, et€.+ It was only in his latest stage 
that he abandoned the attempt at a '* theoretic" 
proof of God's existence, ontological in character, 
the germ of which goes back to his Hegelian days 

In tracing the particular obligations of the 
Eitschlian system, we naturally turn our attention 

* i?. und v., iii., pp. 260-70. The idea of love first makes 
it possible " to derive the world from God," pp. 262, 265. See 
below, p. 116. 

t P* 224. See the passage quoted below, p. 113. 

X pp. 223, 282-88. Assonances with Hegel here are marked. 
See below, p. 110. 

§ Cf . Zebeny i., p. 233, and ii., p. 23. The germ of this " sole 
scientific proof " lies in the necessity of assuming a common 
ground of thinking and being. • It reappears in the Dogmatic 
Sketch of 1866 ; has a place in a modified form in the first 
edition of Ritschrs chief work (ill., p. 192), and is retained 
partly even in the third edition (p. 213). 



first to Kant. If Kitschl came to the study of the 
Kantian philosophy with many of his theological 
convictions already well matured, he at least found 
in that philosophy an instrument which had a decisive 
effect upon their later shaping. Kant's aim, it is 
well known, was to restrict reason within its proper 
hounds by carefully marking off the bounds of 
possible knowledge. The conclusion reached by a 
searching examination of the faculties involved is 
that our knowledge is confined wholly to the phe- 
nomenal. We cannot know things " in themselves," 
but only as they appear to us under the forms of our 
sense and understanding. An idea of God, springing 
from the necessities of reason, we indeed have, but 
it is only regulative, and cannot claim theoretic 
value.* We have no means of proving that a Being 
corresponding to it exists. God is therefore theoreti- 
cally incognoscible. Kant on this side is the father of 
modern Agnosticism. But there is another side to 
his speculation, in which lies the true motive of his 
whole philosophy. If Kant sets strict bounds to the 
theoretic reason, it is only that he may the more 
exalt that certainty of God, and of a moral purpose 
in the world, which he thinks we can derive from 
the practical reason. From this new standpoint 
everything is given back which we thought we had 

* This part of Kant's system Ritschl does not take over. 
For him the idea of God is a purely " religious " notion, and 
arises in a totally different way— viz., as a " postulate " to 
secure the independence of our personality over against 
nature, etc. (of. 22. vM F., iii., pp. 197, 296 ; and below on 
theory of religion). 


parted with — God, freedom, immortality. The ends 
of absolute worth which we discover in ourselves 
become the key to unlock the riddle of the universe 
without, and compel us to postulate God as the bond 
of union between the natural and moral worlds, and 
to endow Him with all the attributes implied in moral 
government. We thus arrive at the conception of 
the world as a teleological system, divine in origin, 
and having for its end the realisation of a universal 
commonwealth of virtue, or '* Kingdom of God " in 
humanity. Only, as Kant is careful to remind us, 
this proof of God's existence is not '' theoretic," but 
solely '^ moral " ; it rests, not on demonstration, but 
on a '' postulate " of moral consciousness ; and it gives 
us no knowledge of God such as we have of objects of 
experience. The conceptions we work with in ex- 
perience do not attain to such a height. We can 
but represent the Divine to ourselves by human and 
imperfect symbols.* 

Meagre as is this sketch of Kant's positions, it 
suffices to show how largely his thoughts have been 
appropriated by Kitschl and the other theologians of 
the **Neo- Kantian" School. As a primary service, 
Kant furnished Eitschl with a theory of knowledge 
predsely suited to the requirements of his system. 
That our knowledge is only of phenomena ; that God 
is theoretically incognoscible ; that our, conviction of 

 See Kant on above, K, of P, Reason (Bohn's tranfl.)> 
pp. 487 ff.; Pract, Reason (Abbott's trans.), pp. 220 ff. ; K,of 
Judg. (Bernard's trans.), pp. 362 ff. " We can only think the 
Supreme Being, we cannot cognise Him, and ascribe anything 
theoreticaUy to Him."— JT. of J„ p. 889. 


/ f 



His existence rests on a practical, not on a theoretic ! 

judgment — ^these are thoughts which, we shall see, > 

are raised in Kitschlian circles almost to the rank of 
first principles. The Kantian " moral " proof for the 
existence of God Kitschl also accepts as the alone 
valid, even to the extent originally of claiming for it f 

a theoretic character which Kant denied to it ; * and 
with it he adopts the Kantian deduction of the King- 
dom of God, or association of men through laws of 
virtue,t and the idea of a final end of the world 
thence resulting.^ To these notions of Kant he 
attached the highest value, both for their own sakes 
and for then* importance to scientific theology.§ It 

* R, und K, ill., pp. 186-92 (1st edit.). He retracts this i 

view in his 3rd edition, therely involylDg himself in consider- ' 

able inconsistency. See below, p. 69. But even in the 3rd 
edition he claims that " the practical reason also is a branch 
of theoretic knowledge" (p. 211). 

t ** Chiist's design is the Kingdom of God, regarded, as 
Kant expresses it, as a fellowship of men regulated by laws of 
virtue."—^, vmd F., i., p. 492 (B. T., p. 466). 

I Vol. i., pp. 424 ff. (B. T., pp. 402 ff.) ; Ui., p. 11 (3rd edit.). 
Kant*s deduction of the idea of the Eingdom of God is two* 
fold, according as he starts from the idea of God and the 
moral end, as given by practical reason (the view of the 
Critiques} ; or as he starts from the need of moral fellowship 
in order to the victory of the good over the evil principle in 
humanity (the standpoint in his Religion within the Limits 
of Mere Reason), 

§ " This teleological interpretation of the system of the 
world, derived from valuation of fellowship in action ac- 
cording to moral law as the final aim of the world, stands," 
he says, "in direct analogy with the Christian view of the 
world." It is "Kant's weightiest thought for theology,** 
through which alone theology can obtain a scientific grounding 



is observable, however, that in his later handling, 
while adhering to the spirit of Kanf s moral proof, 
he gives the argument a turn of his own, by basing 
it upon the worth of personality, rather than on the 
unconditional law of duty. 

There is, however, another and not leas important 
respect in which Kant is regarded by Kitschl as having 
laid the foundation of a sound Christian theology — 
especially of a right appreciation of the Christian 
doctrines of Justification and Kecondliation.* This 
is in his doctrine of (transcendental) human freedom, 
with its important bearings on the ideas of guilt and 
punishment. ''The high importance," he says, ''of 
Kant's contribution to the right understanding of 
the Christian idea of reconciliation lies less in any 
positive contribution to the structure of doctrine than 
in the fact that he established critically — ^that is, with 
scientific strictness — ^those general presuppositions of 
the idea of reconciliation which lie in the conscious- 
ness of moral freedom and moral guilt." f Kant 
secured, as he thought, the idea of freedom through 
his peculiar distinction of the phenomenal and nou- 
menal. As part of the world of phenomenal ex* 

of its idea of God.— -R. und K, iii, pp. 13-16, 191 (lat edit.). 
Thus also in 3id edition : " A judgment of the moral destina* 
tion of men, which attaches itself to Kant's fundamental 
positions, seryes as the ground of knowledge for the validity 
of the Christian idea of God as solution of the problem of the 
world" (p. 216). 

* Of. Zebef^j ii., pi 81. 

^ R,wid v., i., p. 408 (B. T., p. 387). He speaks of it as 
** Kant's leading thought — viz., the specific distinction of the 
power of will from all power of nature ** (B* T., p. 444). 


perience, man, like every existence in that world, is 
cognised as under the laws of natural necessity ; but 
as belonging to the noumenal or real world — that 
which, theoretically incognoscible by us, lies behind 
phenomena — he acts according to laws prescribed by 
reason to itself, and so is possessed of freedom. This 
transcendental attribute of freedom, discovered to us 
in the moral consciousness, is the ground on wliich 
we impute our acts to ourselves, and adjudge oiu*- 
selves guilty, and deserving of punishment. This ' 

connection of ideas Bitschl appropriates, and sees in 
them *' a canon that cannot be superseded for the 
right estimation of the fundamental idea of Christi- 
anity/'* At this stage Kitschl seems much in earnest 
with the ideas of " guilt " and " punishment," which 
afterwards he does not a little to weaken. He 
emphasises the " objective " character of guilt,t and 
praises Kant for upholding the view, as against the 

* " Kant's system," he says, " has this importance, that it 
secures that a man shall pass upon himself the very same 
moral judgment as is presupposed in the normal estimate of 
self by Christianity in its Protestant form. . . . The sharply- 
marked and continuous consciousness of guilt, without which 
the whole Christian idea of reconciliation is unintelligible, 
becomes methodically possible only when we judge ourselves 
after the idea of transcendental freedom " (E. T., pp. 389, 394). 
It is doubtful how far Ritschl's later views accord with these. 
See below, Chap. VI. 

t " Moreover, guilt, as an objective thing, hanging over us, 
can be comprehended only because, and in so far as, j}he 
subjective consciousness of guilt can be generated by the idea 
of freedom . . . the objective place claimed by guilt in the 
course of the life of the individual, as well as in the union of 
men to one another, is proved in a way to which the orthodox 
notion does not attain."— -Vol. i., p. 416 (B. T., pp. 394-5). 



Illuminist theologians, that the essence of punishment 
lies in its retributive character — ^not in its reformatory 
tendency. "The essence of punishment is requitaL 
From the idea of our practical reason, which sets the 
transgression of moral law in the light of guilt, it 
follows also that transgression deserves punishment/'* 
Many hints are gleaned likewise from Kant's treat- 
ment of the ideas of the Christian religion in his 
Religion within the Limits of Mere Recuon. Particu- 
larly his " recognition of radical moral evil " in men 
is spoken of as "making an epoch in opposition to 
the Illumination." f At the same time the defects 
of Kant's moralising method of treating Christian 
doctrines as merely symbols of the necessary truths 
of practical reason are ably pointed out. 

Before we pass to Schleiermacher, whose signifi- 
cance for Ritschlianism lies more in the directly reli- 
gious sphere, it will be convenient to consider how these 

* Vol. i, p. 417 (E. T., p. 396). Kant is quoted—" Though he 
who punishes may at the same time have the gracious purpose 
of directing the punishment to this (reformatory) end also, 
yet the infliction must first he justified hy itself as punish- 
ment, -Le. as pure eril. In every punishment as such there 
must first be justice, and this eojutitutes what it essential to 
the notion" Later on Ritschl says — " Herein Kant's oppo- 
sition to the Illuminist treatment of the idea of punishment 
holds firm ground ; and in itself the thought brought before 
us is one of indubitable truth."— P. 434 (B. T., p. 411). As 
above observed, it is difficult to reconcile these positions of 
the first volume with Ritschl's later dogmatic positions, and 
specially with his rejection of the idea of "retribution," 
which he came to regard as a " Hellenic " notion. See 
Chap. Vr. 
t Vol. i., p. 426 (B. T., p. 405). 


thoughts of Kant were carried out and modified by 
Lotze, to whose standpoint Ritschl latterly, as we 
saw, explicitly attached himself. In general, it may be 
said that Lotze allows more to theoretic thought than 
Kant, and has an ontology which Kant would repudi- 
ate ; but he is at one with Kant in the vital point 
that our empirical knowledge is confined within the 
bounds of the phenomenal. He asserts " the unavoid- 
able and thorough -going subjectivity of our cogni- 
tion." * Space and time are with him, as with Kant, i 
only forms of our subjective cognition, and are not 
applicable to real existence.t Only, unlike Kant, he 
thinks it possible to reach by inference certain con- 
clusions as to the ultimate nature of things, which, if 
they exist at all (and on this his mind wavers, with 
a leaning to subjective idealism j:), must, he holds, be 
conceived of as soul-like beings, or ** monads " of the 
Leibnitzian type.§ If Bitschrs own word could be 
taken for it, it is Lotze's theory of cognition which he 
accepts in preference to Kant's, || This, however, as 
most of his critics point out, and his biographer also 

* Outlines of Met,, p. 143 (B. T.). 

t Pp. 89, 131. " The world of space and time is, therefore, 
* phenomenon ' ; the ' real Being,' which answers to it and pro- 
duces it within us, is dissimilar to it." Cf. Microcoimus, ii., 
pp. 603, 611 CE. T.). The hyper-subtle discussion of time in 
the Metaphysics leaves this essential point untouched. ** Time 
is without doubt merely a creation of our presentative intel- 
lect" — "only a subjective form of representation." — JWi?^., i., 
pp. 350, 354 (E. T.). 

X Outlines, p. 141. 

§ Cf. Mwroeosmus, ii., p. 642 ff. (E. T.). 

II -ft. und F., p. 20 ; Tfieol. und Met., pp. 19, 32 ff. 


admits, is only true within limits, and despite a change 
of phrase — " We know the thing in the phenomena " 
instead of Kant's assertion of the unknowahleness 
of the " thing in itself " — ^he is really mnch nearer to 
Kant than to Lotze in his epistemological view, t For 
the '' phenomena " in which the thing is presumed to 
be known, are only, as before, subjective appearances, 
and the " real thing," which is the " cause '' of the 
phenomena — if anything more than a mental figment f 
— ^remains in its own nature as unknowable as ever. 
To say, as Kant does, that the '' real thing '' is un- 
knowable in itself, and with !Ritschl that it is known 
only in the phenomenon {t.e., its subjective effect) are 
two expressions for the same thing. On the other 
hand, when we come to consider this theory of know- 
ledge more particularly, it will be seen that there is 
one side of Lotze's teaching to which Kitschl is 
undeniably faithful. When, e,g,^ Kitschl formally 
defines the 'Hhing'^ as 'Hhe cause of its marks 
(qualities) which act upon us, as the end which these 
serve as means, and as the law of their constant 

* Stahlin, Pfleiderer, Schoen, Favre, Pfenningsdorf, Traub, 
etc., all agree in this; see also Lehen, ii., p. 391. His bio< 
grapher accounts for the nncleamess and contradictoriness of 
the pamphlet Theol, und Met, by saying that it was not 
grounded on the same thorough study of its subject as most 
of Bitschrs other works. 

f This is suggested by Bitschl's account of the genesis of the 
idea of the *' thing " as a mere *^ memory-image ** deposited as 
the result of repeated impressions, i.«., as a work of subjective 
imagination. Here we seem landed in idealism ; and in this 
sense, apparently, Traub, a disciple, interprets Ritschl, with 
approval of his biographer.— ^i^^cArtj^, 1894, p. 102 ; Lehen^ 
ii„ p. 391. See below, p. 62, 


changes,'' * and, again, hints at a subjective origin of 
the notion of the ** thing " — ^he is evidently following 
Lotze's lines. For the latter also tends to resolve 
" things " into their " relations " to our knowledge and 
sensibility, seeks their reality in the law of their 
changes, and gives a subjective explanation of the 
idea of 8ub6tance.t Only, in his case, this is completed 
by an ontological view which Eitschl ignores. 

The last and chief word in Lotze's system, however, 
is not found, any more than in Kant's, in his meta- 
physics. "The true beginning of metaphysic," he 
declares, " is not to be sought in this, but in ethics . . . 
I seek in that which shoiUd be the ground of that 
which iff." t With Kant, accordingly, he is in agree- 
ment in placing above knowledge the idea of the Good 
— supremely the ethical Good — and in seeking tjie 
ultimate principle of the explanation of the world in 
a " Highest-Good Personal," which he identifies with 
" Living Love." From this highest point of view, the 
world, in the whole compass of its relations, i& regarded 
as originating from, and dependent on, a principle of 

• R. and K, iii., p. 20. 

t Cf. Met., i., pp. 88-99 (E. T.), and on substance, pp. 100 ff. 
In general, Lotze reverses the position implied in Kant 
that the knowledge of the ** thing in itself," if we had it, would 
be a higher knowledge than that which we possess. He 
prefers to conceive of the things as a means to produce in us 
the representations which we have. The higher knowledge 
" would consist rather in tracing the meaning, bond, and laws 
of these phenomena than in pursuing auKiously, beyond ihe 
power of thought, the means by which the latter are produced 
in us." — Logikj p. 491 (E. T., p. 431). It is, no doubt, this 
thought which specially seized on the mind of Bitschl. 

t Met., ii., p. 319 (E. T.). 


CreatiYe Love, and as tending to a blessed end.* Of 
stm greater importance in its bearings on Ritschlian- 
ism is Lotze's recognition of a faculty in man of 
" judging according to worth " as something higher 
than the " theoretic " faculty, with the corresponding 
distinction of a " world of forms " and a " world of 
values" — ^the former existing for the sake of the 
latter, though this connection, again, cannot be 
theoretically proved, but is a faith of the spirit, 
arising from its confidence in the unconditioned worth 
of its own ideals.t With this goes, in his Philosophy 
of ReUgion, the constant emphasising of what belongs 
to a " religious," as distinct from *' a merely intellec- 
tual " view of the world — this and that representation 
being constantly set aside as not demanded by '' the 
religious need," having no significance to "religious 
feeling," or of no service to "religious interests," 
while religion is regarded as having *' meanings " and 
" modes of expression " peculiar to itself .J We cannot 
fail to see in these indications the source of the 
Bitschlian theory of "judgments of value," as this 
appears in the third edition of the work on J%b8ti' 

We saw in our last chapter that Bitscbrs feelings 
towards >Schleiermacher exhibited throughout a singu- 
lar mixture of attraction and repulsion. The thing 

* Mieroeomhus, ii.,pp. 722-6 (E. T.) ; Out. of Met. ^ pp. 161-7 
(B. T.) ; Out. qfPhU. of Bel, p. 127 (E. T.). 

t Micr.j 1., pp. 244, 396, 400 (B. T.) ; Out. of Met., p. IBl 
(E. T.). 

t Cf. Out. of PhU. of Religion, pp. 43, 46-9, 62, 100, 134 , 
137, etc. (E. T.). 

§ Hi., pp. 193 fP. 


which chiefly repelled Eitschl in Schleiermacher was 
the element of " mysticism " in his theology, derived 
from his Moravian training ; that which attracted him 
was, above all, his teleological view of Christianity, 
and the place given to the idea of " fellowship " in 
religion.* He held that Schleiermacher had not 
followed out consistently these ground -thoughts of 
his system, and claimed that he himself had given 
them the necessary extension. Schleiermacher's in- 
fluence on Ritschl, nevertheless, was by no means a 
slight one.t 

In general, Ritschl declares of Schleiermacher that 
*' he is the only one since the Reformation who has 
employed the scientific method of proof in theology " :{: ; 
and further states, " He is, in respect of method, my 
predecessor ; I have learned my method partly from 
him, and partly from Schneckenburger." § This 
dependence on Schleiermacher in respect of method 
will be considered below; meanwhile we look at 
obligations directly theological. Kitschl justly finds 
the vitiating element in Schleiermacher's theology in 

* R. vnd F., i., p. 469 (E. T., p. 443) ; iii., pp. 9, 12. 

f On Ritschrs indebtedness to Schleiermacher, of. Lehen, i., 
pp. 244 ff. ; and Kattenbusch, Von S, zu It,, pp. 72 flE. ; 
Schoen, passim, Kattenbusch says — " Schleiermacher's im- 
portance for theology lies first in the fact that he has taught 
us the art of systematic thinking " (p. 11 ; of. p. 71). 

J Bitschl on S/s Reden^ p. 18. 

§ Theol, und Met,^ p. 54. It illustrates the curious vacil- 
lation of Ritschrs mind towards Schleiermacher, that we find 
him saying at another time, ** I have never had sympathy with 
Rchleiermacher's theological method" (To Djestel in 1869), — 
L§hen^ ii., p, 8^, 


his defective idea of God — ^a vague Absolute, revealed 
odIj in feeling * ; nevertheless he recognises the 
exceptional merits of his general religious philosophy, 
and derives many suggestions from it.t Schleier- 
macher specially appeals to him by his view of 
religion as the sense of '^ the whole " in things ; by 
his contention that '' the representation of the world 
as a whole has its origin in religion, and its guarantee 
in the idea of God " ; + by his polemic against so- 
called '' natural religion," and his view of religions as 
definite historical magnitudes, each with a strongly- 
marked, individual physiognomy, having its origin in 
a definite historical fact, and sustaining itself through 
a '' fellowship,'' § — this last idea, in Ritschrs judgment, 
being one of the most important of Schleiermacher's 
contributions, " whereby he has given a new aspect, 
primarily to ethics, and secondarily to theology, and 
has risen above the field of vision alike of the 
Wolffian and Kantian schools." || If Schleiermacher 
places the essence of religion in " feeling," Kitschl, 
with a kindred leaning to subjectivity, places it in 
" value-judgments." IT He accepts also Schleiermacher's 
view of " dependence " as the ultimate expression of 
the religious relation, though he could not admit the 

• R, und F., 1., pp. 480, 512, 523 (E. T., pp. 445, 485, 495) ; 
ui., p. 9. 

t See on S.'s Beden, pp. 18, 34, etc 

t Ibid., p. 22. 

§ Pp. 4-7, 10. 

II B, und F., 1., p. 469 (E. T., p. 443) ; cf. ill., p 9 ; Lehen, 
ii., p. 82. This thought of «* feUowship " is a cardinal one 
with Ritschl : cf. iii., pp. 27, 28. 

^ TheoL und Met,, p. 54 ; iZ, und F„ iii„ pp. 22, 195 



immediate ocmadausnesB " of this dependence postu- 
lated by Schlaermacher (in which he discerned a 
"mystical'' trace), and sought to derive the idea 
of dependence in another way.* Bis statements 
on this subject, however, are continuously modified 
in his socoessive editions in the interest of other 


When we enter the specifically Christian domain, 
the obligations of the Ritschlian theology to Schleier- 
macher are still more apparent. The special services 
which Ritschl attributes to Schleiermacher here are 
such as these. For the first time, he thinks, Schleier- 
macher applies the philosophy of religion '' to the de- 
fining of Christianity sa a positive historical religion,*^ i 
and in relation to the g^ieral history of religion grasps 
it under the teleological idea ; § he is again the first to 
apply to it, as defining its end, the idea of the Eong- 
dom of God ; further, he places its essence in the idea 

* On 8.'8 Eeden, pp. 34-5. 

t In the firtt edition the point of view is that " religion is 
in all its kinds and stages alike a recognition of .the dependence 
of man on God," and " GhristLanity is the religion which gi^es 
this idea the greatest extension.** — B, und V,, ill., pp. 16, 18. 
In the second edition the term ** dependence *' has. mostly 
disappeared ; but there remains the acknowledgment that 
''dependence on God is the general form of the religious 
relation," and that " dogmatics grasps all the conditions of 
Christianity under the scheme of dependence on God" (iii., 
pp. 13-14). But in the third edition, in the first of these 
passages, the words are inserted, "according to Schleier- 
macher " ; and in the second passage, instead of the words, 
" under the scheme of dependence on God," we have, *^ under 
the scheme of an activity of God ** (iii., pp. 13-14). 

XR.v/nd F., p. 476 (E. T., p. 450). 

§ Pp. 474, 479 (E. T., pp. 448, 453) ; iii., pp. 9, 12. 


of redemption through Christ, and combines with this 
"the fruitful truth that this religion, like all re- 
ligions, and like all actiyities of the spirit, can be 
rightly set forth only in that fellowship which, pre- 
supposing the redeeming activity of its Founder, 
exists as the communication and diffusion of that 
redeeming activity." * He lays stress on Schleier- 
macher's recognition of "the never-ending value of 
the Kedeemer for the society founded by Him," t and 
on the fact that " redemption, the Kedeemer, and the 
community that is the subject of redemption, stand 
in inseparable relation to one another." + Jesus, 
Schleiermacher shows, stands in a different relation 
to His religion from that which other founders of 
religions, such as Moses and Mahomet, sustain to 
theirs. He is " the founder of a society only in 
virtue of the fact that the members of that society 
become conscious through Him of their redemption." § 
He is the sinless archetype of humanity; and it is 
mentioned in the biography, as a special debt which 
Eitschl owed to Schleiermacher, that he was led by 
him to the employment of the idea of " vocation " for 
the interpretation of the work of Christ. || Many 
other thoughts might be pointed out in which Schleier- 
macher is the precursor of Bitschl — the idea, e.^., of a 
representation of believers before God by Christ,^ 

* P. 476 (B. T., p. 457) ; iii, p. 9. 
t P. 474 (E. T., p. 449). 
% P. 477 (E. T., p. 451). 
§ P. 474. 

II Leheny i., p. 245. 
^B.widV., pp. 506-8 (E. T., pp. 480-2). 


and that of the propagation of Christ's infiuenoe by 
the preservation of His image in the Church.* 
Eitschl, on the other hand, charges it on Schleier- 
macher, as akeady observed, that he does not con- 
sistently carry out the teleological idea contained in 
his definition of Christianity, and traces this to his 
treatment being crossed by the "abstract Mono- 
theism " of his idea of God." t 

Only to refer briefly to other forces contributing 
to the formation of the Eitschlian theology, one is 
tempted to find a strain of influence from the 
sBsthetio-religious theory of De Wette, with its broad 
distinction between the natural world, ruled by 
mechanical causation, and the world of spiritual 
freedom, in which religious emotion clothes itself in 
the language of poetry and symbol, t The resem- 
blances are • certainly striking between De Wette's 
affirmations on Christ, on Kevelation, and on Chris- 
tianity as the religion of the Kingdom of God, and 
the views advocated by Eitschl. " Jesus is man in 
the eyes of reason ; He is God from the point of view 
of the aesthetic ideal.'' His divinity has the value 
of " a beautiful aesthetic-religious symbol." § This is 
a near approach to Bitschl'S conception of Christ 
as possessing for believers the "religious value" of 

 P. 493 (E. T., p. 467). 

t iii., p. 9. 

X Cf. O. Ritschl, Ueher WerthuHheUe, p. 8. De Wette 
already spoke of " value-judging.'* A link between De Wette 
and Bitschl was probably Herbart, who brought religion 
under the category of '* aesthetic jadgmentff«" — IHd.^ pp. 6, 9. 

§ Ct Schoen) pp 77-8, 82* 


God.* Another writer to whom Kitschl attributes 
special importance in the development of the doctrine 
of the Kingdom of God is Theremin.t KAttenbusch, 
further, says, " it is not to be mistaken that Eitschl 
has learned much from Hofmann," who taught him 
to conceive of Revelation under the form of historical 
works of God to men, and holds that Bothe, to whom 
also the '' Kingdom of God " was a cardinal notion, 
was not without influence upon him.;]; We need 
only refer finally to Diestel, his colleague at Bonn 
from 1851, to whom Eitschl owns his special obliga- 
tions for the clarifying of his views on the Old Testa- 
ment doctrine of the Divine "righteousness" — an 
attribute which Diestel subordinates throughout to 
the notion of " grace," § 

Some consideration may fitly be given at this point 
to Eitschl's " Method " — a subject to which references 
are frequently made in books on the Bitschlian 
theology, without the reader, it is feared, thereby 
attaining much "light and leading." The statements 
r^arding it lack sadly in precision and consistency. 
We have heard Ritschl himself declaring that he 
learned his method in part from Schleiermacher. 

* Cf. R,undV„ iii., pp. 370, 378. 

t Ibid.y p. 12. 

\ Von 8, zu Mitschlf p. 74. 

§ Zehefif !., p. 220, " In details you must not credit me 
with the thoughts upon the O. T. I owe the best of them to 
Diestel/' Schldermacher also had already declared that ** the 
displeasure and wrath of God are things which do not exist*** 
— I)er okritt. GUmbey sect 109» 4* 

II Theol% wnd Met^^ p. 64. 


Kattenbuschy on the other hand, makes Ritschl's im- 
portance to consist specially in the fact *' that laore 
perfectly and happily than any other he has really 
broken vfith. Schleiermacher's method."* This is the 
more confusing that, as we shall immediately see, it is 
in the very point in which Kattenbusch declares that 
Bitschl J has broken with Schleiermacher, that the 
latter avers his adherence to him — ^viz., in his exhi- 
bition of the religious relations " in the frame of the 
subjective life." t What, then, is RitschFs method ? 
Is it his procedure according to a determiuate " theory 
of knowledge " ? J This might seem borne out by his 
avowal that " each theologian is under necessity or 
obligation as a scientific man to proceed according to a 
definite theory of knowledge, of which he must be con- 
scious and the legitimacy of which he must prove." § 
Is it the resultant complete separation of theology 
from philosophy, and, generally, from theoretic know- 
ledge ? This also might be maintained. Or is it, on 
the positive side, the acceptance of the principle that 
"the Revelation- value of Christ is the ground of 
knowledge for all the problems of theology " ? || Does 
it, that is, consist in deriving everything in theology 
from the pure source of Revelation in the Person 
of the historical Christ? This is the view of the 

* Von 8, %% MUschlf p. 70. 

t TJieoh und Met., p. 54. 

J Thus Bertrand, Uhe nouvelle Conceptiorit etc., pp 25 fE. 
In this sense also we read that in his third edition (of vol 
iii.) " the questions of method were investigated at length.** — 
Lehen^ ii., p. 410. 

§ TKeol* und Met.j p. 60 ; of. M, und K., iii., pp. 16, 18. 

^B, und V,, iii., p. 6. 


method taken by Kattenbusch and others ; * and, if 
we include the writings of the New Testament Scrip- 
tares as witnesses to Christ's Kevelation, it also has 
support in Eitschl's statement that " the idea of the 
Christian religion is reached through the orderly 
reproduction of the series of the thoughts of Christ 
and His Apostles/' t Or does the method consist, 
finaUy, as the biographer represents, in laying it down 
as a necessary condition of the production of the 
Christian view {WeltaThschauuTig) 'Hhat the theo- 
logian has to reckon himself as a member of the 
Christian community ?" t This, again, certainly, is 
an idea on which Bitschl lays the greatest stress, 
though whether it is entitled to be exalted to the rank 
of his " method " is another question. We shall pro- 
bably best reach EitschPs mind by not treating any 
of these ways of stating his method as exclusive. 
The highest principle of the Eitschlian theology, we 
might say, is, to take all in one view, the sole Revela- 
tion-value of Christ, in contrast with all commingling 
of Christian faith with philosophy or nature-know- 
ledge, and under the condition that the theologian 
has his standing within the Christian community as 
one who shares its faith and experience. § Yet the 
biographer is right in regarding this last peculiarity 

* Von S, zu RiUohlf p. 76 : of. Reischle's article in 
ZeiUchHft, 1897, p. 173. 

t R* und F., ill., p. 8. 

% Lehen, ii., p. 84. On Bitschl's " discovery '* of this Idea 
and its bearings in 1868, see his Letter to JHestelf ii. , p. 48. 

§ Pfleiderer has yet another view of the Ritschlian method. 
" That perplexing swaying and capricious skipping," he says, 
''between an idealistic and realistic mode of consideration 



of the Ritschlian method as the one which, in some 
sense, gives its character to the whole. Through it^ 
as we are now to discover, what looks like an objective 
procedure is translated back in its entirety into the 
terms of the subjective. This recalls us to the ques- 
tion of the relation of Eitschl's method to that of 
Schleiermacher and his followers. 

Kattenbusch would make the contrast in these two 
methods to consist in this, that Bitschl starts from 
the objective Revelation in Christ — " Christ as Person 
is for Eitschl all in all," * — while Schleiermacher and 
his school start from "the pious consciousness," or 
something subjective ; and at first sight the distinction 
seems justified. Bitschl does exalt the Person of 
Christ and His historical work as the sole source of 
our knowledge of God; and there is as little doubt 
that Schleiermacher resolves theology into a descrip- 
tion of the states of the " pious consciousness " — that 
consciousness, however, being produced by the action 
on the soul of the historical Eedeemer, and referring 
everything in the experience of redemption back to 

in which qnite peculiarly the whole secret of the Ritschlian 
* method ' consists." — Die Mitsch, Theologie, p. 6. 

• Pp. 74-7. " The point of Ritschl's system," he says, »*is 
to be recognised in the fact that he does not start from ' the 
pious consciousness/ but from the Gospel. Dogmatics is not 
for him a picturing or interpretation of a factual condition 
of piety within the Christian community, but the indication, 
and to the utmost possible degree the unfolding, of the norm 
of all piety in the Christian Church. ... If Bitschl makes 
Bevelation, the Gospel, the Holy Scripture as such, the starting- 
point for dogmatics, nevertheless everything in it is for him 
invariably comprehended in a unity in the ^ historical Person 
of Christ.' " So Beischle, in article above referred to. 


Him. On closer inspection, however, this apparent 
distinction vanishes, or at least is reduced to a mini- 
mum.* For, on the one hand, as Bitschl himself 
points out, the experiences which Schleiermacher, in 
terms borrowed from his Moravianism, describes as a 
real spiritual communion between God and the be- 
liever, are, just as with Ritschl, nothing more than 
" the effects which extend from Christ to the believer 
in the Church " ; t and, on the other hand, Ritschl too, 
in the outcome, derives his theology, not immediately 
from the Person of the Redeemer as an objective 
source, but from the svJtjective apprehension and faith 
of the Church. The theologian, we have been told, 
is to reckon himself in the community, and to build 
up his system from that standpoint ; and this means 
more than might at first sight appear. " The material 
for theology," we are informed, "is not to be sought 
directly in the sayings of Christ, but rather in the 
corresponding representations of the original con- 
sciousness of the community. The faith of the 
community that it stands to God in a relation essen- 
tially conditioned by forgiveness of sins is the im- 
mediate object of theological knowledge. J Further 
on, this is explained and extended. § Theology, we 

* We have here in view specially the later editions of the 
R. und V, and the Theol. und Met, In the first edition the 
objective character of the Revelation is better preserved. We 
shall see that there is a marited progress in Ritschl to greater 
subjectivity as his system develops. With this goes hand in 
hand the development of the doctrine of " value-judgments." 

t Theol. und Met., p. 64. 

j jB. und v., iii., p. 3. 

§ In third edition. """^ 


are taught, has only to do with the effects of the 
Divine working in us, or with the Divine work- 
ings as set forth in these effects. '^ Outside of 
the self-activity in which we appropriate the work- 
ings of God, and realise them for our salvation, we 
have no understanding of religious truths."* And 
in this position Ritschl expressly identifies himself 
with Schleiermacher. " This method of treatment," 
he says, ^^ has already been initiated by Schleier- 
macher." t " Further, Schleiermacher analysed all 
these relations in the frame of the subjective life ; he 
is therefore in respect of method my predecessor." J 

The contrast drawn between the method of Eitschl 
and that of Schleiermacher, therefore, cannot be 
sustained. Both deal with Christian facts, not 
objectively, but as " mirrored in the subject." § This 
is in keeping with the doctrine we shall afterwards 

* P. 34. The statement, which in itself might bear a good 
sense, is to be taken in the light of what accompanies it. 
Ritschl connects it with his Lotzean theory of knowledge by 
the remark that, " according to the right theory of knowledge, 
even the sensaoas object is not observed and explained as it is 
in itself, but only as we represent it." 

t Ibid^y p. 34. 

X Tlitol. und Met,f p. 54. 

§ R. und V.y iii., p. 34. The two standpoints are put some- 
what naively side by side in the biography, without any 
attempt being made to reconcile them. "Consequently 
Ritschl confesses himself a follower of Schleiermacher in his 
procedure of gaining the understanding of the objective 
Christian doctrines from their mirroring in the human subject. 
On the other hand, he separates himself quite as decidedly 
fi'om Hofmann and Lipsius in their conversion of the sub- 
jective experience into the constitutive factor of theology." — 
Jjcben, ii., p. 191, 


have to consider, that religion moves solely in the 
region of '' value-judgments." * It is, indeed, in itself 
a true and valuable thought, for their emphasising of 
which all credit is due to Schleiermacher and Ritschl, 
— ^though assuredly it is not a new one — that the 
facts of Christianity can only be rightly understood 
from the standpoint of faith and experience of re- 
demption. But a dangerous subjectivity is the result 
when the experience is substituted for the facts, and 
the latter are allowed to be stated and studied only 
in terms of the former. And this, it seems to us, is 
vrhat the Eitschlian method really comes to. 

The other aspect of the Kitschlian '' method " — its 
claim, viz., to draw everything from the pure source 
of Revelation in Christ without admixture of philo- 
sophy or nature-knowledge, is also a promise of the 
^rstem that is not fulfilled. Without anticipating 
discussions that are to come later, it will be sufficient 
to take Bitschl's own account of scientific theological 
method to see the extent to which his philosophical 
presuppositions and theories are allowed to colour 
and control his theological treatment.t It is not 
enough, he holds, that Biblical theology should give 
us a correct exhibition of the thoughts of Christ and 
His Apostles in their original sense.t This affords no 

• KwutV,, iii, pp. 93 ff. 

t Bitschl's critics are never more saccessfol than in showing 
the deception in which he entangles himself in his supposed 
renunciation of metaphysics. Frank compares him to 
the son in the Gospel who said »*Ye8'* and did "No."— 
Theol, A, BUschFt, pp. 27, 36. 

X For following, see especially R. und V^ iii, pp. li-25. 


guarant-ee for the completeness and clearness of these 
representations, such as can only be furnished by the 
setting forth of their scientific connection with the 
Christian view of the world as a whole. It is this 
Christian view of things (Weltanschauung), as a 
whole, and in the necessary interdependence of its 
parts, which is, as we formerly saw, in Eitschl's view, 
the peculiar object of systematic theology. As he 
expresses it — "Theology solves its problem when it 
exhibits the Christian total view of the world, and 
of human life, under the guidance of the Christian 
thought of God, and according to the destination of 
man to blessedness in the Kingdom of God, perfectly 
and clearly, in whole and in particulars, and in the 
necessity of the reciprocal relation of its members." 
This, it is evident, prescribes to theology a task which 
already takes it far beyond anything it can immedi- 
ately derive from the thoughts of Christ and His 
Apostles. The mere summation of exegetical results 
will not yield it, any more than it can prove it when 
obtained. It can only be produced through a specu- 
lative eflFort, working on the material submitted to 
it,t and the test of its validity must be sought not 
in its internal coherence, but in something beyond 
itself. The nerve of theological method, therefore, 
now lies in the means by which this scientific validity 
of the Christian view of the world is established. In 
the first edition of his Jtistification, accordingly, 
Eitschl has much to say of the "rationality" and 

* P. 24. 

f His biographer recognises this speculative labour in 
Kitschrs theology. — Lehen, ii., p. 197. 


'^ the scientific proof " of Christiamtyy* and finds the 
possibility of the latter in Kant's thought of the 
moral Elingdom of God as the final end of the world. 
An interesting illustration of his position at this 
stage is furnished by his remarks on Hofmann, who 
did hold the view, which we might have supposed 
was entirely that of Bitschl, that " no ideas which 
have originated outside of it (Christianity) can be 
allowed to have any det-ermining influence upon its 
unfolding of itself."* This view, however, Eitschl 
scornfully repudiates. It only shows, he says, that 
Hof mann knows of nothing except Biblical theology. 
He blames Hofmann for "rejecting every scientific 
inquiry into a necessary concatenation between Reve- 
lation and the necessary idea of Crod, and the necessary 
view of the world and human history, because this 
idea of necessity has arisen outside the fact of 
Christianity. On the other hand," he goes on, ''I 
am convinced that the science of systematic theology, 
however much it has materially to be based upon 
Biblical theology rightly understood, can be developed 
only from the problem which Hofmann sets aside." 
And he adds — *'His regardlessness of all that is 
proper in a definition shows right clearly that the 
theologian has need of ideas which have arisen 
outside of the fact of Christianity, and which, even 
though they be only logical, will yet have a deter- 
minative influence upon the theological presentation 
of Christianity."t This, then, we may regard as 

* Vol. iii, pp. 10-15 (Ist Edit.), 
t Vol. i., p. 571 (B. T., p. 540). 
X P. 571. 


* Vol. iu., p. 16 (3rd Edit). 


the pure Bitschlian '* method/' and though in later 
editions important changes are introduced — though 
we hear less of " necessary ideas " of God, etc. — yet 
the ground-view remains the same, and is even 
strengthened hy the declaration that ^Hhe formally I 

correct shaping of theological propositions is de- 
pendent on . « . the theory of knowledge which one 
consciously or unconsciously follows," * We shall see 
in next chapter that it is no merely ''logical" or 
"regulative" part which the theory of knowledge 
plays in this system, but one which cuts deeply into 
its vitals. 






The Ritschlian System—'* Theology without Metaphysics " — 
Qualification of this : Need of a Theory of Knowledge 
— Beligious and Theoretic Knowledge — Bitachrs Pbeno- 
menalism — ^Bearings on his Theology — Doctrines of God, 
Christ, the Unio Mystical Sin — ^Nature of Beligious 
Knowledge — *' Judgments of Value " — Differences on this 
Subject — Application to " Godhead " of Christ. 

The Eitschlian Theory of Religion— Man and the •* Worid " 
— DeriYation of Idea of God — ** Value- Judgment" in this 
connection — Distinction of Ends in Religion and Morality 
— Bearings on Theology — Justification and Good Works — 
Bitschl's Definition of Christianity. 

IT is now our duty to endeavour to give an objective 
presentation of the Bitschlian theology, mean- 
ing by this, in the first instance, the theology of 
Bitschl himself, in the systematic connection of its 
thoughts, reserving, as far as may be, criticism of the 
various positions to a subsequent chapter. Criticism 
it will be impossible absolutely to avoid, in view of 
the changes of standpoint in the successive editions 
of Bitschrs work, and the inconsistencies and logical 
gaps in the system itself. The difficulty felt by the 
student in grasping the trend of the F"' 


68 Tae RiTSCSLlAir t HE LOGY 

system arises largely from the fact that it does not 
follow the order of the familiar dogmatic categories — 
Theology, Anthropology, Chris tology, Soteriology, etc. 
(these belong to the " scholastic " scheme) — but starts 
from a basis of its own, and develops its ideas in an 
original connection. In a formed respect, the char- 
acter of the system is determined by its theory of 
knowledge and theory of religion. These define the 
limits within which it works, and furnish it with its 
controlling ideas. In a 'positive respect, the theology 
finds — or professes to find — its principle in the 
historical Person and Revelation of Jesus Christ, 
from which are deduced the doctrines of God and His 
Kingdom, of Christ as the Founder of the Kingdom 
and Kedeemer, of sin and redemption, of justification 
and reconciliation, and of the Christian life. We begin 
in this chapter with the Theory of Knowledge and 
Theory of Religion, in which lie, as above hinted, the 
really governing ideas of the system. 

It has already been noticed that a primary aim in 
the Ritschlian system is to free theology from all 
association with or dependence on philosophy, or 
what it calls " metaphysics." The Christian religion, 
it is contended with emphasis, and surely so far 
rightly, has its all-sufficient grounds of faith within 
itself, its own spring of knowledge in the Revelation 
of Christ, its own connection of ideas, and independent 
view of the world, growing out of that Revelation. 
It can only suffer, therefore, it is argued, from any 
blending of its truths with conceptions "meta- 
physical " in origin, or from the attempt to give its 
doctrines a rational form or grounding by the methods 



and appliances of speculative thinking.* The hane of 
theology since the days of the early Apologists — in 
whose hands, from a natural desire to commend it 
to minds trained in Greek wisdom, Christianity became 
a species of '^ rational theology '' t — has been this 
ill-starred alliance with philosophy, and the remedy 
for it is the complete separation of Christian doctrine 
from ever3rthing of a metaphysical nature. 

"Theology without metaphysics," accordingly, is 
the first watchword of the school.^ The idea, indeed, 
is not a new one. It is found in Schleiermacher, 
De Wette, and many more ; but the Bitschlians claim 
to give it for the first time a thorough-going applica- 
tion. This general position, however, is subject to 
one exceedingly important qualification. If this 
division between theology and philosophy is to be 
carried out, it can only be on the ground of some 

* Pfleiderer finds the "nerve" of the opposition of this 
school to others "in their unconditional rejection of what 
they are accustomed — anwarrantably indeed — to designate 
* natural religion/ meaning by that what others are wont to 
name the religious endowment of human nature, the a priori 
ground and germ of religious and moral development, the 
innate image of God or natural Revelation of God in human 
nature,"— />«> JRitsch, Theol, p. 77. 

t Cf. R, und v., iii., p. 12 (Ist Edit.) ; on S.'s Keden, p. 60. 

J " Apart from the doctrine of God," Ritschl holds, " Chris- 
tian dogmatics affords no direct occasion for setting up a 
metaphysical thought as theological. All the other themes 
of theology are of so specifically spiritual a nature, that 
metaphysics only comes into consideration as supplying the 
formal rules of knowledge." — TTieol, und Met., p. 40. The 
doctrine of God, he goes on to show, is no real exception. 
We shall immediately see how deeply, in truth, Bits chrs 
metaphysics cuts into the subject-matter of his theolog'" 



essential distinction being shown to exist between 
their respective spheres, either in the nature of the 
objects, or in the character of the mental activities 
involved. And the proof of this can only be furnished 
by an inquiry which is itself metaphysical. To prove 
that philosophy should have no place in theology, it 
is necessary to philosophise. The nature of knowledge 
must be investigated, if only to bring out its essential 
limits. When brought to the point, therefore, as to 
the complete exclusion of metaphysics from theology, 
Kitschl says boldly : '' It is an unthinking and 
incredible contention that I exclude all metaphysics 
from theology." * Metaphysics is involved in laying 
down the theory of knowledge by which the theologian 
is to be guided, and through which his assumptions 
as to the illegitimacy of the further use of reason in 
theology are to be justified. This is what Bitschl 
means when he says that the opposition between 
him and Luthardt resolves itself at bottom into a 
difference of their theories of knowledge — not the 
question of whether there is to be metaphysics, but 
as to what metaphysics is to be employed t — and 
declares, in words formerly quoted, that ^' each 
theologian as a man of science is under necessity and 
obligation to proceed according to a definite theory 
of knowledge, of which he is conscious, and the 
legitimacy of which he must prove." t But it is 
evident, further, that if, as the result of such an 
inquiry, philosophy is to be excluded from theology, 
this exclusion can only be vindicated on grounds 
which cover much more than philosophy. Philosophy 
* Theoh und Met,, p. 4a t I*P» 32, 41. % P. 40. 


is a branch of the mind's theoretic activity, and the 
only effectual way of demonstrating that philosophy, 
or " metaphysics," has no rightful place in theology, 
is to establish that theoretic thought generaUy has 
no such place, that religious knowledge is of a different 
kind from theoretic knowledge, and can have no 
legitimate dealings with it ; that, in words employed 
by Bitschl in his first edition, the two are *' opposed 
activities of spirit." * This, accordingly, is what 
Eitschl, in his theory of knowledge, attempts to 
show, and we must now look at the road by which 
be reaches his conclusion. 

The general philosophical basis of his theory of 
knowledge has already been indicated in speaking 
of Kant and Lotze. Eitschl, like Kant, shuts the 
mind up wholly within the world of phenomena. He 
does not, indeed, formally grant this. He discusses 
different theories of knowledge, aikd ultimately pro- 
fesses his attachment to that which he describes as 
Lotze's.t We do not, he admits, know things " in 
themselves " — the Kantian Ding an sick is dismissed 

• M. und F., iii., p. 170 (Ist edit.). Even in the third 
edition, p. 185, he describes religion and theoretic knowledge 
as ** distinct functions, which, even when applied to the same 
object, do not even partially coincide, but go totally asunder.** 

t R. vnd V.f iii., p. 20. The view in the first edition, how- 
ever, is essentially Kantian, and traces of this remain in the 
later editions. See, e.g., on the a priori character of the 
cat^^ry of Causality, as " not an abstraction from our ex- 
perience, but a presupposition of our thinking, which first 
makes experience possible," etc., pp. 682-3 (3rd edit.). In 
reality, as remarked in the previous chapter, his theory differs 
in many important respects from Lotze's. Bee criticisms by 
Stahlin, Pfieiderer, Bertrand, Favre, etc. His biographei 


as an impossible abstraction — ^but he contends that 
we do know them in their phenomenal relations. 
The relations of the thing to us are, for purposes of 
knowledge, the thing. What we denominate ''the 
thing/' in distinction from its phenomena, is a pro- 
duct of our phantasy. The persistency and repetition 
of impressions in space and time — the constancy of 
the law of their changes — deposit in our minds a 
" memory-image," which we mentally place behind 
the phenomena, and figure to ourselves as a some- 
thing subsisting per se — ^the cause of the impressions 
we experience, the persistent element in their 
changes: in a word, "the actual thing."* In this 
process of grouping phenomena into unities, we are 
guided by the analogy of our thinking soid, " which, 
in the change of experiences, feels and remembers 
itself as an abiding unity." t But the whole process 
is subjective, hypothetical, imaginative, and never 
really leads beyond phenomena, t Bitschl here 
comes perilously near subjective idealism — ^to which 
we saw also that Lotze had a leaning § — and an 
idealistic view is attributed to him by Traub, |{ and 

that Ritschl follows Lotze's theory of knowledge only so far 
as Lotze agrees with Kant. — Leben, ii., p. 391. 

 Theol. und Met, p. 38 ; M. und T., ill., p. 20. We are re- 
minded of Mill's definition of matter as ^Hhe permanent 
possibility of sensation." 

t T. und J/., p. 19. 

% On the above views, se6 in general T, und M., pp. 32-40 ; 
B. und v., pp. 32-40. 

§ MicrocosmuSt ii., pp. 640-42 (E. T.) ; but specially Ovt- 
lines of Met, p. 141 (E. T.). 

II ZeUsohrift, 1894, p. 102. 


apparently by his biographer * We question whether 
this is his real view; but his language undoubtedly 
lies open to the charge of much vacillation and 


To Ritschl himself, however its importance may 
be minimised by others, X his theory of knowledge is 
no mere matter of abstract speculation. Its bearings 
on his theology are real and vital. It is, indeed, 
only in the interests of theology, and for the sake of 
the support it yields him there, that he concerns 
himself with it at all. The laws laid down for 
knowledge are the laws of all knowledge — religious 
and other § — and they prescribe a priori for theology 
the bounds which it must respect. The consequences 
for theology form a curious commentary on the 
statement that the theory of knowledge has only 
a "logical" application in doctrine. If the results 
are only *' logical," then logic, as Hegel held, goes 
to the core of thinking. In the doctrine of God, for 
example, this theory sweeps aside at once all talk of 

* Lehen, ii., p. 391. 

t Thas, in the same breath with his other statements, 
Bitschl says that in phenomena "something real, viz., the 
thing, appears to us, or becomes the cause of our sensation or 
perceptions.** — R. und F., p. 20. Here ** the thing " is some- 
thing actual and objective ; the " cause " of our impressions; is 
nearly identical, therefore, with Kant's " thing in itself." In 
the other passages ^* the thing " is described as only a mental 
fiction. It is this wavering between idealism and realism 
which lays Bitschl open to the criticism of Pfleiderer and 
others. His defenders (Traub, O. Bitschl, etc.) admit the 

X Cf. Lehen, ii., p. 391. 

§ R, und V.f iii., p. 23. 



an absolute '' nature " in Deity as the ground of his 
historical manifestations ; or of inherent '' attributes '' 
in God ; or of such inner distinctions in His essential 
Being as are implied in the ordinary doctrine of the 
Trinity. All this is '^ metaphysical/' and has no 
lawful place in Christian theology.* In Christology, 
again, this theory disposes of all discussions respecting 
" natures " in Christ, or the " union ^ of the two 
natures, and leaves us with only the historical image 
preserved in the words and acts of the Gospels. But 
the chief service of this theory, in EitschUs view, 
is the blow it enables him to deal at everything of 
the nature of " mysticism '* in religion. The assump- 
tion in mystical theories *is that, behind the activities 
of the soul in thinking, feeling, willing, there is a 
substantial existence of the soul itself — the seat of 
the unio myatica, the place of the indwelling of 
Father, Son, and Spirit, the centre of the Divine 
operations in grace. This view falls when we under- 
stand, what the Bitschlian theory of knowledge 
teaches us, that the soul subsists only in its functions, 
and that this idea of its existence as an abiding some- 
thing in the midst of it« manifestations is a scholastic 

* Thus Frank's use of the term " Absolute " is spoken of as 
nothing else than an unsuitable mixing of metaphysics with 
the religion of Revelation/'— T. und M,^ p. 18. He accuses 
Frank of taking a metaphysical notion of God which has 
originated outside the sphere of Christian Revelation, and 
clothing it with Christian predicates. Bee Frank's reply, 
Theol, A, RitschVSf pp. 54 ff. Ritschl's polemic against the 
idea of "the Absolute" is, however, repudiated by writers 
who agree with him in his general standpoint, as Kaftan, 
Schultz, Scheibe, etc. See p. 108. 


fiction.* Another application of this theory is to 
take the ground from the Church doctrine of original 
or inherited sin.t It would, however, seem to strike 
equally at the scientific doctrine of " heredity." 

We have dealt thus far with the theory of know- 
ledge in general, but have not yet touched on the 
crucial point in the Bitschlian doctrine — the broad 
distinction it goes on to draw between "religious" 
and "theoretic" knowledge. Such a distinction is 
implied in Ritschl's system from the first, but the 
grounds and nature of it are somewhat differently 
stated in the difierent editions. In the first edition, 
the distinction is sought to be grounded in the nature 
of the object. Keligion, through the idea of God, 
yields us the idea of the world as a whole, while 
philosophy and science deal with the general laws of 
knowledge and existence without being able to rise to 

* The logical outcome of this view, and of the whole theory 
of knowledge, if rigorously pressed — though of course Ritschl 
does not thus press it^would be a phenomenalism as pure as 
Hume's own. But what then becomes, say, of the notion of 
" personality " ; or of " freedom " and its ** transcendental 
ground," which surely implies an cm sich being of the soul ; or 
of habits, propensities, etc., recognised by Bitschl, which like- 
wise imply a basis in which they inhere. The Personality 
of God is an article of faith with Bitschl; but surely we 
axe justified in saying with Pfleiderer that of all things 
** personality is a being-for-self which apprehends itself as 
such, and distinguishes itself from others, which is not lost in 
the manifoldness of its modes of activity and expression, but 
abides, as a constant unity, with itself and in itself." — Die 
RiUchl, Theol.y p. 8. Even Ritschl can speak of feeling as 
that function of the spirit "in which the •!* is originallj 
present for itself."— -B. wid F., iiii, p; 1944 

t r. u^nd M.t p> 6di 


& true unity.* In subsequent editions this point of 
view is partially surrendered. It is now acknowledged 
that both religion and philosophy have to do with the 
same object, viz., the world, and that the latter as 
well as the former has for its aim the comprehension 
of the totality of the world under a highest law ; that, 
therefore, "provisionally at least, no distinction of 
the two kinds of knowledge is to be reached in the 
object, "t The ground of the distinction, accordingly, 
is now, in harmony with Ritschrs more developed 
theory of knowledge, transferred to the subject, and 
is placed in a difference in the mode of knowing. 
Here we come on the much-canvassed Bitschlian 
doctrine of the " worth- " or " value-judgments '* 
{Werthurtheile),X ^^ which the peculiarity of religious 
knowledge is supposed to lie. The mind, we are 
taught— and here the influence of Lotze is very mani- 
fest — ^relates itself to the impressions excited in it in 
a twofold way. Either it directs its attention upon 

* B. und F., iii., pp. 170, ff. (Ist edit.). 

f iii., pp. 193-4 (3rd edit.). It may be said, however, to 
be Ritschrs contention to the end that a disguised religious 
impnlse is working even in the philosophical strivings after 
a world-whole. Cf. iii., pp. 210, ff. 

X On the preparation for this notion in Eant, Schleiermacher, 
De Wette, Herbart, Lotze, see specially O. BitschPs Ueber 
WerthurtJieile, pp. 1-12 ; and Scheibe's Die Bedeutung der 
WerturteUe, pp. 1-4. For the introduction of the term into 
theology we are indebted to Herrmann, Die Religion, etc., 
pp. 80 ff. ; and Kaftan, Das Weteny who both wrote before 
BitschVs second edition. But the essentials of the idea are 
in Bitschl's first edition, and indeed go back much earlier. — 
Lehen, i., p. 396. Bitschl's later views here, as often elsewhere, 
are but a consequential development of his earlier* 


them as objectively given, and seeks to connect them 
with one another as parts of a system of nature 
through the causal bond (theoretic knowledge) ; or it 
estimates them according to their worth for the 
subject, viewed as susceptible of pleasure and pain 
(value-judgments). No form of theoretic knowledge 
is absolutely disinterested ; it has always its spring in 
some form of desire, and is accompanied by feeling. 
But there are judgments which have no tinge of a 
theoretic element but express values only — such, e.g., 
as our sesthetic, our moral, and, above all, our 
religious judgments. These are not merely " accom- 
panying," but " independent " " judgments of value," 
and as such stand in a different class altogether from 
** theoretic judgments." Their peculiarity is that they 
set forth, not the objective nature and relations of 
things, but exclusively their value for us — their fit- 
ness to meet and satisfy some want or craving of the 
feeling self. The characteristio of religious knowledge 
we are in search of is thus thought to be discovered. 
"Religious knowledge moves in the sphere of inde- 
pendent judgments of value." * It has nothing to do 
with things in their objective, scientific relations, or as 
objects of philosophical speculation, but solely with 
what helps or hinders the spirit in the attainment of 
its religious ends. Its modes of representation may be 
— invariably are — different from those of the theoretic 
faculty ; often there may appear to be conflict, if not 
contradiction, between them. But the spheres are to 
be kept sacredly apart, and so long as their distinction 
is remembered, no collision can ensue. Bitschl, indeed, 

* iiii, p. 195* 


does not mean that the mind is indifferent to the 
reality of the objects of its religious representations — 
to the reality, e.^., of God's existence ; but this con- 
viction of their reality is not gained in any theoretic 
way, nor rests in any degree on "theoretic grounds, 
but springs, we must suppose, from the judgment 
of worth itself ; * and its mode of apprehending and 
representing them is governed in like manner solely 
by the religious interest. It takes nothing to do with 
them, that is, in their theoretic relations, but fastens 
only on their sides of value to itself, and represents 
them in a way suited to express that value, and in no 

It was only to be expected that a distinction of 
this kind, far from unambiguous, and, as reflection 
showed, assailable at many points, should give rise to 
much discussion and no little difference of opinion 
within the limits of the Kitschlian school itself, 
and we shall see afterwards that it has done so — 
some, as Herrmann (in works published, however, 
before Ritschrs second edition), going even beyond 
Kitschl in the assertion of the mutual exclusiveness 
of the spheres of religious and theoretic knowledge \ t 

* In this case^ however, they become, as Kaftan, Scheibe, 
and most of the critics point out, not " judgments of value " 
only, but ** judgments of being " as well. The crucial points 
in relation to the *' judgments of value *' are : 1. If a judgment 
of existence is included, how can they be value-judgments 
only ? 2. What is the guarantee for the reality of objects, 
the conviction of whose existence is based only on value- 
judgments? 3. What controls the representations we form, 
If we have no independent knowledge respecting them ? 

t He goes so far as to maintain that '< reality ^ has a 
different sneaning in thd t?fo iphereti and holds it tg bil 


others, as Kaftan, while agreeing with Ritschl in his 
main contention,* taking exception to his form of put- 
ting the distinction, and preferring to speak of religious 
knowledge as consisting of " theoretic judgments 
which rest on judgments of value." t Eitschl, however, 
was not to be moved from his own matured view, and 
continued to adhere to it to the end of his life. The 
statements in his volumes underwent a corresponding 
change. Thus, in his earliest edition, as formerly 
remarked, he rebuked Kant for holding that his 
moral proof of the existence of God had only a 
" practical," and not also a " theoretic," character. In 
later editions this disappears, and in the third we have 
the affirmation of the exact opposite.]: This view, 

indifferent to the Christian view whether a man be philo- 
sophically a materialist or an idealist. — Die Religion^ etc. 
p. Ill, of. p. 86 ; Die Metaphytikf etc., p. 17. 

 " I have never regarded the difference between Bitschl 
and myself on this subject as one of principle, or generally 
of substance. I have never said more than that his mode 
of expression was liable to be misunderstood." — In Theol. 
ZU'.Zeit, 1895, No. 7. 

t Das Wesen, pp. 38 ff. (1st edit.); Die Wahrheit, pp. 1-7, 
etc. Thus also Scheibe. In an article in ZeitsehHft, 1891, 
on *' Glanbe und Dogmatik," Kaftan abandons the expression 
WerthnHheile altogether as liable to misapprehension. Herr- 
mann latterly prefers to speak of ^' thoughts of faith.'* 

X It may suffice to put the two statements together. In the 
first edition we road : ** This acceptance of the idea of God 
is no practical faith, but an act of theoretic knowledge." — 
iii, p. 192. In the third edition : " This acceptance of the 
idea of God is, as Kant remarks, practical faith, and not an 
act of theoretic knowledge'' (p. 214). The curious thing is 
that the train of reasoning which leads up to these diametrically 
opposite conclusions is practically the same in the two cases. 


moreover — that religious knowledge consists exclu- 
sively in value-judgments — best expresses the real 
genius of his theology. The clearest example of the 
theological use of the distinction is its application 
to the doctrine of the " Godhead " of Christ. The 
predicate " Godhead " is retained, but only as ex- 
pressive of the Revelation-worth of Christ — of His 
religious value. It is a term of value, not of essence, 
or of dignity of nature.* So the term " miracle " 
expresses the religious value of a particular occurrence 
to the individual, but says nothing of its objective 
relations to nature.t This mode of contemplating 
and judging is carried through the whole Christian 
view — ^is applied, e.^., to sin and redemption, to 
justification, to providence and prayer — and thus an 
entire severance is thought to be effected between 
religion and philosophy.} 

These views of Eitschl on the distinction of " reli- 
gious" and "theoretic" knowledge receive further 
illustration when, leaving the theory of knowledge, 
we turn to a not less fundamental and important 
part of the Eitschlian system — its Theory of Religion. 
It would be interesting to trace the steps by which 
Ritschl arrived at his final conclusions on this sub- 

* See below, Chap. V., and cf. R, vnd F., iii., pp. 867-8. 

t Unterricht, pp. 14-15 ; cf. JR. und F., iii., p. 430 ; Leben, 
L, p. 396 ; and see next chapter. Bitschl, apparently, does 
not admit miracles in the usnal sense, bat holds, as a theoretic 
position at least, by the unbroken connection of cause and 
effect in nature. 

X See further discussions on this subject in Chaps. VII. and 


ject, but such an inquiry we must here forego.* The 
theory itself it is indispensable to understand, for not 
only is it the part of his system in which Kitschl 
perhaps may claim to be most original, but, in com- 
bination with the thought of the moral end borrowed 
from Kant, it gives shape, as we shall see, to his 
entire theology .t Its divergence from the ordinary 
view is fundamental. Keligion, as commonly under- 
stood, is primarily a bond between the soul and God, 
and involves an original and immediate relation of 
the soul to God, dimly as the consciousness of that 
relation may at times be present. This, however, is not 
the Ritschlian conception. The theory of knowledge 
precludes the idea of such immediate and vital bond 
between the soul and God, and the supposition is 
accordingly rejected as " mystical " and false. It 
is not the relation to God which is the first thing in 
a theory of religion, but the relation to the world. 
Keligion, in fact, only arises as a means of solving 
the problem of the world, and of man's relation to it. J 
We shall find, as we proceed, that this idea of the 
" world " dominates the Bitschlian theology through- 

* Some of the characteristic thoughts of the theory are later 
even than his first volume in 1870. The sketch in the Pro- 
legomena of 1861 already anticipates the distinction of '* reli- 
gious " and " theoretic " knowledge, but still takes the view 
that "theology as science always depends on philosophy." — 
Leben, L, pp. 382-96. 

j* For general statements of the theory, see specially 
R. und F., ill., pp. 17, 28-9, 189 ; Theol, tmd Met, p. 9 ; 
Drei ah, Reden^ pp. 10, 11. Bltschl's views had considerable 
Influence on many outside his immediate circle. Of., e.g,^ 
Lipslus, Dogmatihj p. 25. 

X Cf. B. imd F., iii., pp. 260-1. 


out. Man's relation to the world is the basal fact 
which governs all others in religion. " Eternal life " 
itself (that favourite Johannine and Pauline expres- 
sion) is but another name for " Herrschaft " (supre- 
macy, lordship) over the world.* This fact that 
religion has primarily to do with man's position in 
the world explains why, in Ritschl's view, religion 
necessarily includes in it the rudiments of a Wdt- 
anschauurvg, or general theory of the world in its 
relations to God and man.t 

The derivation of religion from man's relation to 
the world is on the following lines. Man, it is 
held, as a spiritual being, a personality, cannot but 
make the claim to be of higher worth than the 
whole natural world, J on which, in numberless ways 
he yet feels himself dependent. He ought to rule 
the world ; yet, on his physical Fide, he is part 
of nature, and feels himself continually thwarted, 
opposed, hindered, by natural (including social) con- 
ditions in the attainment of his spiritual ends. 
Hence the fundamental problem of his existence — to 
find a solution of this contradiction which will enable 

* ill., pp. 365, 497. For a sbarp criticism of this feature 
of the Ritschlian system, see Frank, Theol, A. RitschVs^ 
pp. 54-6. 

t Cf. i?. U7id F., iii., pp. 27-30 ; on S.'s Reden, pp. 20-23, 84, 

% *' Man as a spiritual being on tfae one hand makes the 
claim to be of greater worth than the whole natural system, 
and, on the other, finds himself limited, hemmed in, and 
subjected by the latter," etc. — Drei dk, Beden, p. 10 ; cf. 
i7. nnd K, iii., pp. 585, ft. See Herrmann, ZHe Religion, etc., 
pp. 80-81, 111-14, etc., for similar views. 


him to realise what he feels to be his destiny. But 
such a solution he can only find in the thought of a 
higher Power who has created and now governs the 
world for the ends of the spiritual life — t.e., in the idea 
of God. Ritschl gives this turn to the proof of Kant, 
that either this valuation of itself by the spirit as 
above nature is a false imagination, or it is truth, 
in which case a ground for it can only be found in the 
assumption of a divine will which creates the world 
for the ends of the spiritual life.* The idea of God, 
therefore, is neither a result of intuition, nor of 
rational inference, but arises as a " postulate " which 
the soul makes to itself for the securing of its position 
in the world, and the attainment of spiritual freedom 
or " lordship " over the world.t It rests exclusively on 
this judgment of its own worth by the spirit, which 
also is presumably the guarantee for its truth. 
Fastening with this idea on the natural powers on 
which he feels himself dependent — so we may com- 
plete Ritschl's thought — man converts them into 
objects of his trust and worship, and thus arise the 
gods of heathenism. 

With this view of the origin of religion, it is 
not difficult to understand why Ritschl should speak 
of religious truth as consisting solely in "value- 

* R, und r.jiii., pp. 213-14. In vol. i. Ritschl keeps closer 
to the original Kantian fonn of the proof, and the theory of 
religion is only incidentally referred to (p. 403, E. T.). 

f It is an example of the fluctuation and inexactness of 
expression one constantly meets with in Ritschl that we find 
him elsewhere speaking of man as " gaining throvgh the idea 
of God the idea of his worth as against the world." — R, nnd F., 
iii., p. 686. 


judgments." Not only does the idea of God — as 
springing solely from this judgment of worth which 
man passes on himself — not rest in any degree on 
theoretic grounds, but guidance in the further shaping 
of this idea, as also the criterion of what is true and 
false in the various forms assumed by it, is likewise 
to be found only in value- judgments, i,e,, in the 
feeling of what best answers to the religious need. 
Seeing, further, that this idea of God does not rest on 
experience, but is purely a " postulate " of the spirit 
of man for its own ends, it is obvious that it can only 
be cast, just as on Kant's theory, in forms of sub- 
jective — i.e., figurative, symbolical, analogical — repre- 
sentation, which as such have no theoretic value. 
This may be dignified with the name of religious 
"knowledge," but it is iM>t knowledge in the strict 
sense of the word.* Even Kevelation cannot lift 
our conceptions above the essential limitations of all 
religious knowledge (in the consciousness of Christ 
Himself they cannot rise above such limitations), 
though it may raise them to a more perfect, in 
Christianity to the rnoat perfect, form, i,e, as repre- 
sentations. It is evident how near we come here to 
the " aesthetic " view of religion of De Wette and his 
school, and how difficult it is for the Kitschlians to 
ward off, without inconsistency, the reproach of sub- 
jectivity. For, granting even that the original 

* In his first edition Ritschl speaks of the idea of God as a 
product of religious phantasy (^BinHldtmgskra/t)^ iii., p. 184 ; 
of. 3rd edit., p. 210. Cf. with Kant, Xritik of Pure Reason 
(Bohn's trans.), pp. 414-16; Krit. ofjudg, (Bernard's trans.), 
pp. 381-9 ; and see further, Chap. VIII. 


judgment of worth warrants this assumption of a 
Power adequate to secure our position in nature, it 
remains true that the forms under which we represent 
^— and alone can represent — this Power are symboKcal, 
analogical, and pictorial in character.* To claim for 
them more would be to trespass into the forbidden 
domain of the theoretic. 

This is perhaps the place to refer to a new dis- 
tinction which we find emerging in the later forms of 
the theory of Ritschl — a distinction which thence- 
forth rules in his treatment, and gives its final shape 
to his dogmatics. It is the distinction of a twofold 
end in reHgion and ethics respectively, corresponding 
with which is a strong distinction he now begins to 
draw between the religious and the ethical ends in 
Christianity, or, rather, attempts to draw, for he 
never quite succeeds in clearing his position of in- 
consistency and confusion. The first trace of the new 
standpoint is in a letter to Diestel in 1873,t and 

* Cf. Scheibe, pp. 68-71. Our representations of God, he 
holds, must be considered only as pictures, parables. If we 
ascribe to God a moral nature, or love, '* this is only an image, 
but also the only possible way of giving expression to the 
objective quality in God to which religion leads back." 
Bender carried out this view to its logical issue, and for doing 
so fell under the ban. Cf. the criticism of Troeltsch, in Zeit- 
schri/tf 1895 and 1896, specially p. 91 of the latter. 

t ** I have become convinced," he writes, " that a certain 
consequence of reconciliation — viz. , sonship to God, freedom 
from and over the world — must form as leading a point of 
view for dogmatics as the idea of the Kingdom of God. 
These are the two chief aims of Christianity in a practical 
religious and moral reference. Not only are both wanting 
in the traditional Dogmatics, but fail also in the rep'""""*n*5'^n 


he evidently regards the discovery as one of great 
importance. The point is one usually so slightly 
touched on in sketches of the Ritschlian theology that 
we are justified in giving a little attention to it. 

There is a distinction, then, Ritschl would teach us, 
which it is necessary to make between the ends of 
religion and of ethics. The two ends are united in 
Christianity, and reciprocally condition each other. 
God is the necessary postulate of both, but they are 
nevertheless distinct, are not deducible from each 
other, look in different directions, and, in general, 
must be carefully discriminated, if the Christian 
system is to be correctly apprehended. Religion, to 
put the matter briefly; has for its end, as the theory 
of religion shows, to secure for man supremacy 
{Herrschaft) over the world, and does not directly 
involve ethics — as religion^ does not involve ethics at 
all. Our moral consciousness, on the other hand, 
suggests an ethical end of the world, and this in the 
form of a moral kingdom, or commonwealth of agents, 
acting under laws of virtue. The point in which the 
two ends are united is the thought of Grod ; for the 
moral end, as little as the religious, is capable of 
realisation except on the supposition of a common 
author of the natural and spiritual worlds, whose 
own end in creation is the production of this moral 

of the Protestant Confessions. With the idea of the Kingdom 
of God one cannot get further than that Christianity is a 
doctrine of ethics ; its character as religion can only be main- 
tained through the other idea." — Lehen^ ii., p. 148. 

* This is the Kantian sequence of thought, which appears 
in Ritschl's first edition of B, und V, But the ground for it is 


The contrast between the two ends is sharply- 
wrought out by Ritschl — more sharply, perhaps, 
under the impression of novelty, in the first than in 
later editions of his dogmatic volume. The religious 
end is grasped by him under the scheme of dependence 
on God ; * the ethical end under the scheme of self- 
activity, or freedom. The religious functions " have 
to do with our position in relation to God and to the 
world " ; the moral functions " refer directly to men, 
and only indirectly to God, whose end in the world we 
fulfil through moral service in the kingdom of God." t 
It is charged upon theology that it has very unequally 
interested itself in these two ends — the doctrine of 
redemption having received the most minute investiga- 
tion, " while the ethical apprehension of Christianity 
under the idea of the kingdom of Grod has received 
scant attention.'':]: This twofold end has for its 
counterpart a distinction in Christian doctrines. Ke- 
demption, justification, eternal life, e.g,, are properly 
religious notions ; the Kingdom of God is an ethical 
notion — more strictly, through its connection with 
the idea of God, whose end in the world it is, a 
"religious-ethical" notion.§ It is this distinction — 

logically lost when Bitschl later departs from the idea of an 
apriorif unconditionally-binding moral law, and regards con- 
science, apparently, as an empirical growth in society. See his 
lecture Ueber das Oetoissen (1876). 

 B. wnd V.y iii., p. 9 (1st edit.) ; iii., pp. 14, 30 (3rd edit.) 

t iii., p. 196. 

X iii., p. 11. 

§ As remarked above, the contrast is more sharply pre* 
Berred in the first than in later editions. In the first edition 
the Kingdom of Ood appears filmost ekclU8i?el^ frbta thii 


and here we have a point not always observed — which 
leads Eitschl in the opening of his third volume to 
declare that ^' Christianitj is not to be compared to a 
circle, with one centre, so much as to an ellipse, which 
is controlled by two foci"* One illustration may be 
taken from a subject which will come before us after- 
wards more fully — viz., the importance attached to 
this distinction by Kitschl in his treatment of the 
doctrine of Justification in its relation to good works. 
The religious and ethical ends, Pitschl allows, are 
so far connected that the ethical end can only be 
reached on the basis of the religious relation. In 
this sense justification is a pre-requisite of holy living. 
But justification in itself — so Bitschl strangely argues 
— ^has nothing to do with the production of good works, 
or with any moral end. It is, in itself considered, a 
purely religious notion, and is directed solely to the 
end of securing for man that supremacy over the 
world which is Ritschl's expression for the eternal 
lif e.t Any bearing it has on moral results is indirect. 

ethical point of view, though, as the name imports, it has a 
religious reference as well (God's end is the ethical end of the 
Kingdom): in the later editions it is, on the other hand, 
declared to be "a directly religious notion " (iii., p. 80), and 
to have a " religious-ethical " aim (p. 55). Such expressions 
are not found in the earlier mode of statement. Even as a 
religious notion, however, it continues to be connected dis- 
tinctively with the ethical end, e.g.^ ** the aim of the universal 
moral Kingdom of God " — " the ethical idea of Christianity 
under the idea of the Kingdom of God " (iii., pp. 31, 32). It is 
difficult to bring Ritschl's expressions to a unity. 

* P. 11. His biographer says "perhaps three" : cf. Zebm, 
ii., p. 184. 

t Iii nnd F., pp 36, 465, 503, etc. (ct Ist edit,, p. 24), 


Only in this way, Ritschl thinks, can we effectually 
safeguard the Protestant doctrine. "The general 
ground,'* he says, " on which the Catholic view must 
be rejected is, that the marks in which Christianity is 
religion, and those which designate its moral aim, dare 
not be confused with each other, if Christianity in 
both relations is not to be falsified,"* The combina- 
tion of justification with sanctification is "apocry- 
phal," even to the extent of regarding the latter as 
the aim of the former ; and justification is declared 
to have " its direct aim in leading man into the eternal 
life, which is present in the experiences of freedom, or 
lordship over the world."t No sound Protestant will 
question the propriety of rigorously distinguishing 
justification from sanctification ; but the two have 
nevertheless an indissoluble relation, and to maintain 
that justification has no direct aim or bearing 
{AhzwecJcung) on good works, or holy living, is 
seriously to misconceive its nature.:]: 

In closing this chapter, and preparatory to entering 
on the direct consideration of the Christian system, 
we may now quote Ritschl's formal definition of 
Christianity, the significance of which will perhaps 
already begin to be apparent : — 

" Christianity, then, is the monotheistic, perfectly 
spiritual and moral religion, which, on the ground of 

* iii., p. 103. 

t P. 467. 

X P. 603. See discussion in Chap. VI. No trace of this 
view appears in voJ. i., where, on the contrary, justification 
is declared to have " a telic reference to regeneration and the 
fulfilUng of the law by faith " (B» T., p. 172). _ 


the life of its Founder, as redeeming and founding the 
Kingdom of God, consists in the freedom of divine 
sonship, includes in itself the impulse to action from 
love which aims at the moral organisation of man- 
kind, and lays the foundation of blessedness at once 
in divine sonship and in the Kingdom of God.'' * 

 R, und F., iii., pp. 14-15. 



" Revelation-Worth " of Christ the Positive Principle of Chris- 
tian Theology — Scope of this Principle — Place of 
Christianity in History of Religions — Christ and the 
" Community " — The Idea of Revelation — Fact not Theory 
— Ambiguity of the Ritschlian Concept — Christian 
Apologetic — Origin of Personal Faith : the Impression 
of Christ — Faith and the Gospel Records — Criticism and 
Miracle — Ritschl on Miracle — The "Scientific" Proof of 
Christianity: Agreement with antecedent " Postulates." 

Place of Holy Scripture — The New Testament a Witness to 
Primitive Christianity — Bearing of Old Testament on 
Interpretation and Canonicity — The Scriptures not "a 
Rule of Faith." 

General Sketch of Christianity — ^As realising the Idea of the 
Perfect Spiritual and Moral Religion — As related to Sin 
— The Religion of Redemption. 

WE come now— etill endeavouring to interpret 
Eitschl — to deal with Christianity on its 
positive side as the religion of Revelation : that perfect 
spiritual and moral religion in which complete provision 
is made for the satisfaction of the spirit of man in 
respect of the two ends already specified — the religious 
and the ethical. The problems arising out of both of 

81 6 


these ends Christianity solves through its idea of God 
as 'that is obtained — and is alone to be obtained — from 
the Bevelation God has made of Himself in Jesus 
Christ. The positive principle of Christianity, there- 
fore, E,itschlianism finds in the Person and lif e-work 
f its Founder, from which, as mirrored in the Gospel 
witness and in the Apastolic writings, the materials 
of theology are exclusively to be drawn.* 

Nothing could be more satisfactory in itself than 
this insistence by Eitschlianism on Christ as the 
positive principle of the Christian Bevelation. It is 
to be granted also that Bitschl and his followers 
are quite in earnest with this idea of Revelation. At 
an early stage (1856) Ritschl separated himself from 
Vj^t]rfl^ "Riftflf^^Tna nn, and Zeller, wj j&h whom he had 
formerly agreed, expressly on the ground that they 
failed to do justice to this notion.f To Bitschl and 
his school Jesus was truly a Person who stood in a 
unique relation to God, and to His world-end ; who 
perfectly revealed God, and identified Himself with 
His purpose ; who not only founded the Kingdom of 
God, but was the concrete embodiment of its principle 
— ^archetypal man in His relation of sonship to God ; 
whose activity was not only Kijigdom founding, but 
re^lfigming. Jesus and His religion thus stand in 
inseparable relation with each other. He is part of 
His own religion ; not, like other founders of religion, 

* The " Bevelation-yalue of Christ " is posited as " the ground 
of knowledge for all the problems of theology." — JB. und V,, 
iii., pp. 6, 8 ; cf. ii., pp. 13, 14 j XTnterrioht, p* 2 ; Lehen, ii., 
p. 193. 

t LebeT^ i., p. 279. 


separable in idea from the religion which he founds.* 
When, however, we come to closer dealing with this 
all-important concept of Eevelation, we cannot allow 
that the statements we '^obtain from Kitschl and his 
followers are either clear or adeq uate. And it has 
been indicated in a previous chapter that the claim to 
derive everything in theology from the pure Eevelation 
of Christ is far from borne out by examination of the 
system itself. 

Before entering on this, however, a word may be 
said on the scope of the principle first laid down, and 
on the place of Christianity in the general scheme of 
Eevelation, and history of religion. This Eitschlian 
principle of the sole Eevelation- value of Christ means 
more than simply thatGKflBt*slsthe highest Eevela- 
tion, which, for this reason, supersedes every other. 
It is intended, for one thing, as a denial of the right | 
of what is called '^ Natural Theology " to a place in I 
Christianity. Th eoretic reason, it is held, affords us 
no knowledg e of God. N^^ture. also, affords us no 
Eevelatiop of the Creator, from which inferences may 
be drawn, of which Christianity can make use, as to His 
existence, attributes, or the principles of His govern- 
ment, t At the same time, previous and lower stages 
of historical Eevelation are not denied, as in the Old 

* R. und F., iii., pp. 364-7 ; Ufiterrichtf pp. 19-22 ; Lehen^ 
ii., p. 193. 

t Yet Kanfs moral proof, which Ritschl accepts, is surely a 
form of philosophical theology. In rejecting the testimony 
of nature to God, Bitschlianism comes into conflict with clear 
statements of Scripture — tf.^., Acts xiv. 17 ; Rom. i. 20. Truth 
is surely not less Christian because it is also rational, and in 
harmony with God's natural manifestations* Of. Chap» VIII * 


Testament, whose importance and genetic connection 
with the New Testament Bitschl fully recognises.* 
Even in relation to these, however, Christianity 
appears as the perfect religion, and the Revelation of 
Christ as that which alone possesses n ormati ve value 
for us.t But, further, Ritschl holds that the specific 
peculiarity of Christianity as the perfect religion can 
only be understood and made sure through comparison 
with the other kinds and stages of religion in history, 
i.e. through comparison with the general idea dfn[ 
religion as obtained from these.f We have ali*eady 
seen what this idea of religion is, and its application 
in Apologetics will meet us immediately. As regards 
the apprehension of the Revelation, Ritschl lays stress 
on the fact that this must be from fVi^ afanHpni^f. rJt 

* Cf. JR, und K, 11., p. 13 : ** The divine Kevelation in the 
Israelitish people extends itself in distinct periods, and corre- 
sponding stages of progressive enrichment, through a long space 
of time, until it reaches its goal in the perfected Kevelation 
through Christ ; " and iii., p. 10 : " The concrete notion of the 
one, supernatural. Almighty God is also in the Old Testament 
united with the aim of the Kingdom of Qod, and with the idea 
of redemption." 

t Cf . Herrmann's Verkehr, p. 49 (E. T., p. 63). 

X H. und F., iii., pp. 3, 9. In this connection a curious 
difference is to be noted between the first and later editions. 
In the first edition there is a recognition of lower stages of 
human fellowship as preparatory for the Kingdom of God, and 
it is declared, " God loves the human race under the point 
of view of its destination for the Kingdom of God."— iii., 
pp. 241-50. In later editions the standpoint is altered, and the 
love of God is viewed as directed only on the community 
founded by Christ.— iii., p. 268 ff. (3rd edit.). This connects 
itself with the fact that the Fatherhood of God in Ritschl is 
limited to believers. Cf. Zeben^ ii., p. 199, quoted below, p. 115. 


the community, and not from that of the Revealer 
Himself. Christ as Founder of the kingdom of Godry"^ 
stands over against His disciples. His standpoint must 
therefore be distinguished from theirs ; and theology 

\ reflects the contents of the Revelation as it appears 
from their standpoint — i,e, under its aspect of value 
to them — not ffoilL— Hi&JL Hence the principle 
formerly met with, that the theologian must reckon 
himself in the community, and be a sharer of its 
experiences, as an indispensable condition of the 
fulfilment of his task. 

The questions which now fall to be investigated in 
this chapter are those which are usually comprised 
under theological Prolegomena, They spring naturally 
out of the Ritschlian emphasising of the idea of 
positive Revelation in Christ. What, we are compelled 
to ask, in the Ritschlian view, is meant by R evelati on ? 
How is the fact of such a Revelation as we have in 
the Christian religion to be proved or verified ? How 
does the Revelation we have in Christ stand related 
to the Holy Scriptures ? What place has miracle in 
Revelation ? For this is specially where the amHgpufy 
about which we are concerned in the treatment of 
this notion comes in. Most theologians of the modem 
school will admit the necessity and reality of Revela- 
tion, and will even agree in finding the principle of 
the absolute Revelation of God in Christ.f But do 
they mean by Revelation a truly supernatural event ? 

• R. wnd V.y iii., pp. 1-5. 

f lliTis BiedermaDn, Lipsius, Pflelderer, etc., all affirm 
Revelation, and find the absolute principle of it in Christ. 
Yet they reject miracle. 



Or is Bevelation more than the acme of religious 
insight and originality ? If not, we have not a con- 
ception of Revelation which is adequate to Christianity. 
If it is, we have transcended natural powers, and are 
in the region of "miracle" — which yet the modem 
view of the world denies. 

On this £b%t and crucial question of the noAwre of 
Revelation, it will he found difficult to extract from 
the Ritschlian theologians— or from Ritschl himself — 
any satisfying light. The exalted terms in which 
these theologians speak of the Revelation of God in 
Christ would justify the expectation of an unam- 
biguous admission of its supernatural source. But*-4^ 
this we do not find. Their standpoint is that on the 
nature of the Revelation they attempt no theory^ but 
repose simply on the fact. The Revelation is there, 
and approves itself by its immediate witness, and by 
the experience we have of its power to do for us what . 
is demanded from a perfect religion. But how it came 
to be there, — how Christ came to be the unique Being 
He was, and to have the spiritual equipment for His 
vocation He possessed, — how He grew into that know- \ 
ledge of God and His purpose, and into that unity of 
will with God, which He manifested, — through what 
means, under what psychological conditions, within 
what limitations, Gtjd communicated Himself to Him, / 
— all these are questions which it declines to discus H r W 
Christ's Person is a mystery which it is vain for * 
theology to attempt to illustrate or explain.* Much 

* R. und V.f 11., p. 96 ; 111., p. 426. In the latter passage 
Ritschl says : *' How the Person of Christ came to be what it 
is, and to possess the ethical and religious value that it does, 



speculation, none the lees, goes on in the school on the 
nature, laws, and limits of Christ's self -consciousness, 
and not a little error and imperfection are attributed 
to it on subjects lying outside His special mission.* A 
further ambiguity is imported into the notion of 
Bevelation by the vague way in which it is extended 
to cover all religions. We have seen that the reahty 
of Old Testament Bevelation is acknowledged by 
Eitschl ; but in other places the notion is universal- 
ised.t " A Revelation," we are told, " forms the point 
of organisation for every connected religious view of 
the world. This factor appears also in the stages 
of religion in different modifications. . . . No religion 
can be represented as perfect of its kind in which this 
mark of Bevelation is either denied or treated as 
indifferent." J Bevelation in Christianity would thus 
seem to differ from the same factor in other religions 
in de gree of comple teness rather than in kind. And | 
in every case it is^a mystery. "The reception of 

is no object of theological investigation, because the problem 
lies outside of every kind of investigation." — R, und V,, 
iii., p. 426. Herrmann, in a Giessen lecture on Revelation, 
dismisses such inquiries with the remark that "so lofty an 
investigation may engage the saints in glory, but for us men 
time is too valuable to be spent in dealing with a theme so far 
beyond our reach." 

 Cf. Baldensperger, Wendt, etc. 

t On the difficulty of reconciling this universal — or indeed 
any — ^notion of Revelation with the principles of the school, 
see note p. 89, and Chaps. VII. and VIII. 

i iii., p. 192. So Schultz, in his Grundriss der chr, Apolo- 
getikf says : *' Every historical religion presupposes a special 
historical Revelation of God, which determines the character 
of the piety present in it " (p. 18). 



divine Revelation," it is declared, " by the founders 
of religion is a mystery, veiled from themselves, as i 

from us." * This position, we shall see below, is  

practically that of the whole schooLf i 

Still, no theology, professing to rest on divine -. 

Eevelation, can free itself absolutely from the obliga- ^ 

tion of stating the grounds of its faith in the reality 
of that Revelation, and of its acceptance of it as 
perfect and final. This raises the question of the 
proof and verifiahleness of the Christian Revelation — 
in other words, of a Christian Apologetic. Ritschl 
himself does not enter the apologetic field, or touches-J^ 
on it only incidentally. " Every apologetic tendency," I 
his biographer says, " was perfectly foreign to his ; 

theology." J His standpoint is throughout that of onel 
within the Christian community. He presupposes 
faith in Christ as the condition of His work, and does 
not specially investigate the origin of that faith. His 
exhibition of the Chidstian system may be said to be 
his contribution to apologetics, in the sense of showing 
its harmony with the requirements of a perfect reli- 
gion. But the hints he occasionally throws out evince 
that between him and his followers there exists a 
general agreement as to the lines which the new 
Christian apologetic must follow. 

* ZTeber das G&unssen (1876), p. 6. 

t Cf. Schultz, as above, pp. 16-22, 81 ; and Herrmann, 
G Lessen lecture on Ojfenba/mng^ pp. 1-10. Schultz says : 
*• Through this uniqueness of His religious life, even His own 
personality is for Jesus a mystery known only to God, the 
understanding of which lies beyond all earthly standard, a 
can disclose itself only to faith." 

% Leheiif ii., p. 167. 


3iwe questions are involved here — the first as to the 
origin of faith in the individual, the secg jad as to a 
scientific proof of the truth of Revelation such as is 
demanded for the purposes of theology. These ques- 
tions the Hitschlian theologians rightly distinguish. 
First, as respects the original production of faith in 
Christ as the Eevealer of God, it may be said to be 
their common position that such faith is not the 
result of any process of argument, or of external proof i 
(from miracles, prophecies, and the like), but springs f 
immediately from the i iQpressio n made by Christ on J 
the soul historically confrontea with Him. Re vela-' 
tion generally, it is held, does not consist in a sum of 
doctrines, or even of facts, but is associated with any 
event which produces in us a vivid immediate realisa- 
tion of the presence and working of God.* But this 
realisation of God's presence is awakened in us in 
a powerful and pre-eminent degree by the historical i 
manifestation of Jesus Christ. We need no inter- I 
mediate witness ; His image in the Gospels speaks i 
for itself. In Christ we feel that God is truly/ 
drawing near to us. We need no other proof of 
the fact than the direct, spiritual perception of it; 
just as we need no other evidence of the sun's 

 Schultz, Apologetik^ p. 20 ; Herrmann, Verkehr^ p. 14. 
What such language means on the theory of the school it is 
difficult to determine. There is (the Revelation in Christ 
apart) no real objective manifestation of God in nature or 
history, else a natural theology would be possible ; there is no 
direct communication of God to the soul, else there would be 
mysticism ; there would seem to remain only a subjective 
imagination, springing out of the soul's own postulates and 


presence than the experience of his Hght and warmth. 
Miracles and prophecies could add nothing to the 
certainty awakened in us by this immediate impression 
we receive from Christ's own manifestation.* 

Faith in the Christian Revelation, accordingly, 
connects itself with the historical fact of Christ's 
appearance. This, however — and here is the curious 
paradox of the school — ^is not to be understood as if it 
depended in any degr ee on histori cal testimony .t We 
do not first establisli ihe gStmfC^ess and historicity of 
the evangelical records, and from this rise to faith in 
Christ: our faith, rather, rests on a "judgment i^rT 
worth," guaranteeing at once the reality of the 
Eevelation in Christ and the essential truth of the 
representation of Him in the Gospels.^ There is much 
that is salutary in this teaching, though it is vain, 
where facta are concerned, to hope to cut faith free 
altogether from dependence on historical testimony. § 

* This idea of the production of faith through the imme- 
diate impression (^Mndruelti) we receive from Christ is the 
special thought of Herrmann's Verkehr, and indeed the key- 
note of all his later writings. We anticipate here a little, for 
purposes of exposition, what more properly belongs to a later 

t " It is impossible," Herrmann says, " that religion should 
depend on a historical judgment," which could only give pro- 
bability. " It has nothing to do with a historical judgment." 
We cannot believe on the testimony of others — even of Apostles. 
—•FcrA^Ar, pp. 57, 64 (B. T., 60, 66-7). Cf. Otto Ritschl's 
criticism in article on Der geschiehtliohe Chrisims, in Zeit- 
tchrift, 1893, pp. 399-402 (referred to below, Chapter VII.). 

t Verkehr, pp. 55-6 (E. T., p. 59). 

§ Cf. Otto Ritschl, as above. Ritschlianism must make its 
choice. It must either hold with the idealists that religion is 


Only, unfortunately, Kitschlianism does not stop here, 
but goes on largely to unsettle the foundation for 
faith in the Gospel witness to Christ it has itself laid. 
This impression we receive from Christ, we are warned, 
is not to be understood as if it stood sponsor for all the — rT" 
details of the Evangelical narratives, or withdrew the 1 1 
latter from the freest handling of criticism. Faith 
must rest on a basis of entire independence of criticismr-rr 
and its results. In its self-security it can allow the " 
historical criticism of the New Testament the fullest 
play. This does not mean simply that it has a cer- 
tainty, prior to investigation, that criticism will not 
succeed in overthrowing the historicity of the narra- 
tive. It means that it remains untouched, howeveiK^^ 
destructive that criticism may be * — surely a suicidjrf^/^ 
position. In particular, faith does not guarantee the 
reality of the recorded miracles of Christ, but rather 
yields up the narratives of these as a prey to the 
modern historical spirit. We shall see afterwards 
that the attitude of the Kitschlian school, speaking I 
generally, is unfavoiu*able to the admission of miracle.+'''^ 
" Miracle " is defined, in the way to which we are 

independent altogether of questions of historical fact ; or, if it 
bases it on&cts, it must consent to vindicate a place for these 
in the general scheme of history. 

* Herrmann goes so far as to say that even if historical i 
inquiry should resolve the bulk of the Gospel history into I 
legend, still ** for such an one the chief fact would remain as / 
for us " (pp. 66, 191). The E. T. softens down this passage into/ 
** questioning some of the records," etc. (p. 70). 

f It looks askance on it, as incompatible with the modem 
scientific view of the world. Cf. Bitschl, Unterneht, pp. 14, 
15 ; R.und F., iii., pp. 430, 582 ; Schultz, Apologetik^ pp. 21, 
23, etc. The subject is further discussed in Chapter VII. 


becoming accustomed, as an event or experience which 
yields us an immediate impression of God's presence 
or action for our help. But this is a " value-judg- 
ment," and does not imply any real departure from 
the ordinary course of nature. Mii'acle is a "reli- 
gous," not a " scientific " notion.* In any case, faith ^ 

has no interest in asserting the reality of occurrences 
which contravene the established order of the world. 
The application of this canon to the Gospel history has 
sufficiently sweeping results. It cuts off the miracu- | 
lous birth of Jesus at one end of the history, and His t 
bodily resurrection at the other, and practically I 
surrenders to a rationalistic criticism all the wonders i 
of the ministry that lie between, f That Jesus has 
overcome death, and now lives in glory, is, indeed, a 
" thought of faith " — a conviction born of the impres- 
sion we receive of His unique relation to God, and the 
victorious power of His earthly life;J but that He 
rose in the body from the dead on the third day is, 
according to most of these theologians, no essential 
part of the Christian faith. The earthly life of Jesus 
closes for them, as for the ordinary anti-miractdous 
criticism, with the cross. § . 

* Ritschl uses the word " supematoral '* in the sense of thatw^ 
which transcends the natural limitations of family, class, 8e;(/\ 
etc. Cf. R. und V,, iii., p. 267 ; UnterricM, p. 6. 

t Of. Herrmann, Verkehr, pp. 64, 83, 190-99, etc. On the 
exceptions to be made to the above statement in the case of 
Kaftan, Earing, etc., see Chapter VII. 

X Cf. Herrmann, Verkehr, pp. 236-9 (E. T., pp. 221 ft.) ; 
Hamack, Dogmengesohiehtey i., pp. 75, 76 (E. T., p. 86). 

§ Cf . Hamack and Herrmann as above ; Herrmann in ZeiU 
schHft, 1894, pp. 277-8 ; Lobstein, in do., 1892, pp. 343 ff. ; 
Wendt, Die Lehre Jetu, ii., p. 243, etc. See Chapter VII. 


Note. — RiUchl on Miracle. It is difficult to catch precisely 
Bitschl's own attitude to miracle, and speciallj to the Lord's 
Resurrection. In his first sketch of a Dogmatik (1853), he / 
already takes the ground that a miracle '* has its truth, not for / 
science, but for religious experience," and declares that the I 
transgression of natural law, which is foreign to our experience, / 
is no necessary presupposition of it (Leben, i. , p. 234). In hisr 
second sketch (1856) we have a more positive attitude to 
miracle. *^ As the miracles of Christ's birth and resurrection 
are only manifestations of the AT^pp^mn^i r^«^j|ij£>" of His 
Pei*son, so is also the power over nature which He shows, quite 
independently of the criticism of particular miracles, a neces- 
sary attribute of one in whom is accomplished not only the 
restitution, but the perfect grounding and representation of 
the divine image " (Z^^^n, i., p. 282). In the Unterrieht he 
speaks in a way which seems satisfactory of the ** re-awaken- 
ing " (Avfertoeekung) of Chriet by the power of God " as " the 
perfecting, in a manner thoroughly consistent with, and suit- 
able to, the worth of His Person, of the Bevelation given in 
Him " (p. 21). Yet the remarks on miracle on an earlier page 
(p. 14) repudiate the view of miracle which regards it as con- 
travening the scientific assumption of *' a connection through 
natural law of the whole world," and declare it to be no religious 
task to recognise recorded miracles *^ as divine effects contrary 
to natural laws. " This seems to preclude a real rising of Christ 
from the dead, and we are probably right in interpreting his 
expressions in the general sense of a life in glory after death. 
In R. und F., iii., pp. 430, 582, he uses language which implies i 
that Christ performed extraordinary works, but still not such i 
as went beyond the bounds of natural law. His whole position / 
is extremely vague. • 

The personal impression of Christ thus explains 
the origin of faith in the individual ; it is not yet, 
however, a scientific justification of the truth of the 
Christian Bevelation such as theology demands. Has 
Bitschlianism, then, anything to offer in the way of 



scientific Apologetic? Our remarks in an earlier 
\ chapter have already shown that it has, though its 
\ apologetic g oes on widely different lines from that to 
Which we are accustomed. It has nothing to do, as 
already observed, with questions of genuineness and 
authenticity of books, with arguments from miracles 
and prophecy, with supports from natural theology — 
though it has, as we shall see, a natural theology of 
its own, in which the nerve of its " scientific " proof 
lies — in short, with external " evidences " of any sort. 
In strictness, its apologetic is directed to the proof of 
he truth of the religion contained in the Christian 
Revelation, rather to the demonstration of its super- 
TUbtural origin — an origin in Revelation being 
assumed as in some sense underlying all religions. 
Briefly stated, the proof consists in first establishing 
from the study of man's nature, and of the facts of 
his religious history, a general theory or idea of 
religion, and of the ends aimed at in religion, then 
in showing that the Christian religion perfectly cor- 
responds with this — answers to the "postulate" of 
man's highest good, and fulfils the conditions necessary 
for its realisation. This is what Ritschl means when 
he says, in words above quoted, that the idea of 
Christianity is first secured " through comparison of 
it with other kinds and stages of religion," and that 
" first with the assistance of the general history of 
religion can that specific peculiarity of Christianity 
be detected which must be preserved in all relations 
of theological knowledge." * It will be remembered 
how, in his first edition, he declares it to be the 

• JB. und F., iii., pp. 8, 9. 


task of Christian theology "to prove the Christian 
thought of reconciliation by the thought of the 
Kingdom of Cod, in "which Kant, in a purely philo- 
sophical way, recognises the final end of the world."* 
This is modified later into the more general expression 
— " Its representation in theology will therefore come 
to a conclusion in the proof that the Christian ideal 
of life, and no other, altogether satisfies the claims 
of the human spirit on a knowledge of things "—i.e., 
yields a pyfJiAfiAally piif.ifl{fYir>pf view of the world.t / 
We shall see in a later chapter that KitschFs followers 
— Herrmann, Kaftan, etc. — have taken up this task 
of apologetic more systematically than he did himself .J 
In its largest scope, the Eitschlian apologetic aims at 
more than simply proving the truth of the Christian 
Bevelation. Its aim is to show that Christianity not 
only satisfies the religious needs of men, but " solves 
the problem of the world." § 


Closely connected with the doctrine of Revelation in 
Eitschl is his theory of Holy JScripture. The position 

* iii., p. 14 (1st edit.). 

t iii., p. 26 (3rd edit.). 

X See Chapter Vn. The last section of Herrmann's work, 
Die Meliffian, etc., is devoted to " the Dogmatic R:oof of the 
Christian View of the World.'* Schultz's Apologetik aims at 
establishing <^ the right of Christianity to be regarded as the 
absolutely perfect appearance of religion, in opposition to 
those who contest its permanent significance " (p. 1). But the 
writer of the school who has specially developed its apologetic 
side is Kaftan in his WahrheiL His positions are discussed 

§ B. und K, iii, p. 268 ; cf. pp. 190, 215, etc. ; Schultz^ 
p. 118 ff. 


he lays down at the outset here is thoroughly 

Protestant and sound. ^' The Christian doctrine is to 
he drawn alcme from Holy Scripture." * This, how- 
ever, as soon appears, is not to he understood in the 
sense of the old Protestant doctrine, as if. the 
Scriptures, through an inherent quality of inspiration, 
possessed normative authority. Ritschl not only 
rejects, hut shows a positive repugnance to the 
doctrine of inspiration — "the perilous (misslich) 
medium of a theory of inspiration,''t as he calls it 
— and manifests scarcely less dislike to any suggestion 
of a " testimonium Spiritus Sancti." J Whence, then, 
the value of Holy Scripture, and how comes it to he 
defined as the sole source of theology 1 It is first to 
he observed that this function is assigned only to the 
New Testament Scriptures. The Old Testament has 
its indispensable place, but it is not that of source. 
And the normative value even of the New Testament 
arises, not from any special inspiration of their 
authors, as if the Apostles possessed the Holy Spirit 
in greater measure than other Christians,§ but simply 
from the fact that, in words cited from Hofmann, 
these writings are "a perfect monument of t}^o\ 

* Unterrichtf p. 2, Eitschl connects this with the words of 
the Art. Schmalc, ii., 2. — " Verbum del condit artlculos fidei, 
et praeterea nemo, ne angelus quidem," but the sense is quite 
different. See more fully on this subject, B, und F., ii., pp. 
9-18. Here also it is maintained — " Theology has to draw its 
authentic content from the books of the New Testament, and 
from no other source " (p. 18). 

t R, und r., ii., p. 11. 

X Pp. 10, 12, etc. 

§ P. 11. 


beginnings of Christianity."* An authentic knowledge 
of the Christian religion and Kevelation ''can be 
drawn only from documents which stand near the 
foundation-epoch of the Church, and from no others. "t 
The Grospels and Epistles answer to this condition — 
the first as exhibiting the life-work of the Founder of 
the community, the second as showing the original 
state of faith in the community, ere yet it was troubled 
by those foreign influences which already in the second 
century had begun to affect it.J The value of the 
New Testament Scriptures lies, therefore, solely in 
their historical witness. Next, as respects the Old 
Testament, we have learned above that Kitschl 
recognises a genetic relation between the Old Testa- 
ment and the New. But the distinctive value of the 
Old Testament Scriptures lies for him in the aid they 
afford to the correct interpretation of the New Testa- 
ment.§ Christianity, indeed, is something new, but 
as a religion originating within the Old Covenant, its 
conceptions and terminology are so rooted in Old 
Testament ideas, so saturated with Old Testament 
associations, that the only method of obtaining a 
right understanding of them is to approach them 
along the line of a careful Old Testament exegesis. 
''The theological importance of the Old Testament 
consists in this, that from it the historical presup- 
positions of the Christian Eevelation are rightly 
understood.'' || Another important use which Eitschl 
• P. 11. 

t P- 13. 

t P, 13 ; Unterricht, p. 2. 

§ Pp. 105, etc. ; Unterriohtt p. 2. 

H Pp. 10, 11. In his treatmentof the Old Testament, Bitschl 



makes of the Old Testament is to apply it as a test 
of Canonicity to the books of the New Testament — 
meaning by Canonicity, however, as before, simply the 
right of these books to be regarded as genuine produc- 
tions of the first age. Those books are held to be 
genuine which are in accord with the religious con- 
ceptions of the Old Testament. And this criterion is 
believed to be the more reliable that the writers of the 
post-apostolic age show themselves incapable of entering 
with precision into the thoughts of the Old Testament. 
The application of this canon led Kitschl to accept as 
genuine the bulk of the New Testament writings, 
though latterly he seems to have become less sure of 
some of his positions.* 

A weighty consideration still remains. Eitschl 
exalts the New Testament Scriptures to the rank of 
primary witnesses to that primitive Christianity to 
which it is the boast of his theology to lead us back ; 

accepts the advanced critical position of a late, if not post* 
exilian origin of the law* — Pp. 18C, ff* 

* Of. Lehen, i., pp. 373, 381 ; ii., p. 169* R, und F., ii., p. 
14. As early as 1845 we find Ritschl breaking from Baar's 
views on the Canon, and accepting, besides the four c""p^ \ 
Pauline Epistles, those to the Philippianis, Colossions, Phile- ' 
mon, and 1 Thessalonians* Even at that date, also, he inclined 
to accept the genuineness of John's Gospel ^Leben, i., p. 124). 
In his work on the Old Catholie Church (1857), he accepts 
James, 1 Peter, John's Gospel, etc. To the end of his life he 
had doubts regarding Ephesians, and rejected the Fastora] 
Epistles (R, und F., ii., pp. 224, 226, etc.). The Apocalyps 
he was at first disposed to regard, with Baur, as Johannine 
(Lehen, i., p. 124). Afterwards he was led to adopt the vieijtj 
of Yischer, etc., that it was a Christian book based on a Jewisi 
writing (JLehen, ii., p. 460; i?. und F*, ii«, p. 93). Onhii' 
later doubts and views, cf i Lehen^ i. p» 292 ; ii,; pp. 469-60* 


^^\  \^ 
pse I 


but it must not be supposed that, on this account, he 
holds himself bound to accept, in any single article, 
what they teach. The Scriptures, whatever place of 
honour may be assigned to them, are in no sense a 
"rule of faith" to Ritschl and his school. The 
Gospel which they draw from these Scriptures is 
an expurgated Gospel — a Gospel divested, in defer- 
ence to the modern spirit, of its supernatural ac- 
companiments, and transformed into a pattern 
fashioned according to their own presuppositions. 
The books of Scripture, as we have seen above, are 
given up to the freest treatment of criticism; the 
Gospels are stripped of their miracles, and the Virgin- 
birth, and resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, are 
denied, or set aside as unessential ; the greatest free- 
dom is used in accepting or rejecting the recorded 
discourses of Jesus.* It is the same with the doc- 
trinal teaching of the Epistles. Those elements of 
the primitive faith which do not harmonise with the 
postulates of the system, or are thought unsuitable 
to modem requirements, are put aside as of no 
permanent importance. The Apostolic teaching on 
the Person of Christ, for instance — on His pre- 
existenoe, His divine nature. His future advent — ^is 
in this way dismissed as unessential; the Logos 
doctrine of the Fourth Gospel is frankly surrendered, 


• E^^ ** With regard to the eschatology, no one can say in 
detail what proceeds from Jesus, and what from the disciples/' 
etc* — Hamack, Dogmengeschichte, i., p. 60 (B, T.,p. 66). 
The poBt-resurrection sayings and instructions, as on baptism, 
the preaching of the Gospel to every creaturei etc, are, of 
course, rejected. 


in the inteiosts, it is said, of faith itself^; the 
Pauline views on the hiw, sin, death, etc, are 
criticised, modified, or rejected, at pleasare.t We 
allade to these matters at pres^it, not hj waj of 
reproach, bnt simply as showing in how lax a sense 
the Scriptnres are accepted as a sooroe of doctrine, 
and how widely the new theology deems itself at 
liberty to diverge, when it sees cause, from the 
original Christianity — ^which yet, with curious in- 
consistency, it claims to reproduce. The Christianity 
it offers to oar age may, in its judgment, be an 
improvement on the old, but it is assuredly not the 
Christianity of the primitive Church, or of its Scrip- 
tural monumentBe^l In light of its own free handling 

* CI Kaftan, in his Eisenach lectiiTe on ^ The Relation of 
the Eyangelical Faith to the Logos Doctrine," reprinted in 
Zeitsehriftj 1897. *'It is a necessaiy conseqaence of the 
evangelical faith," he says, " that the Logos doctrine most be 
given np." At the same time, he declares, ^ it is impossible 
to go back to those other forms which were the mling ones in 
the primitive Christian community." — Pp. 8-11. 

f Pan], e.g^ has misunderstood the Old Testament doctrine 
of the law, errs in his views of retribation, of the connection 
of sin and death, etc. — R, und F., iL, pp. 308-9 ; iii., pp. 
290, 341, etc. See below. Chap. YL 

% Stahlin, criticising Feyerabend in AU, Erang.-Luth, 
Kirchenseitung (February 7th, 1896) says — ** Ritschl teaches, 
indeed, that the material for theological doctrine is to be 
borrowed from the corresponding representations of the 
original consciousness of the community, therefore from i 
the Scriptures of the New Testament. In what way.s 
Bitschl follows this his own maxim, with what surprising 1 
facility the New Testament writers have, under his guidance, | 
re-shapted themselves, and become his docile pupils, with what 
astonishing art he knows how to bring about an agreement 



of the sources, the claim of this school to censure 
" orthodox " and " liberals " for their supposed de- 
parture from primitive forms seems not a little 

It will now be proper that we take a brief com- 
prehensive glance at the manner in which Bitschl 
conceives of the Christian religion as a whole, at once 
as preparatory to the study of the special doctrines, 
and as showing the dependence of the system on Christ 
as its Bevelation-principle. There is a distinction 
which may conveniently be made at the outset. Just 
as in the study of the laws of force and motion, we 
first consider these laws in their theoretical purity 
without regard to the retarding and other eifects 
of friction, then, in applied mechanics, take the 
effects of friction into account; so, in the study of 
Christianity, we may first regard it in its relation to 
the idea of religion simply, i.e., as realising the ends 
of a perfect religion, without respect to the disturbing 
influence of sin, and, second, may consider it in its 
relation to this disturbing influence as a religion of 
Redemption.* We get, perhaps, most easily to the 
heart of the Kitschlian scheme when we observe 

with the clearest testimonies of the New Testament, if they 
are unwilling of themselves to chime in with his peculiar 
opinions, is too well known to need a closer investigation. 
. . . Consequently the Scriptural principle, and the empha- 
sising of the Canonicity of Holy Scripture, sinks down to the 
merest illusion." 

* Of., e.g,y Bitschl's Unterricht, Parts I. and II. : 1. Of the 
Kingdom of God ; 2. Of the Reconciliation through Christ* 
See also Schultz's Grundriss d. Dognmtik, 


\t 4- 


how these aspects are related, and how, under hoth, 
Christianity is made dependent on the Person of 

The doctrine of Christianity in its general character 
as religion — ^to take this first — connects itself with 
what was formerly said of the Eitschlian distinction of 
the twofold end in religion and ethics. Christianity, 
Bitschl will tell us, approves itself as the perfect 
religion in a threefold respect: (1) as perfectly 
realising the refigious^nd in providing man with the 
means of attaining complete spiritual freedom, and 
superiority to the conditions of his natural existence 
— "Herrschaft" over the world; (2) as perfectly 
realising the moral end, in providing in the Kingdom 
of God an end suitable to the highest requirements of 
his moral nature ; and (3) as placing these two ends 
in their proper relations to each other — ^the moral in 
subordination to the religious. For while, as formerly 
shown, the ethical end is held to be distinct from 
the religious, it is also held not to be realisable 
except on condition of that perfect freedom which it 
is the aim of religion to secure. How, then, does 
Christianity solve the problems arising out of these 
two ends ? It solves them in both relations through 
its Bo^^elation of God as a Being of perfect love, whose 
world-end is the production of a mocaLJ^iasd^i^ ^^ 
humanity — such a Kingdom as Jesus came to found. 
The mode of the solution is the following. First, as 
respects the religioua end, it is shown how spiritual 
reedom, supremacy over the world, the blessedness of 
the eternal life — ^all names, on the Ritschlian theory, 
for the same thing — arise naturally from the faith in 




God*s Fatherly Providence which Christ's religion 
inspires.* Through faith in God, as Christ reveals 
Him, we attain the assurance that the world has 
been created, and is governed, with perfect wisdom, 
and by Almighty power, for the highest ends of the 
spiritual life. This enables us to accept our lot in it 
with trust, humility, and patience ; to believe, though 
we are unable to trace it, that things are working for 
our good ; to appropriate even trials and sufferings as 
aids to our spiritual growth ; to judge of afflictions no ' 
longer as tokens of the Divine displeasure, but as 
means of discipline for ends of love, t But in the next 
place, this new religious position carries with it the 
attainment of the vfumil end. The same faith which 
raises us to spiritual freedom, impels us to appropriate """-"K^ 
God's ethical end in his Kingdom as our own. For I 
Jesus is not only the Revealer of God, but the Founder 
of His Kingdom among men. In this relation He 
occupies a unique position. From the standpoint of 
faith, the purpose of founding the Kingdom of God is 
conceived of as anteceding creation itself and pre- 
scribing the end of creation — ^as God's " world-end." X 
And as Jesus is the centre of this Divine purpose, — 

* " Faith in the Fatherly Providence of God is the Christian 
view of the world in brief." — Vivterriokt^ p. 48. It is a re- 
proach frequently brought against Bitschlianism (as by 
LipsiuSy PUnjer, Nippold) that it resolves itself at bottom, 
notwithstanding its denunciations of rationalism, practically 
into the old rationalistic triad of trust in God, faithfulness 
in one's calling, and universal love to man. Of. Nippold, i., 
pp. 261, 264 ; ii., p. 45. There are, however, higher elements. 

t Unterricht, p. 48. 

\ JR. und F», iii., p. 266. 


He in whose personal life this end of God first oomes 
to view, and is realised in deed, — who exhibits in Him- 
self the type of humanity as destined for the Kingdom 
of God, — He is justly regarded as the original object 
of the love of God, and the love of God to the members 
of His Kingdom is to be thought of as mediated 
through Him.* 

This is to regard Christianity simply as religion \ 
but it is next to be observed that the problem is not 
thus simple in actuality. The presence of sin in the 
world, with the accompanying .consciousness of guilt, 
separating man from God, introduces a serious compli- 
cation, which profoundly modifies the situation. This 
^v.,^...,^uilt-consciousness forms a bar to that trust in God 
which is the fundamental fact in the religious life, — 
a bar which can only be removed by the assurance of 
forgiveness, and the restoration of confidence in God's 
love, — while the natural will, bound up in self-seeking 
desires, is estranged from the ends of God's Kingdom. 
To remove the bar to trust in God by giving this 
assurance of forgiveness, and to break down this 
hostility, and raise men to the blessedness of spiritual 
freedom, and of life in the service of the Kingdom of 
God — these are the new aims which a perfect religion 
must set before it. It follows that the work of Jesus, 
in bringing to mankind the perfect religious satis- 
faction, must be not only Kingdom-founding, but 
redeeming. The manner of this redemption will 
engage our attention hereafter ; meanwhile its effects, 
as respects the sinner, are twofold — (1) Justificaticn^jL^ 

* UTUerrioht, pp, 19,20; B. und F., iii., pp. 265-6, 366; \ 
Lehen^ ii., p. 196, 


the Divine act of forgiveness and adoption, which 
conveys to the sinner, under condition of faith, the 
assurance that his guilt forms no barrier to his access 
to God, and to the enjoyment of fellowship with Him ; 
and (2) EeconciUation, the removal of the sinner's 
active enmity to God, and his acceptance of the 
Divine end as his own.* For the former spirit of 
distrust, under the altered conditions which result, 
is now substituted the spirit of filial confidence, the 
response to the Revelation of God's Fatherly love and 
grace in Christ ; t and the way is open for the attain- 
ment to the fullest extent of the ends of religion and 
of moral service before designated. One would have 
expected from this concatenation of thoughts that 
justification would have been viewed as having a 
direct bearing on the aim of moral service, as well as 
on rehgious freedom ; but we saw in last chapter that 
Ritschl will not admit this. Yet it is, he grants, a 
sine qud non of the life according to godliness.J 
This rapid provisional sketch may suffice to prepare 
us for the fuller investigation, to which we now 
proceed, of the notions involved in the Ritschlian 
conception of Christianity. 

 B. nnd F., ill,, p. 83 ; UnUrrieht, p. 32. 

t Unterriehtf p. 33 

j i?. und F., iii., p. 35 ; of. pp. 500-4, 



The Doctrine of God— Rejection of Theoretic " Proofs "—God 
known only in Acts and Manifestations — "Religions" 
interpretation of Attributes— Idea of Eternity — Love the 
Fundamental Attribute — God as Spiritual Person — The 
"Fatherhood" of God— Ritschlian Restriction of this 
Notion — Deduction from Love of the Idea of the Kingdom 
of God — The Worid as a Means to this Kingdom — 
Ambiguities in Ritschlian Usage — Kingdom of God and 

The Person of Christ as Founder of the Kingdom— Christ's 
Person in light of His " Vocation "—The Kingly Office the 
Highest— The Meaning of " Godhead " of Christ— Christ 
the Revelation of God's Grace and Truth — Unity with God 
in His World-Purpose — His Supremacy over the World 
— Comparison with New Testament Representations — The 
Word made Flesh— The *' Lord "—Christ's Pre-existence 
and Connection with Creation — Efficient and Final Cause 
—The Exalted Christ— Significance for us — Ritschl's 

THE character of a theology depends, funda- 
mentally, on its idea of God. A number of 
points in the Kitschlian doctrine of God have neces- 
sarily been anticipated in the course of the preceding 
remarks ; but we must now attempt a more detailed 
exposition, in connection with the leading doctrines of 



the Kingdom of God, and of Christ, the Founder of 
that Kingdom. 

It has already heen shown that, while admitting 
a form of the moral proof of the existence of God, 
analogous to that of Kant, Bitschl, like Kant, refuses 
all cogency to the theoretic proofs. The ground on 
which he does this in his first edition is the general 
one that the idea of the world-whole which is 
employed in the oosmological and teleological proofs 
is itself a product of religion.* To derive from it 
the idea of God is therefore a case of reasoning in 
a circle. In his later editions he partially ahandons 
this ground,t and subjects the proofs to more detailed 
criticism. The cosmologiccd argument he rejects 
because it does not carry us beyond the idea of the 
world; the teUological (borrowed from Aristotle), 
because it yields only the idea of a final end of the 
world, and also does not take us beyond' the world, 
only now teleologically conceived ; the ontoLogiccdy with 
Kant, because it is illegitimate to pass from idea to 
reality. + It may be remarked, however, that even in 
his rejection of these proofs — and his criticism of 
them is by no means invulnerable— Kitschl is not 
always consistent with himself. He never quite 
surrenders his earliest point of view, according to 
which a scientific proof of the existence of God is 
derived from the consideration that things and 

 B. und r., iii., pp. 186-6 (1st edit.). 

t iii., p. 194 (3rd edit.). See above, p. 66. 

t iii., pp. 17, 203-15 ; T. und M., pp. 7-15. Schultz takes 
up a more positiye attitude to these " proofs *' in Grurid, d, 
Dogmatihy pp« 26, 27, 


thinking must have a common ground— a form of the 
ontological argument * ; and in refuting Strauss he 
explicitly claims for the understanding the right to 
pass from laws in nature to the ordering will which 
they presuppose — ^a form of cosmological inference, t 

It is a cardinal contention of Eitschl that the idea 
of God, whether originating as a postulate of the 
mind for its own ends, or as given in its perfect 
form in the Christian Bevelation, is a purely rdigioua 
idea, that is, contains no " metaphysical " elements, 
but admits of being stated in terms of religious value 
only. The introduction of such terms as "the 
Absolute " is the importation of a foreign and 
vitiating element into theology .$ We have nothing 
to do with an essential nature in God, but only with 
His acts and manifestations; and even with these 
only as interpreted and reflected "in the corre- 
sponding self-activities in which the workings of God 
are appropriated by man." § God is for us " the 

* iii., p. 192 (1st edit.) ; p. 213 (3rd edit.) ; Lehen^ i., p. 
233 ; ii. p. 23. 

t iii., pp. 219-20, 224. "A law," he says, "or that consti- 
tuted by law (em Qesetttes), points back the understanding to 
an ordering (setze^iden) mind and will.** 

t T, und M,j pp. 17-23, etc. Yet we find him availing 
himself of the idea of "Aseity*' in God (iZ. und F., iii., p. 
443), and many of his own discussions are highly metaphysical. 
Eaftan, in article on " Glaube und Dogmatik " in ZeUsohrtft, 
1891, declines to follow Ritschl in this rejection of the idea of 
" the Absolute,'* pp. 490-92 ; so Scheibe in Die Bedeut, d, 
Werturteilef p. 71. It lies in the meaning of the word " God," 
Eaftan thinks, that ** God is the Absolute, the Unconditioned/' 
only this is not a specifically Christian proposition. 
M, wid F., iii., p, 33. 


complex of all the divine modes of action,"  through 
which He becomes known to us. In like manner, a 
" non-metaphysical/' that is, a " religious " interpre- 
tation is sought for the divine "attributes," which 
Kitschl will have us regard as derivative aspects 
of the single attribute of love, viewed by him as 
inclusive of the notion of a "world-end." For the 
efficient realisation of this end, God must be conceived 
of as the Creator and Preserver of the world, as being 
able to dispose of all things by His power, as having 
all wisdom to execute His purposes, etc. But these 
affirmations of religion are not to be translated into 
** theoretic", format Omnipotence, for example, has 
nothing to do with the action of God as supreme 
causality in nature," X or omnipresence with the idea 
of filling space without bounds. They are simply 
expressions of the confidence of faith that the help 
and care of God will never be wanting to the pious. § 

* Zebe/if ii., p. 194. But this nominalism or phenomena- 
lism is unthinkable, if we are to retain oar hold on God as 
a real Being at all. Acts and manifestations have only mean- 
ing as expressions of a ** nature " or character. 

t CI Lotze, Outlines of Phil, of Religion, ch. iii. 

J But see note on Personality below. 

§ Unterricht, pp. 13, 14 ; T, und Jlf., p. 18. We are not, 
he says, to think of omnipotence as something behind love, 
but of God *' as love, which has the attribute of omnipotence." 
But the omnipotence, surely, must be there as an essential deter- 
mination of God's being, else love would not be able to wield 
it. The truth which Ritschl seeks to express is much better 
put by Martensen ((7. Dog., p. 99) — " All the divine attributes 
are combined in love, as in their centre and vitf^ principle. 
Wisdom is its intelligence, might its productivity ; the entire 
natural creation, and the entire revelation of righteousness in 
history, are means by which it attains its teleblogical ' * ^^ 


So righteousness in Ckxl is divested of everything 
judicial and punitive,* and is explained as the "con- 
sistency " of God in carrying through His purposes of 
love for the individual and the world. In the New 
Testament it is indistinguishable from His '^ grace/' f 
Kitschl tries hard to show that the ideas of " holi- 
ness " and " wrath " in the Old Testament have no 
connection with the divine " righteousness/' and holds 
that the latter notion especially— that of wrath 
— ^has " no religious value for Christians." % It has 
at best an eschatological reference, and there points 
to the annihilation of those who finally reject the 
divine wilL § The fuller discussion of these notions 
belongs to the uext chapter. 

One attribute of God on which Bitschl bestows 
special attention is that of " Eternity/' and his treat- 
ment of it may profitably be glanced at as an 
illustration of his methods. This attribute, we are 
again warned, is not to be thought of metaphysically 
as denoting existence without beginning or end. Its 
sense is simply that in all changes of events, or modifi* 
cations of His own activity, God's purpose abides ever 
one and identical with itself ; His plan remains the 

• R, und F», ii., pp. 104-8. The few (?) scriptural passages 
which speak of retributive justice are, Ritschl thinks, of post- 
exilian date, and betray a Pharisaic spirit, foreign to the 
general teaching of the Old Testament. Paul's declaration in 
Rom* ii* 6-8 is explained by saying that the Apostle is only 
speaking " dialectically " (p. 155). See Chap. VI. for fuller 

t i2. v,nd F., ii., p. 102 ; iii*, p* 446 j UnUrrickty p. 13« 

X R, und F., ii*, p. 164* 


same ; His will is unalterably directed upon the end for 
which the world exists. To establish this view, Eitschl 
enters on highly abstract discussions as to the relation 
of God to time, to which only an arbitrary definition 
of the term could lead us to deny the character of 
" metaphysical." * The nearest analogue to a right 
conception of eternity, he thinks, is the logical act of 
judgment, in which elements that in experience are 
successive are gi*asped into a unity of thought in 
which the time-form disappears. " Eternity in 
general," he says, "is the power of the spirit over 
time." t As regards the actual happening of events 
in the course of the world, the scheme of time, he 
grants, exists for God also ; but through His perfect 
knowledge at every instant of His plan as a whole, 
and the constant direction of His will towards its 
realisation, He transcends the temporal mode of 
contemplation, sees the whole in every part, and is 
as sure of the realisation of His purpose at the 
beginning as at the end. From this point of view 
Eitschl explains the Scriptural representation of an 
election by God of the Christian community " before 
the foundation of the world "J — a representation 

* R. wad F"., ill., pp. 223, 282-8. It will be observed that 
in these discussions Ritschl is not dealing with yalae*jadg> 
ments, but with what God actually is in relation to time* 
The truth is, it is the ** non-metaphysical " mind which thinks 
of eternity crudely as time without beginning and end ; only 
by a " metaphysical " effort do we rise above this first view, 
and try to frame a juster conception— be it that of Eitschl, or 

t P. 223. 

X Eph. i. 4i Election, with Bitschl, is of the cotnmunitv 


which, though couched in temporal form, only 
expresses, he maintains, the logical subordination of 
means to end — the Kingdom of God in this case 
being the end, and the world the means to its 

The supreme and all-comprehensive determination 
of God in the Christian religion, however, is not power, 
or wisdom, or righteousness, but — " love." t " God is 
love."j: In this Johannine expression Kitschl sums 
up the whole Christian doctrine of God. The full 
contents of the notion of love are only unfolded when 
we pass to the doctrine of the Kingdom of God as the 
world-end ; but two things are implied in it as respects 
God Himself fundamental to the Christian view, viz., 
God is spiritual Person, and He is Father. Love 
implies that Grod must be thought of as spiritual 
Personality. The Personality of God, accordingly, 
is a truth strenuously maintained by the Bitschlian 
theologians. Eltschl undertakes a lengthened defence 
of it against the objection raised by Strauss and 
others that Personality necessarily involves limita- 
tion, and contends, in harmony with Lotze, that 
perfect Personality, on the contrary, implies the 
absence of limitation. Here, again, his subtle and 
ingenious mind plunges into depths which it is 

such, not of individual believers. The world is created for 
' the sake of the Kingdom of God ; the thought of the latter 
is therefore logically prior to that of the former. 

* R, und F., iii., pp. 284-7 ; Unterricht, p. 12. 

t i2. und v., ii., pp. 96-102 ; iii., pp. 260 ff. 

t 1 John iv. 8 ; T. U7id ilf., p. 16. Cf. R, und F., iii., 
p. 260: "The adequate notion of God is expressed in the 
notion of love." 


hardly possible to describe as other than ''meta- 
physical." * Personality, however, he holds, does not 
come into the Christian view on its own account, but 
solely as the form under which God is conceived as 
love.t Love alone furnishes the content of the Divine 
Personality ; without this it would be an empty ab- 
straction. The specific expression for this truth in 
the Christian Revelation is that Grod is " Father " — 
the God and Father of Jesus Christ, and the Father 
of the community of believers in fellowship with 
Him.:]: An interesting question here arises as to 
the sense which Kitschl gives to this term " Father," 
and the range he concedes to the Fatherly relation. 
He does not explicitly discuss the point, but, the idea 

* R. und V.f iii., pp. 220-25. We quote a few sentences from 
this passage in farther illustration of what we mean by 
** metaphysics " in Bitschl. He is showing that, so far from 
Personality involving limitation, only the Infinite can have 
perfect Personality. "As the Cause of all that is," he says, 
" God is only affected by the properties with which He endows 
His creatures, and which He perfectly cognises as the effects 
of His own proper wilL Nothing which acts on the divine 
mind is originally strange to it, and it needs to appropriate 
nothing to itself in order to be independent. Everything which 
the world signifies is rather for God at bottom an expression 
of His own self-activity, and what reaction there is upon 
Him from the movement of things He knows as the circling 
course (^Kreislauf) of that reality which is possible only 
through Him. Since He embraces all that is in the unity of 
His judgment and aim, He is eternal ,* and there is no inter- 
ruption in His Being or consciousness conceivable, for no 
impression of things or ideas can come before Him which has 
not already been apprehended in the unity of His thought and 
purpose" (p. 224). 

t iii., pp. 226, 260 ; T. wnd M,, p. 16. 

t ii., p 97 ; iii., pp. 269-60 ; VivteTrioU^ pp. 1, 9. 



of derivation of nature being ezdnded, it seems clear 
that Fatherhood is simply with him a synonym for 
God's will of love, as it rests first on Jesus, and then 
on His disciples united with Him.* The historical 
Jesus stands in so peculiar a relation of solidarity of 
will and purpose to God — ^in such moral homogeneity 
with God — His place in the plan of God is so central 
and unique — ^that the divine will of love terminates 
on Him with a special, unshared^ and complete 
complacency. In the unity and intimacy of this 
relation, perfectly responded to in the loving trust 
and obedience of Jesus, is realised Fatherhood on 
the one hand, and Sonship on the other. A corollary 
of this view is that the relation of sonship does not 
belong to all men, but only to those who, as members 
of Christ's Kingdom, appropriate the standing there 
given them in Christ.t God is not, as in so many 
modem theories, the Father of men universally, 
but only of the Son, and of the members of His 

 ii., p. 97 : " The name of Grod as Father, which Jesus also 
makes valid for the community of His disciples, since He 
recognises these on account of their union with Himself as 
sons of God, has in this general application no other content 
than the creative wUl of love which establishes the community 
of the perfect Bevelation, and guides it to its goal, the Kingdom 
of God." Of. iii., pp. 259-60 : " In the sketch of a moral world- 
order, theology can only take as its starting-point the notion 
of God in which the relation of God to His Son our Lord is 
expressed, and through His mediation is extended to His 
community. . . . God verifies Himself to the Son and the 
community as the vHll of love" 

f " The love of God therefore directs itself upon the Bon 
of God in the first instance, and only for His sake on the 
community, of which He isLord." — ^iii., p. 441. 


Kingdom.^ They and they only have the right to 
claim God as Father, and to trust in Him as such. 
Thus, by a curious, yet perfectly logical result of his 
initial failure to recognise an original kinship between 
man and God in his theory of religion, Bitschl is led 
to the disavowal of one of the most characteristic 
tenets of the broader theology of the day. It is at 
the same time not easy to reconcile his restricted 
view of Fatherhood with his doctrine of Ood's 
universal will of love. Either the <^will of love" 
extends beyond the area of the '* Fatherhood '' — 
which is hardly Eitschl's suppoation — or the only 
objects of the love of God are the Son and His 
eommunity; and the sinner cannot believe in the 
love of God to him outside of that circle. What then 
M the relation of God to him on this theory ere he 
believes 1 The theory leaves us in the dark. It 
need hardly be said that there is no place in the 
Bitschlian system for an eternal sonship of Christ, 
other than ideal, or for an essential Trinity of any 
kind. The Fatherhood of God has relation to the 
historic personality of Christ, and to the community 
of believers constituted through Him; while the 
''Spirit'' of God is declared to be *Hhe knowledge 
which God has of Himself and of His own end,'' and 

* Of. Lehen^ ii., p. 199 : " As Father, God is not in the first 
instance the Creator of the world, but the Father of Jesus 
Christ, and through His mediation the Father of believers 
as the children won to Him through Christ. . . . All men 
assuredly are not the children of God, but only the members 
of the community, who already through Christ are reconcUfid. 
to God." This position goes back to Bitschrs earlie' 
logical period. Cf . Lebeny i., p. 283. 


"Holy Spirit designates in the New Testament the 
Spirit of God, so far as He is the ground of the 
knowledge of God, and of the specific religious and 
moral life in the Christian community," for "the 


practical knowledge of God in the community de- 
pendent on Grod is identical with the knowledge 
which God has of Himself." * 

Love being accepted as the fundamental determina- 
tion in the Christian view of the character of God, 
Kitschl now proceeds in the boldest speculative 
fashion to deduce from this attribute the idea of the 
Kingdom of God, and of the divine world-end.t 
Hegelian could hardly venture a more daring a priori 
flight than that in which Ritschl here indulges. His 
aim is nothing less than, through this attribute of 
love, " to derive the world from God," and " solve the 
problem of the world." % Only the briefest sketch can 
be given here of this remarkable deduction. It lies in 
the nature of love, first of all, we are told, that its 
objects must be homogeneous to the person loving. 
They must, therefore, be spiritual persons. § A priori 
we could not decide whether the object of the love of 
God would be on/e such person or a world of spiritual 

 B. und F., iii, pp. 444 ; cf. 260. This view of the Spirit, 
again, goes back to Bitschl's earliest dogmatic sketch (1853). 
" The Spirit of God ... in relation to God Himself is the 
knowledge which God has of His own end, in which the ends 
of Creation and Bevelation are comprehended." — Leben^ 
U p. 232. 

t iii., pp. 259-70. 

X iii., pp. 260, 262, 268. 

§ P. 263. 


beings ; but reflection on the actual constitution of the 
world (here there is a descent into the a posteriori^ 
and an eking out of speculation by experience) shows 
us that the correlate to the love of God is a mvUitvde 
of spirits bound in the unity of a race* Love 
involves a feeling of the worth of the beloved object, 
but is more properly expressed in terms of will. It is 
a steadfast direction of the will upon the furtherance 
of the ends of the loved one. Stated otherwise, it is 
the appropriation of the end of another as one's own 
self-end {Selhatzweck),^ Applying this to God, we 
have to think of His love as will directed to an end 
which is at once the end of others and His own self- 
end. He adopts the end of the beings he creates 
as his own. Ititschl uses here a very noteworthy 
expression. " As will," he says, " God can only be 
thought of in His conscious relation to the end which He 
Himaelf is J* t Love, it will be perceived, is translated 
first into a steadfast direction of the will to an end ; § 
then God is positively identified with this end of His 
will. He exists for us only as the will which embraces 
and realises the world-end. Eitschl expresses this 
idea in other words when he says : *' Nothing is to be 
thought of in God before He determined Himself as 
love. Either He is thought of thtiSf or He is not 

* P. 265. Matter, Ritschl holds, is the principle of mani- 
foldneas (p. 575). This, surely, is not a " yalne-judgment." 

t P. 264. 

t P. 262. 

§ Lipsius remarks on Bitschl's narrowing down of love to a 
will-relation, and on the exclusion of the side ^^|^ng 
(^Gemuthseite) from it.— Die BiUcUsohe Theol, 
prat, Theol, 1888, p. 10). 


thought at all." * What, then, is this self-end of God ? 
It has already been shown that it must be found in a 
world of spiritual beings, which Grod conducts to its 
perfection. But the connection of this spiritual 
world (of humanity) with the world of nature suggests 
a necessary judgment on the origin of the latter. It 
implies that nature is no accidental appendage to the 
existence of the human race, but is created as a 
means to the accomplishment of the divine end t in 
humanity. ''Even nature, therefore, is explained 
from the will of God determining itself as love . . . the 
total world, therefore, viewed as the condition of the 
moral Kingdom of created spirits, is the creation of 
God to this end.''1: A difficulty arises from the fact 
that, as involved in natural conditions, the human 
race may seem to lack that unity which fits it for 
being the object of the one divine will. This difficulty 
is solved in '' the representation of the Christian com- 
munity which has for its task the Kingdom of God." § 
For ^' this idea of the moral union of the hxmian race 
through action from the motive of universal love of 
one's neighbour represents a unity of many" which 
transcends all natural limitations of family, rank, and 
nationality — " a wfpematural unity, without the given 
manifold being thereby destroyed." || It is next shown 
that this union in a Kingdom of God, and activity in 
its service, are possible only on condition that the com- 
munity acknowledges " the Son of God as its Lord, 
and is obedient to Him."^ Thus the conclusion is 
reached — ''If, accordingly, the creation and guidance of 

 P. 268. t P. 265. t Pp. 265-6. 

§ P. 267. II P. 267. Cf. UnUrrxoht, p. 6. If P. 267. 


the world are to be apprehended as the means for the 
building up of created spiritual natures, viz. men, into 
a Kingdom of God in the community of Christ, then the 
religious view of the world in Christianity is the means 
to the solution of the world-problem generally,, and 
the mark which this religion bears upon itself of a 
particular historical origin is no hindrance to its 
including within itself the universal destination of 
the human race."* In brief, the problem of the 
world is solved by showing how the world comes to 
exist as the means to a spiritual Kingdom of God, 
which, as world-end, is deduced from the thought of 

The idea of the Kingdom of God which results 
from this deduction is that of a universal moral union 
of men of which the distinguishing mark is reciprocal 
action from the motive of love.t It will be felt that, 
notwithstanding Ritschrs continual insistence on this 
Kingdom as the ^* Selbstzweck " of God, and the 
highest good and aim of men, it still remains with 
him a somewhat abstract and ''skeleton^' notion; 
that to give it concrete significance, and the requisite 

* P. 268. The patent difficulties in this view of Ritschl will 
be touched on later. While " love " is retained in name, God's 
being is really merged in His world-purpose, which exhausts it. 
He exists only for the world-end. His will is described as 
making its own the end of others ; yet these others, as created 
spirits, have their end only as He prescribes and appoints it 
for them in their creation. Nor is there real choice on God's 
part in the matter. We are forbidden to think of God as 
anteceding or transcending this determination of His will, 
which simply is* 

t iii., pp. 12, 13, 267, 270, etc. 


clothing of flesh and blood, we reqaire to go back on 
the complex of duties in ordinary Christian morality. * 
Grace, in short, much as Bitschl may dislike the idea, 
presupposes nature, — the second creation presupposes 
the first, — and man's relations, duties, and responsi- 
bilities, as springing from his rational and moral 
endowment, and his place and functions in society, 
must be taken into account if an adequate conception 
of God's ^^ end " for him even in his Kingdom is to be 
framed. We cannot, therefore, separate the Kingdom 
of God as a religious idea from relation to this natural 
background, or afford to despise the help which a 
philosophical analysis of man's nature and powers, 
undertaken from a Christian standpoint, brings to the 
elucidation of the latter. 

Waiving this for the present, we may suitably call 
attention to certain ambiguities which inhere in 
Bitschl's use of his formulas about the Kingdom 
of God, and tend to create an uncleamess in his 
representations. It can hardly escape us, for in- 
stance, that, as denoting the " self-end " of God in the 
creation and government of the world, this expression 
"the Kingdom of God" is used by Eitschl some- 
times in a narrower, sometimes in a wider sense. 
We saw before how Eitschl is wont to distinguish 
between the rdigioua end of supremacy over the 
world, and the moral end of fulfilment of duty from 
the motive of love to one's neighbours. In strictness 

* This is acknowledged, in fact, by Bitschl himself, though 
he does not seem to peiceiye that it necessarily brings him into 
the sphere of natural ethics from which he would divorce 
Christianity. Cf. iii., pp. 496, 676-8. 


the Eingdom of €rod is connected specifically with 
the latter. It is, as we are told over and over, the 
name for that union of men for moral duty from the 
motive of love which is the self -end (Selbstzweck)^ and 
final end (Endzweck) of God in the creation of the 
world.* Its end is carefully distinguished from the 
religious end. When, however, as not infrequently 
happens, we find Eitschl speaking comprehensively 
of " the Kingdom of Grod *' as " the highest good " for 
man, it is evident that we have a wider usage. The 
Kingdom is now viewed as the sphere which em- 
braces both of these ends — the satisfaction of the 
religious no less than of the moral need. The 
blessedness of the "eternal life" — the religious 
function of ruling, the world — is 'included in it as 
well as the moral end.t The doublenstandpoint is 

 I!.g.y the Kingdom of God is defined specifically as " the 
moral organisation of mankind through action from the 
motive of love," and it is pointed out that ** if it were sought 
to define the peculiarity of Christianity merely by its teleo- 
logical moment — ^the end of the moral Kingdom of God — its 
character as religion would be abridged." — iii., p. 13. So, in 
p. 270: "The Christian representation of the Kingdom of 
God, which is indicated as the correlate of the notion of God 
as love, designates the widest possible union, extensively and 
intensively, of mankind through the reciprocal moral action 
of its members, which transcends all natural and particular 
grounds.of determination." The ** ellipse " illustration (p. 13) 
depends on this distinction of the religious from the ethical 

t Cf . Unterrioht, p. 6. " The Kingdom of God is the highest 
good for those who are united in it> in so far as it affords the 
solution of the question raised or indicated in all religions, — 
how man, who knows himself as part of the world, and at the 
same time as capable of becoming a spiritual personality, can 


dropped, and the Kingdom of God is made, as in 
the later usage of the school, the all-comprehending 
category of the Christian religion. The amhiguity 
goes even deeper; and affects the idea of the '^ highest 
good " itself. It is difficult to tell what in Bltschrs 
view is the supreme end for either God or man — 
whether the religious end of supremacy over the 
world (" eternal life "), or the ethical end in the 
Kingdom of God, specifically designated the "End- 
zweck " of creation. The Kingdom of God is spoken 
of as the ^' highest good " sometimes in the one 
respect, sometimes in the other.* If it be said that 
in the complete conception both are to be held as 
included, the difficulty recurs as to the relation in 
which they stand to each other — which is the higher, 
and which is subordinate to the other as means.t 
For there cannot well be two " highest " ends. It will 

give efiEect to the claim hence arising to supremacy over the 
world, in face of the limitations of the same." — Cf . R, wid V., 
iii., pp. 30, 267. etc 

 M. und v., iii., pp. 267-8, 481, etc. In p. 365 the Christian 
task is represented as *' the attaining of the eternal life " (in 
Ritschlian sense) ; but, as frequently, the '* highest good " is 
placed co-ordinately in the realisation of the moral end. Thus 
Unterricht^ p. 3 : " It is only thought as the highest good 
inasmuch as it is at the same time valid as the moral ideal to 
whose realisation the members of the community are bound 
among themselves through a definite reciprocal mode of 

t In one place near the beginning we have the distinction 
that " freedom in God, the freedom of the children of God, is 
the self -end of each individttali even as the Kingdom of God 
is the common final end {Mndzweoh) '* (p. 13). This, however, 
is never distinctly worked out, and, in any case, does not 
resolve the difficulty. 


be foand impossible, we believe, to reduce Bitschrs 
statements on these points to complete harmony. 

Another source of ambiguity to which attention 
may be directed connects itself with the distinction 
drawn by Bitschl between " the Kingdom of God " and 
• the " Church " — ^a distinction in itself of great import- 

ance, one, therefore, which he does well to emphasise. 
The ambiguity arises, not from the distinction of 
these two ideas, but from the vague use of the term 
" community " (Gemeinde) as applied to both. Kitschl's 
definition of the '* Kingdom of God " we have just had 
before us. The "Church" he would define as the 
union of the members of this Kingdom for the pubUc 
worship of God. The two magnitudes are the same 
as respects membership, but the point of contempla- 
tion in each case is different. In the Kingdom of God 
believers in Christ are regarded in so far as they, 
without distinction of sex, rank, or nationality, act 
reciprocally from love, in a universal fellowship of 
moral disposition and moral goods ; in the Church the 
same persons are viewed as united in visible societies 
for the definite ends of religious service.* The usual 
distinction of a, visible and invisible Church Eitschl 
rejects, replacing it by this of Church and Kingdom. 
As existing in a definite time and place, with a 
recognisable constituency, institutions, and govern- 
ment, the Church cannot be anything but visible ; on 
the other hand, since the motive of love in a believer's 

 M. und F., ill., pp. 270-1 ; Uwterriokt, p. 7. It is not clear 
how» even on Ritschl's showing, Church and Kingdom are to 
, be identified in membership, for many assm^dly are in the 

visible Church who are not truly in the Kingdom. 


heart is hidden, the Kingdom of God is an object of 
faith.* lUtschl directs attention to the fact that, 
while the Kingdom of GU)d is the ruling idea of Jesus, 
the Apostles were led by practical interests to place 
in the foreground the idea of the Church — ^the signifi- 
cance of the Kingdom being by them transferred to 
the future, t To designate both of these imions — or 
aspects of the one union — Bitschl uses the term 
<< community/' and hence the difficulty that fre- 
quently arises in determining his meaning. In 
strictness, one would say it is the Church that is 
the "community," for in what sense, we may ask, 
apart from their fellowship in the Church, do the 
members of the Kingdom constitute a " community '' 
on earth ? No other form of organisation exists 
which binds them together. Kitschl, however, treats 
the Kingdom of God as a " community " equally with 
the Church, and so lands us in ambiguity. When, 
for example, he speaks of the theologian as reckoning 
himself in the " community," of the " community " as 
the object of the divine justification, of the New 

* P. 271. With this may be compared the views in Bitschl's 
earlier Essay on "The Idea of the Visible and Invisible 
Church," reprinted in Oesammelte Avfsatze (1893). The 
distinction there drawn is between the Church in its empiri- 
cal historical existence (^Sein^^ and in its aspect of moral 
growth and development QWerden). In strictness it is faith 
alone which can apprehend it as the Church even in its visible 
capacity. The Church has its empirical and visible, but like- 
wise its ideal and invisible side, and the predicate " invisible '* 
belongs to it through a " determination of worth " proceeding 
from faith— the organ by which we apprehend " things not 

t P. 270. 


Testament Scriptures as reflecting the faith of the 
primitive " community," etc., one is at a loss to know 
which " community " he means — Kingdom or Church. 
Would Ritschl recognise any identification with the 
former which was not effected through the latter 1 
And can he get rid of the necessity of distinguishing 
between real faith and mere ecclesiastical connection ? 
Would he attribute justification, e.^., to all members 
of the visible "community" without distinguishing 
between real membership in the Kingdom, and mere 
nominal profession 1 If not, the distinction between 
"visible" and "invisible" — call the latter "King- 
dom** if he will, though the Kingdom also has its 
visible side — seems somehow indispensable. 

Leaving aside other aspects which might be named 
under which the Kingdom of God is viewed in the 
EltschUan system,* we hasten to look at the con- 
nection sought to be established between this Kingdom 
and Christ, its Founder, as throwing light upon the 
Eitschlian estimate of Christ's Person. It need not be 
explained, after what has been already advanced, that 
Bitschl and his school reject entirely the ordinary 
Church doctrine of the Person of Christ, with its 
ontological Trinity, its incarnation of the Eternal Son, 
and its union of the two natures — ^the divine and the 
human — in Jesus. This is denounced as metaphysical, 

* Such questions are discussed by Bitschl, e.g»., as how 
dependence on God is reconcilable with human freedom. 
This is solved by the consideration that the adoption of God's 
end as our own is the highest freedom. — R, und F., iii., pp. 


scholastic, valueless for religious purposes,* an 
obstacle rather than a help to faith. If ** Godhead " 
is to be affirmed of Christ — and the Eitschlians are 
zealous in affirming it— it must be, not as a scientific 
proposition, .but as a '^ judgment of value/' f It is 
specially insisted on that the estimate of Christ's 
Person cannot be dissociated from the consideration 
of His total work. } The highest point of view from 
which to regard Christ is that of His Vocation 
{Beruf) as Founder of the Kingdom of God, and 
the bringer-in of the perfect spiritual religion. The 
difficulty recurs at this point which has just met us 
in the doctrine of the Kingdom of saying what is 
the supreme end in the vocation of Jesus. Along 
one line of representation it is the attainment of 
rdigious supremacy over the world — Christ being 
regarded as the perfect type ( Urhild) of this religious 
destination of the members of His Kingdom.§ Accord- 

* Pp. 368, 876, Ji78. " The historical and religions view of 
Christ finds not the slightest place in the scheme of the two- 
nature doctrine.*' 

t "The judgment does not belong to the domain of un- 
interested scientific knowledge, like the Ghalcedonian 
formula ... All acts of knowledge of a religions kind are 
direct judgments of value " (p. 376). " The thought is always 
only the expression of the peculiar recognition and esteem 
which the community gives to the Founder " (p. 378 ; cf. pp. 
389, 439). Of course, no one would claim that Christ can be 
rightly judged of by an uninterested mind. 

% " The theological solution of the problem of the Godhead of 
Christ will therefore have to be grounded in an analysis of the 
work of Christ for the salvation of mankind in the form of 
His community " (p. 893 ; cf. 417, 421, etc.). 

§ " This religious destination of the members of the commu- 
nity (viz., the maintenance of the personal self-end in lordship 


ing to another, it is the realisation of the etMcoH end 
of God in His Kingdom, to which religious freedom 
must then be regarded as subsidiary.* In carrying 
through his conception of vocation, Ritschl, it may 
be observed, does not disdain the Church formula of 
the three " offices " of Christ, but gives it an inter- 
pretation suited to his own system. The kingly office 
he takes to be the highest, reading into it the idea 
of a superiority to the world displayed in obedience, 
patience, and voluntary surrender to death ; and 
subordinates to this the prophetic and priestly offices, 
the former as denoting Christ's revealing activity, 
the latter His action in maintaining His own 
standing of nearness to God, and in bringing others 

The question of central importance regarding 
Christ must always be — In what sense do we 
attribute to Him " Godhead," or " Deity " ? and the 
Eitschlian answer to that question must now more 
closely engage our attention. The '^ metaphysical " 

over the world) is now exhibited beforehand in the Person of 
the Founder/* in whom, therefore, we see " the type ( Urbild) 
of this destination of man " (p. 366). 

 "The Kingdom of God, whose realisation forms the 
vocation of Christ, signifies not merely the correlate of the 
self-end of Ood, but also that goal which constitutes the 
highest destination of mankind " (p. 426 ; of. p. 423). There 
cannot plainly be two V highest" destinations; one must be 
means, the other end. A common representation is that 
Christ realised freedom over the world through His devotion 
to the end of the Kingdom (pp. 366, 424, etc.). This would 
make the ethical vocation the means. 

t Pp. 394, 406, 407, 446, etc. Cf. Leben, ii., pp. 209-10, and 
see next chapter. 


doctrine of the Incamatioii is rejected : what has the 
Ritschlian theology to give us in its place 9 In the 
study of Christ in the light of His vocation, we are 
brought, Kitschl will tell us, to the recognition of 
such features as the following, which form the 
ground of the attribution to Him of this high religious 
predicate : — 

1. He is, to begin with, the perfect '' Eevelation " 
of God to men — the Bevelation, above all, of '' grace 
and truth," the specifically divine attributes. The 
mind, will,' purpose of God are manifest in Him. 
Knowing Him, we know the Father. So inseparably 
are the knowledge of Christ and the knowledge of 
God related, that without the one we cannot have the 
other. In this respect Christ has to us *' the religious 
value " of God.* 

2. Christ stands, moreover, in a relation of perfect 
<' solidarity '' of will and purpose to €rod.t He had 
the knowledge of God's "self-end" in the creation 
and government of the world, viz., the Kingdom of 
God ; He knew His own calling to realise that end ; 
He perfectly identified Himself in will with God's 
end in founding His kingdom, and lived and died in 

* iii., pp. 367, 382, 428, etc. Ct on the whole subject Unter* 
richtf pp. 19-23. 

f " The task of Jesus Christ in His vocation, or the final aim 
of His life, viz., the Elingdom of God, is directly the final aim 
of GKxi in the world, and is known by Him (Jesus) to be such. 
The solidaric unity with God which Jesus, in accordance 
with this, asserted of Himself (John x. 28-30, 38 ; ziy. 10 ; 
zvii. 17-23) has respect to the whole circumference of His 
work in His vocation." — Unterrioht, p. 20; cf. R, und F., 
p. 428, etc. 



undeviating obedience to His great vocation." * This 
is not, as in the older doctrine, a union of " natures." 
It is, Bitschl holds, something infinitely more real and 
vital — a union of the divine and human in the sphere 
of vnll, 

3. Further, in the exercise of His vocation, He 
manifests a perfect "supremacy" over the world, 
patiently enduring its evils, and voluntarily sub- 
mitting to death as the means of securing a greater 
ultimate victory.f It is in this sense of inward 
superiority to the world, not in that of any trans- 
cendental delegated authority, that all things are 
delivered to Him of the Father, and all power is 
given to Him in heaven and in earth.J His life was 
a continual exercise of sovereignty. Thus also He 
shares in a prerogative of Deity, for sovereignty over 
the world is a special attribute of God.§ 

These three significations of Christ's "Godhead" 
may be reduced to two. Christ is the perfect Reve- 
lation of Grod in His grace and truth and in His 
world-purpose, and He exercises unlimited sovereignty 
over the world. As Eitschl himself sums it up — 
" In the predicate of His Godhead are united the two 
indispensable significations of Christ as the perfect 
Revealer of God, and as the revealed Archetype 
(UrhUd) of the spiritual domination {Beherrschung) 

* B, tmd F., iii., pp. 421, 423-4, 425, etc. ; UhterricJitf 
pp. 19, 20. This includes His special "equipment" for His 
vocation, and His ''sinlessness " in fulfilment of it. 

t Pp. 426, 434, 454 ; UnterricM, pp. 21, 24. 

% Pp. 429, 435. 

§ P. 444. 



of the world " ; * or, again — " According to the indi- 
cations in the New Testament, the elements in the 
historical appearance of Christ which are compre- 
hended in the attribute of His Godhead are grace and 
truth in the fulfilment (Durchfuhrung) of His life- 
calling, and the elevation of His spiritual self-deter- 
mination above the particular and natural motives 
which the world offers." t How Christ came to be 
thus extraordinarily constituted aud endowed, is, as we 
formerly saw, a mystery with which theology is not 
permitted to occupy itself.J 

To the objection naturally taken to this representa- 
tion that it places the attribute of Crodhead " merely 
in the will, and not in the nature, of Christ," and so 
leaves Him still " mere man " § — ^which assuredly is 
the case — Eitschl replies with a fine scorn. " If the 
objectors," he says, "are really the religious people, 
and the well-informed persons in religion they profess 

* P. 367. 

t P. 436 ; of. p. 383. 

% We grant, of course, that these attributes manifest Christ's 
Godhead ; are even the side of BUs Godhead which is turned 
to us on earth, and from which we rise, as John did (ch. 
i. 14) to the apprehension of His essential dignity. But the 
value of this admission is destroyed if this last step is refused 
us, and the attributes are sought to be retained while the 
essential dignity which alone explains them is denied. The 
"mystery" which hinders the affirmation is not allowed by 
the Ritschlians to bar the way to the negation. 

§ R. nnd F., iii., p. 439 ; cf. 376. " From this it is deduced 
further,'* he says, "that in this way the Godhead of Christ is 
still not recognised, but rather is denied." The reproach 
comes from critics of a^^ schools — Lipsius, I^eiderer, etc.« as 
well as the orthodox. 


to be, let them prove it by showing that they know 
how to distinguish religious and scientific knowledge." * 
Everywhere else, he argues,' one judges that it is in 
the form of will the nature is known. He forgets to 
add that it is precisely the drawback of his theology 
that it will not allow us to go back from the will to 
the nature. It results from the above view that the 
marks of Christ's Godhead are to be sought only in 
the frame of his earthly life, t " The same acts,'* says 
Ritschl, " through which Jesus Christ approves Him- 
self as man, in the same relation and time are thought 
of as proper predicates of God, and as the peculiar 
means of His Revelation through Christ." J We have 
still to ask how this historical positivism is made by 
Kitschl to harmonise with the New Testament teach- 
ing on Christ's pre-existence, exaltation, and activity 
by His Spirit in the Church. 

There are, Ritschl says, two types of presentation 
of Christ's Godhead in the New Testament. One is 
that of the Apostle John, with his formula of " the 

* iii., p. 439. 

t P. 383; of. Ist edit, p. 351. "The Godhead of Christ 
must be apprehended in the definite traits of His historical 
life as an attribute of His temporal existence*" 

X UhterricJU, p. 22. The fundamental thoughts in the 
above view are already found in Bitschl's earliest sketches of 
Dogmatics^ particularly the idea of the realisation of the 
divine " Selbstzweck " and ** Weltzweck'* in Christy and the 
stress laid on will. '^The substance of God and of man is 
the will." — Leben, i., p. 241 ; of. pp. 232, 282, etc. Lipsius 
says with justice that, apart from this point of " Godhead " — 
tituhis stTie re — Bi^schl only repeats thoughts which were 
familiar in modem theology before him. — Die Ritsch* Theolo- 
gie (in Jahr. d, ProU Theol^ 1888, p. 10). 


Word became flesh " ; * the other that of the rest of 
the Apostles, who attach themselves to the confession 
of Christ as Lord (Kuptos). t The sense of the 
Johannine expression is taken to be that '^ the word, 
which is the general form of divine Kevelation, has in 
Him become a human Person. • . . The proposition has 
the sense that the divine Bevelation-word constitutes 
the form/ the human individuality the material, of 
the Person of Christ " t — in other words, Christ is the 
embodiment of the divine Bevelation. In both types, 
though from distinct points of view, we have the 
recognition of Christ's pre-existence, and declarations 
of His connection with creation. In the Pauline 
Epistles the latter thought is brought out very 
prominently. All things, it is emphatically affirmed, 
are created by Christ. " He is before all things, and 
in Him all things consist." § Eitschrs exegesis is 
easily equal to the task of disposing of these state- 
ments. The PauKne expressions, he contends, have 
nothing to do with temporal priority. This would 
be a " cold " thought. || The subject in the respective 
texts is, he holds, the historical Christ, regarded as 
at the same time the image and Kevelation of Grod, 
and the end of the creation. The passages are then 
explained on the principle that what is last in 
execution is first in intention.^ Efficient cause is 
changed into the idea of final cause — a somewhat 

* R, u?id F., iii., pp. 382, 412, 428. 
t Pp. 378-9. 
t Pp. 382, 412. 

§ Col. 1. 14-20 ; of. 1 Cor. viii. 6 ; Bph iii. 9, etc 
II P. 380. 
% P. 381. 


Aristotelian and " metaphyaicar' procedure.* The 
Johannine intimations of pre-existence are strangely 
not discnssedyt but it is made clear, generally, that 
the only sense in which the Son has eternal pre- 
existence is as the object of the knowledge and will 
of God.J This is supported by the reflection, in 
harmony with Ritschrs view of eternity, that as we 
cannot think of any interval between willing and 
execution in God, " Christ exists eternally for Grod as 
He is manifest to us in temporal limitation.'' § 

What, then, of the fiitv/re of Christ's existence in 
His state of exaltation ? Is it also ideal ? Eitschl does 
not say this, but, on the other hand, assumes that 
Christ now exists in some perfect or glorified state of 
which we have no definite knowledge. || But he is 
equally emphatic in the assertion that Christ's life in 
this glorified state is for us completely " hidden," % 
and that to give it any religious worth we must trans- 
late it into terms which make it practically converti- 
ble with the posthumous influence of his historical 
Personality. The state of exaltation of Christ, in 
other words, is for us as good as if it were not, and 

* " As the end to which all is directed, He is before all " 
(p. 380). 

f In the first edition, Bitschl remarks on the passage in 
John, "Before Abraham was, I am" (ch. viii. 58), that it 
is "probably not quite comprehensible," being spoken "to 
close a discussion, not to state a doctrine " (p. 367). This is 
afterwards omitted. 

I Pp. 441, 443. 
§ P. 443. 

II Uhterneht, p. 21. 

•[[ R. und v., iii., p. 407. 


what takes its place is the perpetuation of Christ's 
image and influence in the Scriptures and the Church. 
This is affirmed with a decision which is intended to 
shut the door against all '^ mystical " talk of a direct 
communion of the soul with the Saviour. " All that 
falls into the state of exaltation/' it is declared, *' must 
be represented as the continued action of the corre- 
sponding parts of the state of humiliation, if it is to 
have any clear meaning. . . . The work of Christ in 
the state of exaltation must be represented as the 
permanent eflFect of His historical appearance." * On 
any other supposition, it is contended, " the formula 
of the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God is 
for us either without content, since Christ, as exalted, 
is directly hidden from us, or becomes the occasion 
of all possible fanaticism." t More definitely : " The 
continuance of the Christian community in its specific 
character is grounded on the fact that the remem- 
brance of the completed life-work of Christ remains 
present in it, and that, in accordance therewith, the 
personal impulse of the Founder continues unceasingly 
to work in all the like strivings of the members of His 
community. These relations form the revealed side of 
the mystery of the exaltation of Christ to the right 
hand of Gkxl, which is recognised by His community 
as the pledge that His life has not failed in His death, 
but is perfected." % In the same sense must be inter- 
preted Christ's present rule or lordship over His 
Church. It comes, then, to this, that so far as religion 

* Pp. 407-8. 

t Pp. 383-4, 407. 

J UnUrricht, p. 23. Schleiermacher's view is similar. 


is directly concerned with Christ, it has to do only 
with His historical manifestatioiL To seek a more 
immediate relation, or direct communion, with the 
exalted Christ is, in Bitschl's eyes, " mysticism " and 
"fanaticism" (Schwdrmerei) — something to be ab- 
horred almost as the plague ! 



Variations of Ritschl — Postulates of Ordinary Doctrine of Sin 
— BitschVs Earlier and Later Views — Denial of Retribu- 
tive Justice — Standard of Sin in Idea of Kingdom of God — 
Sin as Ignorance — Denial of Original Sin — Guilt and its 
Punishment — Sin and Death — Satisfaction-Theory of 
Atonement rejected — Christ as Revealer of God's Grace — 
The Connection of Forgiveness with Christ's Death — 
Doctrine of Sacrifice in Old and New Testament. 

Ritschlian View of Ju8tification,Adoption, and Reconciliation — 
Justification and Good Works —Contradictions in Ritschl's 
View — Religion and Ethics — The Objective in Justifica- 
tion translated finally into the Subjective (Regeneration, 
etc.) — Christ as Priest — Representation and Imputation 
— The " Community " the Direct Object of Justification 
— Does Faith precede or follow Justification ? — The Chris- 
tian Life — Its Religions Side ; Faith in Providence, etc. 
— Its Ethical Side ; Action from Love in God's Kingdom 
— Lack of Eschatology — Excluded by the Principles of 
the System. 

UNDERLYING a right conception of redemption 
is an adequate estimate of sin^ and this con- 
nects itself, again, with just views of the character and 
moral administration of God. The ordinary theology 
hai^ a clear and coherent doctrine on this subject. 



Sin, in its view, is not simply moral transgression— 
deviation from, or falling below, the standard of duty, 
or ideal of right, accepted by the individual con- 
science — but involves essentially a Godward relation,* 
and has respect to absolute law. This necessitates as 
its counterpart the view of God as the Source and 
Upholder of moral law. Himself the ethically Good 
One, whose commanding will is the expression of His 
essential holiness, and whose administration is un- 
changeably directed to the maintenance of the good 
and the punishment of evil — ^the latter partly as a 
means to the recovery of the wrong-doer, but 
primarily as a reaction of His essential righteousness 
against that which infringes the moral order of the 
universe. Sin, in this view, is not that which must 
be, or ought to be, but is a violation of the normal 
relation subsisting between Grod and His moral 
creatures; the rupture of an original bond between 
the soul and God ; an evil which has entered through 
the culpable misuse of human freedom, and which 
entails on the race that has admitted it a heritage 
of depravity and woe. Corresponding with this con- 
ception of sin is the idea of guilty as not merely the 
feeling of self-blame at conscious deviation from a 
standard of the mind's own ; but as having relation 
likewise to absolute law, and expressing the sense of 
accountability to God and of liability to the just 
effects of His displeasure. It is already evident, 
however, that this customary view of sin must undergo 
profound modification on the principles of the 

* ** Against Thee, Thee only, have I 8inne<l, and done this 
evil in Thy sight " (Ps. lU 4). 


Ritschlian system. Hardly any of its presuppo- 
sitions are such as Eitscbl could unreservedly accept. 
He knows of no such original bond between the soul 
and God as this theory assumes; the idea of an 
ethical nature in God as the ground and source of 
moral law is foreign to his teaching ;  he rejects 
absolutely the punitive aspect of the divine character, 
save in a problematical eschatological contingency,t 
and there are numerous other contrasts. We ask, 
therefore, with some interest, what conceptions he sub- 
stitutes for the conceptions he discards, and what place 
the notions of sin and guilt retain in his theology ? 

We previously remarked that it is difficult to 
reconcile KitschFs positions on sin and guilt, even in 
the short interval between the first and later volumes 
of his chief work. In his first (Historical) volume 
he seems to accept almost without qualification the 
Kantian doctrine of the morally-legislative reason, 
and conformably with this takes up, as we saw, strong 
ground on the objective reality of guilt — not simply 
a gaiM-consdoibaneas — and on the desert of punish- 
ment, j: A different note is struck in the lecture on 

* Cf. R, und F., iii., pp. 234-8, 269. In the former passage 
Ritscbl criticises the view that the law of Grod is " the expression 
of the Divine will, which for God Himself is essential " (p. 234). 
The assumption of an inherent righteousness in God is (see 
below, p. 142) " bad metaphysics," for " God is real only in 
formof wm"(p. 237). 

t See below, p. 140. It was formerly shown that righteous- 
ness in God, with Ritschl, is simply His consistency in carrying 
out the ends of His love. 

X See passages quoted in Chap. II. : R. und F., i., pp. 387-9, 
394, 396, 464, etc. (E. T.). 


" Conscience "in 1876, where conscience, so far as its 
origin admits of explanation, seems traced empirically 
to education in society.* In the second and third 
volumes of his principal work the modification is very 
apparent. The doctrine of a government of the 
world by reward and punishment is explicitly re- 
jected t — more sharply even in the second and third 
editions than in the firsts — and declared to be 
entirely alien to the spirit of Christianity. Paul's 
use of this mode of representation in Bom. ii. is 
explained as merely " dialectic." § The error is held 
to have originated in a mistaken way of conceiving of 
the Divine government after the analogy of earthly 
states, iivhereas its true type is the family. || It is a 
" Hellenic " and " rational " notion — ^a piece of 
" natural religion " — though it is allowed, somewhat 
inconsistently, that it is found also in the Old and 
New Testaments, which ex hypolJiesi are untouched 
by Hellenic influences; and it is described more 
broadly as "attaching itself to the representation 
of a reciprocal relation of right between man and 
€k)d which arises among the Hellenes, Komans, and 
Israelites (not ordy Hellenic, therefore) from the fact 

* Reprinted in Oes, Aufmtie^ 2nd series. See p. 183, and 
of. 22. und V.y iii., pp. 247, 249, etc. 

t R. und F., ii., pp. 4, 41, 47-9, 247, 257, 343, etc. 

J The leading passages are recast and strengthened in the 
2nd and 3rd editions, and special prominence is given to the 
supposed ** Hellenic '* origin of the notion. Cf. with passages 
mentioned in last note the corresponding sections, pp. 4, 223, 
818, etc., of 1st edition. 

§ ii., p. 320. 

II iii., p. 92. 


that with these peopleR the state is valued even in a 
religious sense as the highest good.'** On these 
grounds the idea of retribution is to be excluded 
altogether from Ghristianity.t In consonance with 
this contention, the doctrine of Divine wrath is, as 
before stated, struck out of the Christian system as 
of " no religious value " % — save in the problematical 
case of the finally obdurate, for whom the fate re- 
served is annihilation. § Even this is an incon- 
sistency, for such a judgment would be an act of 
punitive severity for which no corresponding ground 
is conceded by Hitsohl in the character of God. || 

We have now to inquire, positively, what the 
conceptions are which Bitschl substitutes for those 
which he discards in his doctrine of sin. We must 
not be misled by the fact that (especially in his later 
editions) % Kitschl lays stress also on the God-ward 

* iii., p. 343. In the 1st edition th^ explanation given is 
— " In every religion it is usual to consider certain (^ewigser) 
evils as divine puDishments. . . . This view arises originally 
from the direct comparison of definite actions, of which one 
knows himself gnllty, with definite evils, which are regarded 
as the retribution of God."— P. 318. 

t P. 343. 

X 11., p. 154 ; ill., p. 307. 

§ 11., pp. 129, 140-42. But the case is hypothetical. 
"Whether there are such persons, and who they are, lies 
within the scope neither of our practical judgment, nor of our 
theoretical knowledge." — ill., p. 363 ; cf . p. 307. 

II Cf. a careful examination of Ritschrs doctrine in Domer, 
System of Doctrine, Iv., pp. 66 ff. (E. T.). 

^ Cf. Lebefij 11., p. 201. As in the Ist edition the Kingdom 
of God is looked on from the moral rather than the religious 
point of view, so in the doctrine of sin it is its aspect of 


relation in sin — speaks of it, e.g., as indifference or 
mistrust towards God,* describes God as the Author 
and Kepresentative of the moral law,t affirms the 
reality of guilt,i and finds a (subjective) justification 
for the notion of Divine punishments § ; for we shall 
immediately see that these expressions have a widely 
different meaning, and stand in a totally different 
connection of thought, from that which belongs to 
them in the ordinary view. The new connection of 
ideas may be thus exhibited. 

As elsewhere, Ritschl takes his starting-point in 
his doctrine of sin from the idea of the Kingdom of 
God. It is this, not the idea of the " law " of God, 
which is determinative of the notion of sin in the 
Christian system. Sin, as Kitschl justly says, is no 
'end or good in itself; its notion, only arises in com- 
parison with the idea of the good of which it is the 
contradiction. But this idea of the good is summed 
up comprehensively in the Christian religion in the 
idea of the Kingdom of God, viewed as prescribing to 
its members their highest moral task. Sin, therefore, 
can first be perfectly understood as the opposite of this 

contravention of moral law, rather than its Godward side, 
which comes into prominence. This is supplemented in 2nd 
and 3rd editions, where a good deal is re-cast in expression. 

* R, tmd F., iii., pp. 315-17, 336, 363, etc 

t P. 56 (retained from Ist edition, to the standpoint of which 
it is more appropriate) : of. p. 337. 

% '* The removal of the gailt-consciousness must be so 
understood as to include the removal of the real guilt '' (i.e,, 
in his sense, the actual separation from God). — P. 55 ff., p. 52. 
In another sense guilt is not removed. See below, p. 150. 

§ P. 337. 


highest moral good.* It is not denied that the notion 
of sin is found outside of Christianity, but it is only 
in Christianity it is adequately expressed, since here 
other ideas of God, of the highest good, of the moral 
destination of man, of redemption, prevail than are 
found in other religions.t The idea of the moral law 
is not prior to the idea of the good — i.6., to the idea of 
the Kingdom of God — ^but is rather a deduction from 
it. The Kingdom of God describes the final end which 
God aims at realising through men in the world ; the 
moral law represents the system of ends which are 
the necessary means to the attainment of this final 
end4 '^ The end of the Kingdom of God is that final 
end (Endzweck) from which the moral law springs. "§ 
In place, therefore, of the moral law as regulative of 
the idea of sin, we have the teleological conception 
of the Kingdom of God. || The doctrine of an essential 

 Pp. 312, 317, 331. Cf. p. 65 : "The religious-moral aim 
of the kingdom of Qod forms the standard for the apprehen- 
sion of sin and guilt." 

t P. 311. We, of course, grant unreservedly that theperfeot 
notion of sin only arises in connection with the complete 
Revelation of God's will and purpose in the gospel. But Bitschl, 
as seen below, goes much further. 

t P. 56. 

§ P. 421 ; cf. 495. Whence, then, we ask, the admitted 
ideas of sin in other religions, where there is not the knowledge 
of this end? What of the work of the law written in the 
hearts of the Gentiles, of which the Apostle speaks (Rom. 
ii. 16) ? 

II We get some light on RitschVs point of view from his dis- 
cussion (pp. 236, 269) of the old problem whether a thing is good 
because God wills it, or whether He wills it because it is good. 
Bitschl declares both views false. There is nothing prior to 
God's will, and it lies in the nature of will that it must be 


righteousness of Grod of which the moral law is the 
expression he rejects as " bad metaphysics." * 

The idea of the Kingdom of God, then, is the 
standard of judgment on sin ; but since this idea has 
only been fully brought to light through the Revela- 
tion of Christ, and an " inborn " law of duty is not to 
be assumed, it is obvious that such sin as existed in 
the world prior to Christ's appearance, or exists now, 
where He is not at all, or only imperfectly, known, 
must be regarded as practically sin done in " ignor- 
ance," and hardly sin at all. This, accordingly, is 
how Eitschl views it, and how he supposes it to be 
judged of by God.t It is because it is sin done in 

directed to a definite end. God's will, therefore, cannot be 
thought of apart from the end to which it is directed, that 
is, the Kingdom of God. God's will, as love, subsists in its 
direction to this end. This yields the standard of right and 
wrong. Deceit, e.g.j is wrong, not because it conflicts with 
any independent moral rule, but because it stands in contra- 
diction with this "self -end" of God — the Kingdom of God 
(p. 269). But can it be seriously held that what Eitschl else- 
where calls " the rule of truth for God " (p. 58) has no inherent 
justification, but depends for its validity on this reference to a 
"self -end"? The failure of Ritschl's attempt to derive all 
moral principles from the notion of God's " self-end " will be 
commented on later. It should be evident that the goodness 
of this end depends rather on its realisation of all those 
principles of right which are expressed in the moral law, and 
is not that which constitutes these principles good. 

* Pp. 234-37, 241, etc. "Since it follows as a settled 
result of the assumption of the Personality of God that God is 
real only in the form of will, it is bad metaphysics to ascribe 
to Him righteousness as a latent (ruliende) attribute, which 
belongs to Him apart from the form of wUl " (p. 237). 

t Pp. 357-63. 


ignoraoce that, on his theory, it is pardonable.* He 
rejects the idea of an original state of innocence,t and 
accounts for the origin of sin by the fact that man starts 
off as a natural being, the subject of self-seeking desires, 
while his will for good is a " growing " quantity. t 
An a priori necessity of sinning cannot, indeed, be 
established ; § nevertheless, '' sin is an apparently un- 
avoidable product of the human will under the given 
conditions of its development, and is yet, in the con- 
sciousness of our freedom and independence, imputed 
by us to ourselves as guilt." || Ignorance, therefore, 
is, as the experience of children teaches us, a weighty 
factor in the origin and development of sin ; ^ and 
the distinction between sins committed in ignorance, 
and a final definitive rejection of the good, furnishes 
us with the standard of Divine judgment.** So far 
as men are supposed to be salvable at all — even 
those whom, with the Apostle, we might regard as 
thoroughly hardened ft — their sins, Bitschl declares, 
must be assumed to be brought by God under the 

* P. 360 ; ii., p. 247. 

t Pp. 313-14, etc. 

J Unterrichtj p. 26. 

§ Ibid,f p. 26 ; E. und F., ill., 358. This saves the possi- 
bility of Christ's sinlessness. 
II P. 360. 

t P. 357. 

** P. 368. In the Ist edition Bitschl wrote : " Sin is judged 
of by God not as the definitive design of contradicting the 
known will of God, but as the relative stage of ignorance " 
(iii., p. 338). In the later editions the word "relative" is 
suppressed, and we read simply *'• but as ignorance," p. 363. 
This is important, in view of the remarks in Lehen, ii. p. 200. 

ft Eph. iv. 17-19. 


category of sins of ignorance.* If cases of definitive 
obduracy occur, it has been already remarked that 
they are supposed to be dealt with by annihilation, f 

With equal decision, we have next to observe, 
E.itschl rejects from his theology the conception of 
" original " or " inherited " sin, which, he thinks, 
would, if true, destroy responsibility, and make 
education impossible, t A doctrine of original sin is, 
in fact, incompatible with his theory of knowledge, 
whicji allows no subsistence to the soul other than that 
which it has in its activities. Sin, in his view, not 
only originates in will, but consists only in acts of 
will. Children are not bom with any bias to sin, and 
the acknowledged universality of sin in the race is to 
be accounted for as the result of ignorance, of the 
natural desire for unlimited freedom, of education, 
example, and perverted social influences. Yet the 
sinful act, he teaches, does not cease with itself. It 
reacts upon the will which produces it, and creates a 
sinful propensity, in the end a habit, from which 

 P. .S69. Pfleiderer ingenioasly points out that Bitschl 
himself is an " intellectaaJist '' in his view of sin. '*It is 
noteworthy," he says, "that Bitschl in his theory of sin 
plants himself quite upon the ground of the Greek intellectual- 
ism, elsewhere so sharply judged by him." — Die RU, Theol,, 
p. 68. 

t ii., pp. 140-2 ; iii., p. 359. In the latter passage, how- 
ever, the language is more general. 

X Pp. 126, 319-20, 323, etc. It should be observed that 
while making it a reproach to the doctrine of original sin that 
it ignores the gradation of sin, Bitschl himself has only two 
cUisses of sin— sins of ignorance, which are pardonable, and 
the sin of definitive resistance to the will of God. Cf . Dorner's 
criticism in SysU of Doct,^ iv., p. 66 (E, T.). 



farther sins proceed. It thus develops into evil 
character.* But socially, also, it does not end with 
itself. The relations of individuals in society, — ^their 
reciprocal actions, their example and influence, the 
unseen ramifications of their deeds, — bind them in 
indissoluble connection, and give rise to what, in con- 
trast with the Kingdom of God, may be called " a 
kingdom of sin,'' t in the common guilt of which all 
in some measure partiGipate.t 

With the doctrine of sin in Bitschl coheres, in the 
next place, his doctrine of guiUy which, again, is not 
to be understood in the sense of the ordinary theology 
as obligation to punishment,§ but it is to be con- 
ceived of, first, as a gysjlt'conaciouaneaa — ^the sense of 
dissatisfaction and self-blame which accompanies non- 
f ulfllment or violation of duty |{ ; and second, as real 

* Pp. 319-20, 331, etc. Ritschl is undoubtedly right in 
laying stress on this tendency of sin to produce a sinful pro- 
pensity (^Hang)f and develop into evil character. Bat such 
propensity is as inconsistent with his theory of knowledge, and 
necessitates as much a permanent basis of the soul, as the 
doctrine of an inherited bias. If sin consists not only of acts, 
but of permanent dispositions, there is no a priori reason, why 
these should not be Inherited. 

t P. 320. 

:j: In this way Bitschl supposes himself able to uphold the 
sacramental character of infant baptism (p. 321). But children 
do not yet share this " common " guilt — which cannot be dis- 
tinguished from the pei'sonal guilt which each contracts 
through yielding to the evil influences around him — and on 
Bitschl's theory have no sin, either actual or common, to wash 
away ; therefore need no r^eneration. Infant baptism is as 
great a stumbling-block to Kitschl as it was to Pelagiu& 

§ Pp; 40i 48, 60; 

II P. 56; 


separation from Gk)d, and hindrance to fellowship 
with Him — ^the result of the distrust or indifference 
which the bad consciousness occasions.* It is this 
experience of separation from God which, on Eitschrs 
showing, is the real core or essence of the punishment 
of sin, so far as, ex (xmeessis, the punitive idea (which 
rests on the rejected theory of '^ rights") is to be 
admitted into Christianity at all.t Physical evils, on 
the other hand, have no necessary relation to sin, 
and wear the aspect of punishment only through 
the guilt-consciousness so reckoning them.t The same 
evils, from another point of view, would be regarded 
as helps to freedom, or as fatherly chastisements, and 
disciplines of love.§ Underlying this representation 
of evils as punishments there is, however, the truth 
resulting from the fact that the world is constituted 
by God for His own end — ^the Kingdom of God — viz., 
that an opposed relation to this end necessarily 
involves men in conflict with the divine order, and 
entails on them evils.|| As it is put elsewhere, for the 
mechanical relation between character and reward 
(good or evil) there is substituted the organic relation 
of ground and consequence — of seed and fruit.^ This 
suffices, in BitschFs view, to explain the use made of 

 Pp. 41, 62, 66, 83, 316-17 ; UnterricM, p. 30. 

t Pp. 41, 49, 345, etc. "Since I here provisionally, dia- 
lecticallj, allow the correctness of this whole theological view 
to stand," etc. (p. 49). The ** dialectic " character of much of 
Ritschl's reasoning on this sabject needs to be kept in mind. 

t Pp. 58, 383-36, 337, 346, etc. 

§ Pp. 43, 333-4, etc. 

II P. 337. 

^ Vhterricht, p; 16» 


the representation of reward and punishment in the 
New Testament — ^the thought, e,g,, of a Last Judg- 
ment.* What is not admitted is that there is any 
exercise of a properly punitive will of God. This 
teaching, applied by Kitschl to physical evils generally, 
has a special bearing on the Scripture doctrine of 
death as the penalty of sin.f It is admitted by 
Kitschl that Paul teaches this doctrine ; no little 
pains, indeed, is spent in the analysis of the Pauline 
argument; but the conclusion reached is that this 
thought of the Apostle is no theological rule for us.| 
" It is no necessary element of the Christian view of 
the world " ; § is, in short, to be rejected. The weak- 
ness of Kitschl's position on this whole subject is that, 
while professing to found on Scripture, and be guided 
by it, he is in constant conflict with its plainest 
declarations. The retributive aspect of the divine 
government is one ingrained so deeply in the general 
teaching of Jesus and His Apostles that it might 
seem impossible for any candid reader of the New Testa- 

 Unterrichtj p. 17. " The scheme of retribution in the Last 
Judgment (Rom. ii. 6-12 ; 2 Cor. v. 10, etc.) is superseded by 
the analogy of seed arid harvest (Gal. vi. 7, 8),'* Bitschl does 
not seem to recognise that justice may be truly punitive 
though embodied in the natural order, or wrought out through 
natural laws. 

t R, nnd F., iii., pp. 46, 339, etc. 

t P. 341. 

§ Ibid, Yet Bitschl in one place specifically distinguishes 
the death of Christ from that of other men in this, ** that Jesus 
knows Himself to be excepted from the fate of death, and 
thinks of His dying only as a voluntary act of surrender of 
His life to God."— ii., p. 83, What, if death is the general 
doom, is the meaning of this ? 


ment to ignore it.* We are warned, indeed, against 
making individual suffering the measure of individual 
sin,t but that a general connection exists between 
natural and moral evil, and that God frequently 
makes use of physical evils as the instruments of 
His judgments,t — ^that, in any case, sin will not be 
allowed to go unpunished — are truths " writ large " 
on Scripture from its first page to its last. 

The doctrine of sin, as above expounded, defines the 
general limits of the Eitschlian doctrine of Redemp- 
tion, to the exposition of which, with its results, we 
now proceed. It is easy to see, from the principles 
laid down, the broad lines on which this doctrine of 
redemption must be constructed. It need not be 
said that Eitschl rejects absolutely the ordinary satis- 
faction-theory of the death of Christ. There are no 
premises in his system from which such a theory — or 
any modification of it — could be deduced. There is no 
principle in the character of Grod demanding the 
punishment of sin for its own sake ; no wrath of God 
against sin ; no objective condemnation resting on the 
race — ^the Pauline Kara/cpt/xa — from which, as a first 
step in his salvation, the sinner needs deliverance. 
The sole obstacle to his reconciliation with God lies in 
his own guilt-consciousness, and in the distrust of God 
which this engenders. For the removal of this there 

* Cf. Bertrand, Une nouvelle Conception^ etc., pp. 282-92. 

t Luke xili. 1-5 ; John ix. 3. But Jesus denounces woes 
upon the Pharisees, predicts the judgments of God on 
Jerusalem, warns of the unquenchable fire of Gehenna, etc. 

:|: So in the Old Testament prophets continually. Cf.,f.^., 
Isa. ill. 10, 11; Amos iv. 


is needed no such atonement for sins as the ordinary 
theory supposes, but only the full Eevelation of the 
Fatherly love and forgiving grace of God — a Reve- 
lation now given us by Christ in His life and death of 
obedience to the Father's will.* Even forgiveness of 
sins, in this connection, does not, so far as appears 
from the theory, imply that there is any displeasure 
at sin on God's side which requires to be set aside, or 
that any change takes place whatever in Crod's dispo- 
sitions or relations to the sinner; it does not even 
mean that guilt, so far as it denotes real demerit, is 
removed, for this, Bitscbl informs us, cannot take 
place t ; it only conveys the assurance that, in fellow- 
ship with Christ, sinners have access to God, and are 
received into communion with Him, without their 
sin, or consciousness of guilt, forming any hindrance 
thereto. This, in the Bitschlian way of stating 
things, is Justification, j: 

But what now, on this hypothesis, of the connection 
uniformly declared in Scripture to exist between 

* Speaking of the woman who was a sinner, Bitschl says — 
'* Because Jesus represents in His Person the grace of God, 
as also the normal fellowship of man with God, He removes 
in her the hindrance to her fellowship with God through her 
sins in the degree in which the impression of His personality 
has overcome the natural distrust and friyolity of the sinful 
woman." — i?. 'tmd F., iii., p. 507. 

t P. 68. " The removal {Aufhehwng') of guilt and of guilt- 
consciousness would be in contradiction to the validity of the 
rule of truth for God, as also for the conscience of the sinner " 
(p. 513). *' The Gospel of forgiveness of sins does not remove 
the feeling of guilt for past sins, but only the effect of this in 
separation from God, or the distrust of God inhering in it." 

X See passages below. 


forgiveness of sins and the sufferings and death of 
Christ? The fact of this connection Kitschl freely 
admits. We do not exhaust the significance of Christ 
for our redemption, he grants, when we view Him 
merely as Revealer. "Rather does He Himself, 
first of all, and after Him the oldest witnesses, 
connect that consequence with the fact of His death/' * 
Christ Himself, he allows, attributes a sacrificial and 
saving virtue to His death, and all the writers of the 
New Testament, with the exception of James and 
Jude, do the same.t But this is not to be understood 
in the sense that Christ made satisfaction for men by 
enduring in their stead the penalty of sin, or that His 
death has any relation to " expiation " or " propitia- 
tion '' in the ordinary sense. Sin, as we have seen, is 
not a thing that requires to be punitively dealt with, 
or to have atonement made for it. The translation of 

* JR. wnd K, ii., pp.^41, 186. Bitschl vindicates the genuine- 
ness of Christ's utterances on the saving virtue of His death 
against Baur, and has lengthened exegetical discussioDS on 
the significance of the vicarious sufferings of the servant of 
Jehovah in Isa. liii., and on the meaning of Mark x. 45 ('' The 
Son of Man came not to be ministered unto," etc.). The refer- 
ence to the " sin-offering " in Isa. liii. 10 he arbitrarily pro- 
nounces a corruption of the text (p. 64) ; and Christ's use of 
the term *' ransom" in Mark, he explains to mean that '^ His 
guiltless death serves to shield the members of His community 
from experiencing in death complete annihilation and frustra- 
tion of the end of existence" {die wile Verniohtunff und 
ZweckLongheit) 1 (p. 87). This which can only refer to 
subjective apprehensions, is elucidated by the theory of 
sacrifice below. Bitschl also holds (a curious point of con- 
tact with the advocates of a limited atonement) that Christ 
represents His death as in room of " many," not " all " (p. 85). 

f Unterrichtf p. 36. 


the Hebrew word Kipper (to cover) in the sense of " to 
propitiate" (iXao-fcco-tfou, German aiihnen) is a mis* 
take.* All that is needed, as already shown, is that 
the sinner's distrust in God should be removed, his 
confidence i*e-established, and his will brought to 
appropriate God's end. Christ's death, in Bitschl's 
view, was fitted in a special way to produce this 
result. It was the culmination of His lifelong 
obedience, the supreme proof of His fidelity to His 
Father in the fulfilment of His vocation, and the 
ultimate guarantee of the reality of that new relation 
to God which is exhibited in His Person, t This is all 
practically. If it is asked, how, then, should His 
death be spoken of as a propitiation, a sacrifice? 
Bitschl answers by a theory of his own as to the 
meaning of the Old Testament sacrifices.:}: Sacrifice, 
he claims, had nothing to do with the removal of 
guilt.§ It was a gift, brought by or for those who 

* ii., pp. 187, 200-3. 

t Unterricht, pp. 36, 37, 38 ; R. und F., lit., pp. 422, 611-13, 
524, 674, etc. " Christ's death," we are told, " in the view of 
the Apostles, is the compendious expression for the fact that 
Christ has inwardly maintained His religious unity with God, 
and this Revelation-position in the whole course of His life " 
(p. 511). His redemption '^was accomplished through the 
demonstration (^Bevodhnmg) of His fidelity in His vocation 
and His blessed fellowship with God in suffering even unto 
death " (p. 10). So the connection of justification with the 
work of Christ is said to be conditioned "by the positive 
determination of the worth of the sufferings of Christ as 
occasion of His patience, and proof of His fidelity in His 
vocation, and of the steadfastness of His faith " (p. 524). 

X He refers to H. Schultz and Baudissin in support of his 

§ It is " not a covering of sin before the face of God " 


already stood within the bond of the covenant, and 
had for its end to mediate fellowship with God.* It 
sheltered, not from the consequences of sin, but from 
the majesty of God, in accordance with the old 
Hebrew idea that to see the face of God meant 
destruction. t Its ground is not the sinfulness of 
man, but the distance between man as weak, perish- 
able creature — " flesh " — and the Almighty. It is a 
later point of view if Isaiah connects this fear of God 
with the sense of sin.J The essence of the sacrificial 
ordinance, therefore, was to disarm fear, and enable 
the creature to draw near to God.§ In like manner, 
Christ is our sacrifice because through the influence 
of His death in dispelling distrust and awakening 

(it., pp. 199, 200), but covers the "person" (pp. 188, 200). 
Assuredly, but it is the person as sinful^ and his sins as well. 
This, however, Ritschl denies. "The protective covering of 
the oflEerers from the face of God includes in general no refer- 
ence to the sins of the same, but has respect only to the fact 
that they are perishable men " (p. 204). 

* Pp. 202-4. Ritschl lays stress on the fact that the sacri- 
fices were intended for persons already within the covenant 
of Qod's grace, and that no sacrifices availed for those who 
sinned "presumptuously" (pp. 186, 199). This can hardly be 
affirmed of the sacrifice by which the covenant itself was 
formed, to which he says Christ's death is specially likened 
(p. 168). It cannot be doubted, in any case, that Christ's 
sacrifice is represented as the means by which sinners formerly 
alien are reconciled to God, and brought into His covenant. 
The sinning " with a high hand " has its analogue also under 
the Gospel (Heb. x. 26). 

t This is Ritschrs interpretation of the Old Testament idea 
of divine " Holiness." 

X Pp. 202-3 ; cf. Isa. vi. 5. 

§ Pp. 196, 204, etc. 


confidence, we are enabled to draw near to Crod. 
Kitschl finds the kej to its meaning in that saying 
of Peter: ''Christ also hath once suffered for sins 
, . . that He might bring us to God."* In the 
voluntary offering up. of Himself, Christ is at the 
same time our Priest, and Kitschl lays stress on 
the idea that He was a Priest for Himself, in main- 
taining His own nearness to God, before He could 
be a Priest for others. It will generally be felt, we 
believe, that however the connection of the death of 
Christ with human salvation is to be explained, this 
sacrificial theory of Bitschrs is a lame and inconse- 
quential attempt at interpretation.f Kitschl himself 
allows that it is the feeling of guilt which most of all 
keeps the sinner back from God,}: yet he will not 
concede that the Old Testament sacrifices had any 
relation to guilt, or were in any sense a " covering " 
of it.§ It is, however, impossible to read the passages 
bearing on this subject without perceiving that certain 

* P. 214 ; TThterrichtj p. 39 ; cf. 1 Peter iii. 18. 

t This is conceded by Baring, and some others of the school, 
who seek to give a more positive aspect to the theory of 
redemption. See next chapter. 

{ This surely must have acted in Old Testament times as 
well, and we have many evidences that it did so. How, then, 
should fellowship be maintained if no provision be made for 
the removal of this guilt-consciousness ? It is to be observed, 
also, that Isa. vi. 5, in which this feeling is allowed to appear, 
is, on Eitschl's theory, earlier than the Levitical code of 

§ Even on Bitschl's own principles, no reason can be given 
for the interruption of the fellowship, and the provocation 
of wrath, in the members of the community, but the sins for 
the sake of which the sacrifices were offered. 


of the sacrifices at least — to some extent probably 
all — stood in relation to sin, and were a means of 
averting its punitive consequences. "The priest 
shall make atonement for the sin that he hath 
committed, and it shall be forgiven him."* This, 
at all events, is most clearly the view taken of the 
sacrifices by the New Testament writers. It is only 
by a tour de force of exegesis that Ritschl can evade 
their testimony, or explain them in a sense suitable to 
his theory.t 

In now advancing to look more particularly at the 
effects of this redeeming work of Christ in Justifica- 
tion and Heconciliation, we come to the very kernel 
of Hitschrs dogmatic system. The doctrine of justi- 
fication is, as we saw, that part of his system to the 
elucidation of which his labour is primarily directed ; 

 Lev. iv. 35, and passim. Cf. 1 Sam. ill. 14 : "The iniquity 
of Eli*s house shall not be purged with sacrifice and offering 
for ever." For Bitschl's attempt to explain away this phraseo- 
logy, see iZ. und F., ii., pp. 196-7. 

f Thus he evades Paul's statement, ** Christ hath redeemed 
us from the curse of the law," etc. (Gal. iii. 13), by the extra- 
ordinary interpretation that, in Paul's view, the law in question 
was not the law of God, but a law of angels (p. 249); the 
passages in John on Christ's propitiation (1 John ii. 2 ; iv. 10) 
he gets over by saying that we cannot precisely determine the 
meaning of the texts (p. 213) ; the writer to the Hebrews, who 
flpeaks of Christ making propitiation for the sins of the people 
(ii. 17), was a Jew unskilled in Hebrew, and mistakes the 
meaning of the formula he uses (pp. 213-14), etc. The 
Beptuagint translators are involved in the same condemnation 
of misunderstanding Hebrew usage in translating IXdvKtaOaij 
etc. But as Pfleiderer and others have remarked, the error is 
quite as likely to lie with the Doctor of Gottingen. 


yet, owing to the manifold shiftings of his point of 
view, it is, perhaps, the most difficult of all to reduce 
to coherence. Kitschl, in his own estimation, is a 
thorough-going, indeed the only consistent, upholder 
of the Protestant doctrine of Justification by Faith 
alone — justification, i.e., not by good works, or, as 
Pietism would have it, by germinal holiness,* but 
wholly of God's free grace — the result of what 
Kitschl calls a " synthetic " judgment of God.t Thus 
far good ; but when we inquire. What, then, is justi- 
fication ? the answer we get is not so clear. It is not 
in strictness the annulling of guilt ; X still less is it 
the lifting off from the sinner of any judicial con- 
demnation resting on him, or the pronouncing of him 
righteous in the eyes of the law. It as little moves 
in this circle of forensic notions, as it is to be under- 
stood in the Catholic sense of making the sinner 
inwardly righteous by infusion of grace. § It is 
simply, as already explained, the act of God in 

* R, und V.y iii., pp. 82, 104. This theory, however, that 
God imputes to the believer the fruition of the holiness which 
he sees in germ in his will is held by more than Ketists (was, 
e.g.j Kant's), and is not wholly avoided by Ritschl himself when 
he comes to speak of God as imputing to us our " fellowship " 
with Christ. 

t Pp. 78, 600. This means that God does not " analytically " 
declare the sinner righteous by first, as in the Catholic 
doctrine, making him so ; but that by a ** creative " act of 
will he gives him the relation of fellowship to himself despite 
his personal sinfulness. " The synthetic judgment," as he 
explains, " is thought of as the ground of the changed relation 
of sinners to God through an act of the will of God, without 
the content of the moral change coming into view " (p. 78). 

% See above, p. 160. 

§ H, vnd v., iii., pp. 35, 78, etc. 


graciously receiving the sinner into fellowship with 
Himself — giving him access to himself — ^notwith- 
standing the sin and guilt that still cleave to him.* 
It is not the annulling of the guilt, but the removal 
of the relation of estrangement which guilt creates.t 
The sinner, that is, notwithstanding the sin and 
guilt of his past life, or still cleaving to him, is de- 
livered from his fears, and has trust in God awakened 
in him. Since, however, the instrumentality which 
effects this change is the view of God in the Gospel as 
the God and Father of Jesus Christ, into whose 
fellowship we are taken up, it follows that the con- 
sciousness of Justification is inseparable from the 
consciousness of Adoption, or acceptance into the 
relation of sonship to God — that, in fact, justification 
and adoption are but different aspects of the same 
thing. J The three expressions — forgiveness of sins, 

* " Justification or reconciliation is the will of God as 
Father to admit sinners, notwithstanding their sins and their 
consciousness of guilt, to that fellowship with Himself which 
includes the right of sonship and eternal life " (p. 116 ; ct 
Unterricht, p. 32). "When God forgives or pardons sin, He 
gives effect to His will that the contradiction in which sinners 
stand to Him, expressed in guilt, shall not hinder the fellow- 
ship of men with Him " (pp. 61-2). " Justification signifies 
the leading back of the sinner into nearness with God ; 
the removal of the separation from God resulting from 
the existing contradiction to God, and the accompanying 
guilt-consciousness " (p. 96). 

t Forgiveness of sins " is to be defined as the removal of the 
separation which, in consequence of sin, has entered between 
God and man" (p. 62). 

i Pp. 90-4, 132, etc. Adoption, indeed, better expresses the 
new relation than justification, for "the attribute of father 
stands in relation to the peculiar duties and rights of the 


justification, and adoption — are practically s3nion7- 
mou8.* And this new relation has for its result 
Beoonciliation — the appropriation bj the sinner of 
Gkxi's end as his own — unity of will with God.t Yet 
— and here comes in the confusing element formerly 
adverted to — ^justification is not allowed to have any 
direct relation to this ethical end of Christianity, life 
in the service of the Kingdom of Grod.t It has direct 
relation only to the religious end, so-called, of freedom 
over the world, and is no more than the " presupposi- 
tion," or sine qud non, of the other or ethical end.§ 

EitschFs view on this critical point on the aim 
(Abzweckung) of justification is not only gravely 
challengeable in itself — ^for why, we are compelled to 

fellowship of the family. For this reason all investigations 
on the position of God with respect to the forgiveness of sins 
hitherto derived from the analogy of the head of a State, of 
the legal and relatively moral fellowship of the.members of a 
nation, appear incongruent with the Christian idea of God '* 
(p. 92). This is really to do what Bitschl should have done 
at first: give up the whole scheme of justification as un- 
suitable to the presuppositions of his theology. In consistency 
he should apply the same reasoning to the idea of the " King- 
dom of God." For the formula of king and subjects is 
equally unsuitable to the scheme of the family. 

 Unterriehty p. 32. 

t Pp. 76, 77, It will be seen by comparison with the first 
of the passages in the note on justification on last page how 
Bitschl sometimes equates reconciliation with justification, 
again more narrowly distinguishes it as the ** effect " of the 
latter in the removal of the " active enmity " to God. See 
remarks below. 

X p. 503. '* Although justification or forgiveness of sins has 
no direct bearing in its aim {Abzwecku7ig) on the calling forth 
of good works," etc. 

§ Pp; 35, 196, ete. 


ask, should justification, though not of works, yet not 
be directed to the production of good works, or of 
holy living as its end 1 why should it not he, as the 
ordinary view supposes, and Scripture seems to tea^h, 
in order to sanctification ? * — ^but in its further work- 
ing out gets, as we shall see, into hopeless conflict 
with itself. Justification, we have just been taught, 
has to do directly with ,the religious, and not with 
the ethical end of Christianity. Its direct aim is 
" eternal life," t i.e., in the Bitschlian sense, superior- 
ity to the world wrought by faith in God, and in 
itself has no bearing on the production of holiness 
or good works.J This is not simply an eccentricity 
of theory in Bitschl, but is a necessary result of the 
original separation of religion and morality in his 
system. Baligion, in the Bitschlian view, has one 
origin ; morality has another and independent one. 
The two lie apart in their root, and can only after- 
wards be mechanically combined. A together with is 
all he can ever find for them even in the nature of 

* One would be disposed to say that in strictness justifica- 
tion on Eit8chl*8 system has neither end in view, but aims 
directly at the restoration of trust and fellowship with God, 
which are the sine qnd non of both freedom from the world 
and good works. 

t Pp. 94, 465, etc. 

X " Qnder no circumstances can the positive proof for the 
necessity of forgiveness of sins be derived from its reference 
to the end of sanctification or good works, which doubtless 
comes into consideration in the Catholic doctrine of making 
righteous (^Oereohtmaohv/ng) as the end of the same, but never 
in the Evangelical doctrine of declaring righteous (^Oereoht- 
tpreohvngy* — P. 465. Cf. Frank's criticism of this position 
of Bitschl in his Die hirchliche Bedeutung, etCi, pp; 21-3 


God ; much more in the experience of man, and the 
system of the world. But then there are other 
elements in the Bitschlian view which make it im- 
possible to rest in this dualism, and the remarkable 
spectacle is accordingly witnessed of the system work- 
ing itself round till it reaches, to all appearance, a 
standpoint precisely the opposite of that with which 
it set out. In this new point of view the moral end 
is brought into the closest connection with justifica- 
tion ; is taken up into it, and viewed as its goal ; 
while the consciousness or assurance of justification 
is made so dependent on good works that we seem 
almost brought back to the Catholic doctrine. 

In the form of the system just presented, religion 
has no necessary relation to morality. The supreme 
end is the "eternal life." Gk>od works are rejected 
as even concomitant causes {NehenwrsoAihen) of the 
latter.* A direct bearing of justification on the 
ethical end is denied. Yet this representation we are 
asked to combine with the supremely ethical view of 
God given in the religion of Jesus, and with the idea 
of the Kingdom of God as the '' Selbstzweck '' and 
"Endzweck" of God in the creation of the world. 
How is this synthesis to be accomplished ? One way 
in which Eitschl seeks to bring it about is by 
recognising an " organic " relation between the religious 
end of freedom, and the moral life, regarded as the 
sphere in which the spiritual freedom is exercised, 
conserved, and strengthened.t Even this does not 

* Pp. 478-9. 

t P. 488. Bitschl quotes Bernard's words, non eayjia 
regnandi, sed ma regnandi. 


solve the difficulty of how morality should appear as 
the " Endzweck " of God in the world, and yet be a 
means to another end than itself — the supreme end 
of religious " freedom." Besides, what is this spiritual 
freedom on which Bitschl so much insists, when 
emptied of all ethical purpose and content ? Of what 
worth is it, or to what uses is it to be put ? How 
can there be a freedom sustained by trust in Crod, 
whose character is love, and whose world-end is ethical, 
which yet is per se indifferent to ethical ends ? Or is 
it conceivable that a Being of such a character should 
receive sinners to Himself in the act called justifica- 
tion without respect to the moral end He means them 
to fulfil? How, it might even be asked, should 
justification be necessary for the restoration of religious 
communion, if the relation between religion and 
morality were not more intimate than Bitschl 
supposes? For justification, even in EitschPs view, 
has to do with sin and guilt, i,e, with transgressions 
of the moral law; and why should these form any 
bar to rdigious communion, if religion and ethics 
were not one in root? The very suggestion of an 
"organic" relation (for which, however, no just 
ground is laid in the principles of the system) involves 
a change to a different point of view ; and by stress 
of such considerations — almost, one would think, 
without perceiving the strange contrariety in which 
he involves himself — Bitschl is forced back upon a 
series of statements which, as already hinted, are 
nearly the reverse of his original position. 

In this new aspect of the subject, it is not justifica- 
tion, but reconciliation, t.e. the removal of t**** 



sinner's active hostility to God, and resultant unity 
of will and end with God,* which is the ruling 
notion. The two notions are now, indeed, declared 
to be " synon3rmous " t — only that reconciliation is 
the wider notion, the equivalent of justification with 
inclusion of its consequence, j: The indispensable- 
ness of connecting justification with the moral end is 
brought out with the strongest emphasis.§ It is 
declared to be the ethical end of the Kingdom of God 
which called forth in Jesus the knowledge of redemp- 
tion, and decision as to its manner, and redemption 
is related to this final end as means. |{ Faith, again, 
which is the condition of justification, is represented 
as including "a direction of the will to God as its 
highest end,"ir aiid as involving the acceptance of the 
divine self-end as its own.** It thus falls under the 

* P. 76 ; Unterriohtf p. 33. 

t P- 76. 

X Pp. 76, 83, 97. Cf . pp. 186, 567, in which the "synonymity " 
is extended to include regeneration. See below. 

§ "If the declaring sinners just is not to allow their 
destination to an active righteousness to appear superfluous,*' 
etc. (p. 75). " If the removal of guilt (justification) must be 
thought of only as an act of God determining the relation of 
sinners, and not as the effecting of a reciprocal agreement, 
then no satisfactory ground is shown for a religion with a 
moral aim (Abztveckung), . . The removal of guilt, thought 
of as a real consequence, includes in itself a change in the 
guilt-consciousness of such a nature that in it the contradiction 
of the will against God wrought in sin is no more active" 
(p. 77). 

II Pp. 9, 10. 
IT ^. 97, 100, 102. 

** P. 481. — " A man believes in God or trusts in Him com- 
pletely, in so far as he recognises in the realisation of His 


category of obedience,* and Boman Catholic theo- 
logians are even justified in saying that love to God 
constitutes its essence.t Good works are therefore 
necessary as the consequences and proofs of faith, t 
and it is in the exercise of the functions of the 
spiritual life — ^trust in providence, patience in suffer- 
ing, etc. — and in these alone that the believer attains 
to the certainty of his justification.§ It is question- 
able, however, whether, on Ritschl's view, certainty 
on justification is attainable at all. Kitschl agrees 
with Mohler in expressing a disgust at people who 
trouble others with questions about the certainty of 
their salvation, or, even indirectly, seem quite sure 
about their own. || 

EiDgdom his. own most proper (eigensten) end." Granting, 
then, that it is not this aspect of faith, but its aspect of trast in 
God, which is directly involved in justification, how can it 
still be maintained that the latter has no direct relation to 
moral action as its end ? 

* P. 97. 

t P. 102. 

J P. 481. 

§ P. 167. — "Outside of these functions," he says, "is no 
place for certainty of justification by faith." 

II P. 145. Strangest of all in this connection is the position 
of Bitschl that faith is not to be looked for at all till mature 
years. ** Faith in Christ can be expected first in mature age ; " 
'* the e Greets of the grace of God in moral training and action " 
are earlier than faith in Christ ; ** from the exercise of humility 
and trust towards parents and teachers will proceed the right 
feeling of guilt towards Christ, and the trust in Him, in the 
riper period of life." — B, und F., iii., pp. 566, ff. This is again 
very nearly the old Catholic position, represented, e,g,j in 
Clement of Alexandria, according to which moral training 
precedes the full entrance on the Christian lif e* 


There is yet, [however, another step needed to be 
taken by Bitschl to complete the circle. We saw 
earlier that it is a cardinal principle of the Ritschlian 
theology that all the saving acts of God — ^justification 
indaded — are known to us only on their subjective 
side as expressed in the spiritual functions they call 
forth.* These functions are, in truth, the facts for 
us. KitschVs last step, therefore, is to translate 
justification and the related acts of Qod into their 
corresponding self-activities in man, in which alone 
they subsist, and are really known to us. Justifi- 
cation, on this showing, is known only in the 
changed spiritual relation of the sinner to God — ^in 
what is elsewhere called his reconciliation — ^in his 
altered will, his exercise of trust and obedience, his 
love to €k)d and man, his patience in suffering, etc. — 
in other words, in the activities of the new life. Thus 
we come round, finally, to the view that not only 
are forgiveness of sins, justification, and adoption 
(which express something objective), as formerly 
declared, " synon3rmous " with reconciliation (the 
subjective effect), but all, again, are, in the individual 
experience, equivalent to regeneration {^euzeuffung), 
the new birth (Wiedergeburt), the making righteous 

 Pp. 33-4. We ** leam to know the acts of God, justifica- 
tion, the new birth, the commnnication of the Holy Spirit, the 
granting of the blessedness of the highest good, by the analysis 
of the corresponding self -activities in which the .workings of 
God are appropriated by men ... in their mirroring in the 
subject. . . . Outside the self -activity in which we appropriate 
the workings of God and realise them for our salvation, we 
have no understanding of the objective dogmas as religious 
truths." See Chap. ii. 



{Justwm efficere). ^* Therefore," Kitschl says expressly, 
^' regeneration, or less exactly, the new birth, can, as 
predicate of the individual believer, in point of fact 
not be distinguished from justification, or reconcilia- 
tion, or adoption. . . In this sense Melanchthon 
treats justificare, regenerarey and justum efficere as 
equivalent in signification," etc.* The result of this 
blurring of all distinct notions can easily be anticipated. 
The objective is, as said, translated into the subjective, 
and a view barely distinguishable from that of 
Catholicism is the result.t The "new birth" has, 
indeed, in any case, for Bitschl no further signification 
than is already given in the other terms, specially in 
adoption, which is explicitly equated with justification, 
as this with reconciliation, etc.]; The origin of the 
new life "is and remains a mystery," on which 
nothing can be said.§ 

We are not, however, by any means yet finished 
with the Eitschlian doctrine of Justification. In the 

• Pp. 666-7. 

t Cf. Bertrand, Une mmvelle Coticeptiony etc., pp. 137, 

t Pp. 566*7. — " Under the presupposition that God accepts 
us as His children, since He reconciles us with Himself 
through Christ, reconciliation (^Versohnung) is equivalent 
to adoption, and the possession of justification or reconciliation 
equivalent to sonship to Ood {Ootteskindsohaft), If now the 
image of generation {Erzetbgung) is applied to the founding 
of the latter (sonship) by the gracious judgment of God, it 
results that adoption, which is equivalent to reconciliation, 
can be designated as a regeneration (Netaeugung) by God," 
etc. Gf. pp. 90, fE. ; on justification as equivalent to adoption, 
pp. 169, etc. 

§ P. 673 (note). 


ordinaiy Church system, the acceptance of sinners by 
God in justification is mediated by an imputation 
of the righteousness or merits of Christ, and it is 
characteristic of Eitschl that he seeks to relate him- 
self to this thought also. The ordinary view, of 
course, he rejects ; but he thinks that the formula is 
capable of a suitable sense on other presuppositions.* 
He avails Himself here, Hke Schleiermacher,t of the 
category of representation. As it was the function 
of the priest of old to represent the people before God, 
" so,'* thinks Eitschl, " is Christ, as Priest, the repre- 
sentative of the community which, in the perfect 
obedience of His own personal life. He brings to God." J 
In the first edition, he put the matter generally thus : 
'^ God imputes to the members of the community of 
Christ their fellowship with Christ as the condition 
under which He admits them to fellowship with Him- 
self,"§ and used illustrations drawn from intercession 
(Moses, David) to show how a probability arises that 
a person admitted to the fellowship of a good man is 
worthy also to be admitted to the fellowship of a 
third person he has injured. || If this roundabout 
explanation is to be taken strictly it points to some 
worthiness in the believer himself as the ultimate 
ground of his acceptance — a supposition which Kitschl 

* Pp. 68, 159. 

t Cf. his Der chrUt. Olaube^ ii., p. 133. 

t P. 515. 

§ P. 482 (1st edit.). The whole discussion is considerably 
altered in later editions. Cf . in 3rd edit. pp. 64-70 ; 515-16. 
Cf. Zeberit ii., p. 219. 

II P. 68 (1st edit.). Cf. J. Weiss, in JDie NacJifolge ChrUti 
p. 124. 


elsewhere energetically rejects. These ooinpromising 

illustrations are, however, dropped in later editions, 

and the formula is amended to read that '' God imputes 

to the community belonging to Christ the position 

(Stdlung) in relation to the love of God in which He 

maintained Himself through His obedience."* There 

would be force in the use of the term "impute" 

{anrechnen) in this connection, if it were argued that 

in any sense Christ's obedience formed the ground on 

which the new position was given t ; but little more 

seems intended, or can well be intended on Bitschl's 

principles, j: than that the position which Christ sustains 

to God is that into which believers are now, in point 

of fact, admitted. He is the representative, or 

" XJrbild," of that new relation of sonship to God into 

which, despite of their sins, believers are received.§ 

If Kitschl, notwithstanding, uses phrases which, 

strictly interpreted, would appear to imply more, they 

* P. 516 (3rd edit.) ; of. p. 69. 

f RitschI carefully confines himself (in later editions) to 
speaking of the imputation of Christ's '^ position " (Stellung) 
to believers, not — or only indirectly — of the righteousness 
that grounds it. But why <* impute/' when the standing is 
actually given 7 

X RitschI rejects the idea that Qod needs, as it were, to sup- 
plement the moral imperfection of those whom He wishes to 
admit to His fellowship by the righteousness of Christ (p. 68). 

§ Thus, .p. 614 — " The admission of the members of the 
Clmstian community to fellowship with God, notwithstanding 
their sins and feeling of guilt, which is expressed in the for- 
giveness of sins, has its typical (vorbildliohen) standard and 
historical ground in the fellowship of Christ with God, which 
He maintained unbroken in the whole course of His life, viz., 
in His willingness to suffer for the sake of His vocation, and in 
His patience, exercised even unto death," 


must be regarded as forms of '' value- jadgment/' or 
modes of representation to which too literal a meaning 
cannot be attached. Either this, or something of 
the real nature of " imputation/' must be admitted.* 
The kernel of his thought would seem to be that from 
the motive of love to Christ God shows favour, 
or is friendly, to those in fellowship with Christ.t 
But this involves a conditioning and limiting of love 
strangely at variance with his general theory that 
'* God is love," and nothing else. It suggests the 
questions — Has Crod, then, no love to the sinner for 
his own sake ? % And what is His attitude to those 

* What short of this, e.g,, is implied in snch sentences as the 
following in his main exposition ? — **• The worth which one has 
as an object of love is imputed to those who themselves lack this 
worth, but belong to Him who is the primary object of love. 
The position of Christ to God is imputed to His disciples, 
since God for Christ's sake accepts them into His effeotive love. 
But the position of Christ to God depends on His righteous- 
ness. Indirectly, therefore, the righteousness of Christ is 
imputed to His disciples, in order that they may be taken up 
into the love of Grod, as Christ is rooted in the same. ... It 
amounts to this, that the position to God which Christ enjoys 
through His exercise of righteousness is imputed to those who 
belong to Him by faith as His disciples, in order that they may 
be taken up eflfectively into the love of God " (p. 69). Either 
this is an accommodation of language to Pauline phraseology ,or 
it means that the new position given to believers is grounded 
on the imputation to them of a worth which they do not 
themselves possess, and would not be given to them apart 
from such imputation. It is difficult to distinguish this from 
the doctrine of the imputation of merit as a ground of accept- 
ance against which the principles of the Ritschlian theology 
are a protest. 

t P. 69. 

X Cf. John iii. 16 ; Horn. v. 6-8, etc. 


not yet in fellowship with Christ ? Whence, in short, 
the necessity of this mediation? Ritschrs theology 
affords no answer. 

The question just raised of the relation of the 
believer to Christ in justification connects itself with 
another in regard to which it is even more difficult 
to make clear Bitschl's precise position. Our remarks 
have hitherto gone on the supposition that the 
object of forgiveness of sins, justification, adoption, 
reconciliation — or however we may phrase it — ^is the 
individual. But this is by no means the opinion of 
our author. Not, in his judgment, the individual, 
but the Christ-founded "community" — by which in 
this connection can only be meant the Church — is 
the direct object of God's justifying act,* and the 
individual is entitled to share in the blessings of for- 
giveness and adoption only as he reckons himself in 
the community, and appropriates the promises made 
to it There is, as RitschFs critics have pointed out, 
a species of realism here curiously inconsistent with 
his usual nominalistic way of thinking, t The paradox, 
however, is one on which he is never weary of 
insisting, t It is not simply, what every one would 

* Ritschl announces this discovery to Diestel in a letter in 
1867, three years before the publication of his first volume. — 
Zeben, ii., pp. 47-8. " As certainly," he says, " is the recon- 
ciliation, or justification, or founding of the community prior 
to the justification of the individual, or rather to his con- 
sciousness of justification, as the community is presupposed 
in the sacrifice of the covenant," etc. (p. 47). 

t Cf. Bertrand, Une nouvelle Conception, etc., p. 422. 

t E.g., R. und F., iii., pp. 107, 132, 545-6. ** Justification,'* 
he says, " or reconciliation . . , relates in the first instance to 


admit to be true, that the society is logically prior to 
the individual, who is bom into it as his environment, 
enters into its heritage, and is dependent on it in 
innumerable ways for instruction, stimulus, and 
help ; that, in particular, the Church is the spiritual 
home and ordinary medium of salvation for the souls 
which by its ministries and fellowship it seeks to 
bring to Christ, and to build up in faith and good- 
ness,*— but Ritschl conceives of the "community" 
as somehow an entity by itself, on which, in its ideal 
or collective capacity, justification is conferred, and 
the individual partakes of the benefit, not imme- 
diately, but as member of the body.t Jesus, so far 

tbe whole of the religious community founded by Christ, 
which maintains the Gospel of the grace of God as the 
primary means of its continuancCi and to individuals under 
the condition that they enrol themselves in this community 
through faith in the Gospel " (p. 132). 

* Luther says somewhere — " The Church is full of the for- 
giveness of sins." This expresses the truth of which Ritschl's 
idea is the exaggeration. 

f Ritschl indeed explains, replying to criticism, that he does 
not oppose the community to individuals, but regards the 
individuals as suitably defined in the community, "for the 
community consists in its members" (ii., p. 161). Precisely ; 
but the bulk of his argument is meaningless unless justification 
is thought to apply to the community in some other way than 
it applies to the individuals. It is the community as such 
which with him is the immediate object of justification, and 
the members, as they enter, partake of this advantage. The 
community is not viewed as made up of the individually 
justified members. Eitschl has some strange feats of exegesis 
to make Paul agree with his ideas on this point. In Rom. 
ii. 26 he actually takes the expression " him who belie veth in 
Jesus," " in the sense of the category, i,e., collectively for the 
community of believers" (ii., p. 218). 


as we can interpret his thought, is viewed primarily 
as the founder of a community, and it is to this com- 
munity, regarded ideally as standing in the relation 
of faith to Himself, that the promises of the Gospel 
are given. We might illustrate by the analogy of a 
corporation or guild on which important privileges 
are bestowed, participation in which is only to be 
obtained by becoming enrolled in the fraternity. 
The Church is thus placed as an intermediary between 
the individual soul and God, and the stress laid on 
the necessity of identification with the community as 
the condition of justification is such that we almost at 
times seem brought back to the Catholic conception of 
extra ecdesia/m nvMa scUils. At the same time^ with 
all this insistence on the Church, we are left entirely 
in the dark as to where the true Church is to be 
found. Is it the Lutheran, or Anglican, or Eoman 
Catholic, or Greek, or Presbyterian Church, or any or 
all of these ? Or is it a matter of indifference which ? 
From aught that appears in Kitschl to the contrary, 
it might be imagined that a community of Christ, 
exhibiting all the attributes of a pure Church, had 
existed on earth in unbroken continuity from the 
beginning. Yet none knew better than Ritschl 
that such an idea would be utterly unhistorical. An 
important corollary from this view which should not 
be overlooked is that justification is, after all, not 
an act of personal forgiveness, or acceptance of the 
individual, at the time of his faith, but an eternal 
deed of the will of God in which the individual as 
such had no share. The religious consciousness may 
figure God to itself as forgiving, justifying, adopting, 


at the mom^it of believing j* but this is only a 
^' value- judging " way of looking at a transaction 
which actually has a totally different character. What 
is real is the eternal will of God that those who reckon 
themselves in this society of Christ's by faith shall 
have access to Himself without any hindrance arising 
from their past guilt. This will of God is gUUic and 
unchanging. It exists in the eternal deed once for 
all. There is no real specific act of pardon, or 
adoption, when the sinner turns to Christ in faith. 
The whole change is on the sinner's side, who now 
comes to the consciousness of the justification which 
existed all along as a privilege of the community. 

This mode of regarding the believer in his relation 
to the community explains to some extent the lines of 
Kitschrs solution of the difficult problem of the place 
of faith in the sinner's justification. Does faith 
precede justification, or does justification precede 
faith ? The objection to the ordinary view, which 
makes faith precede justification, and yet regards 
it as a result of regeneration, is frequently urged 
by Hitschl.t For if, as he argues, faith is a result 
of regeneration, and yet precedes justification, then 
we have the paradox that the sinner is already 
renewed, made a child of God, before he is forgiven. 
On the other hand, if justification comes first, and 
regeneration follows, we have the equal paradox that 
the sinner is justified before he believes. Notwith- 
standing his criticisms of others, Kitschl's own expres- 

* Cf. Ps. xxxii. 5 ; 1 John i. 9. 

t -B. und K, i., pp. 186, 283, 285, 291, 294 (E. T., pp. 180, 
268, 271, 276, 279), etc. 


sions on this subject are by no means free from 
difficulty and ambiguity.* Formally, he makes faith 
the " condition of justification " ; t but frequently also 
he speaks of faith as '^ called forth '' by justification 
or reconciliation, i.6. as its consequence. J The con- 
trariety here is palpable, though, unfortunately, it is 
too much of a piece with the habitual vagueness and 
fluctuation of expression in Eitschl which make it so 
difficult to ^n him down to any precise idea. Probably, 
however, the solution of the antinomy is to be sought 
in the distinction we have just seen made between 
the justification of the community and the justifica- 
tion of the individual. Ideally, the community, which 
is the direct object of the justifying act, is viewed as 
in fellowship with Christ, and therefore as believing. § 
Faith, from this highest standpoint, is the condition 
under which justification is granted. On the other 

* Ritschl) indeed, has no difficulty abont the antecedent 
regeneration. He gets rid of this by having no Holy Spirit 
to regenerate. It may be pointed out that the same difficulty 
aboat precedence arises on his own theory of justification of 
the community. If, e^.^ fellowship with Christ is made a 
condition of the justification of His community, this supposes 
a fellowship formed while the community (or its members) 
is yet t(n- justified or unpardoned. 

t iii., pp. 96, 132, 135, etc. ** The justification of sinners 
results under the condition of faith," etc. (p. 132). 

% Pp. 97, 132. Here the faith of the sinner appears as '* the 
result of justification.'* ''This new direction of the will to 
God, which is called forth by reconciliation [elsewhere " recon- 
ciliation " U the new direction of the will], is, in the evangeli- 
cal view, faith " (p. 97). " Since justification as reconcUiation 
calls forth faith," etc, (p. 132). The representations stand 
side by side and are never fully harmonised. 

§ Pp. 107, 124, 132, etc. 


hand, the justification of the community precedes the 
faith of the individual. His faith appropriates a 
benefit already existing and presented to him in the 
preaching of the Gospel ; * it precedes his consciousness 
of justification, t i^e, of his individual participation in 
this benefit ; but it does not precede the benefit itself. 
Faith incorporates him in the community, and so 
makes him participant of the blessing there provided. 
Ingenious as this is, however, it will be generally felt 
that it evades the difficulty rather than meets it. We 
have only to reflect upon the subject to see that a 
justification of the community apart from the justifica- 
tion of the individuals comprised in it is an untenable 
abstraction, and that faith must, in the actual, as in 
the ideal relation, precede the bestowal of forgiveness. 
What does precede and awaken faith is the exhibition 
of Grod's character and grace in Christ, and the promise 
of salvation in the Gospel ; the actual change of rela- 
tion follows the exercise of faith ; and the " new birth " 
is consummated in the same act which completes the 
surrender of the heart to God. 

The result of justification, adoption, reconciliation, 
regeneration (all, we have seen, ultimately equated), 
is the New Life. This, again, in accordance with the 
doctrine of the twofold end, is to be distinguished in 
respect of its religious and of its moral functions. It 
has already been repeatedly shown how Ritschl con- 

* P. 159, etc. 

t What Bitschl calls the justification of believers is therefore 
really their coming to this consciousness of a share in the 
relation in which the community stands to Godi 


ceives of the blessedness of the believer on the religious 
siije. The believer has, in Ritschl's phrase, " eternal 
life," that is, he attains supremacy — ^lordship {fferr- 
schaft) — over the world, and exercises spiritual 
freedom.* Kitschl stays himself in this peculiar usage 
on Pauline texts,t but it may quite safely be affirmed 
that his idea of the eternal life and the Apostle's 
are widely apart. Paul also believes that the 
Christian rules the world, but Paul's view of spiritual 
freedom, or of eternal life (the terms are in no way 
synonymous with him, though the latter includes the 
former), involves much more than the maintaining of 
one's personal worth against the limitations and hin- 
drances of nature and society, and the Apostle would 
scruple to regard justification, adoption, reconciliation 
— faith in providence, patience, humility, prayer, etc. — 
as means solely to that end. This desire for supremacy 
over, the world is, as we saw in the theory of religion, 
on Kitschl's view, the deepest impulse in human 
nature, and the spring of man's religious ideas and 
strivings.:!^ Keligion has, in accordance with this, 

 " The direct content of the eternal life, or blessedness, is 
to be recognised in the religions functions ruling the world " 
(p. 497). "Eternal life" signifies "that man in real fellow- 
ship with the true spiritual God has experience of himself as 
a whole over the world, since he proves the spiritual worth of 
his individuality in supremacy over all possible hindrances 
arising from the dividedness of the natural world (aut der 
getheilten und natilrlichen Welt) " (p. 474). " Supremacy of 
the spirit over the world— viz., over the system of the natural 
and particular life-motives " (p. 577). Cf. pp. 492, 500, 504, 

t P. 466, etc. 

t See Chapter lYi 


fundamentally to do with a problem occasioned by 
man's position in the world, and Christiatuty approves 
itself divine as furnishing a solution of that problem.* 
It does this by inspiring and sustaining faith in 
God's Fatherly providence, and by inculcating in the 
believer, after Christ's example/ the duties of patience 
and humility.f Patience under the evils of the world, 
humility towards God, the disposer of the events of 
our life, and prayer, specially as thanksgiving — these, 
springing from faith in God's providence, are the 
peculiarly religious functions 4 

Here, however, when we speak of providence, 
prayer, and of the believer's confidence that all 
things, evils included, are working for his good, it is 

* We may quote one other passage on this subject. " Man," 
says Rltschl, " is part of the world. . . . Still he distinguishes 
himself as spirit from the world, wins through the idea of God 
the representation of his worth against the world [elsewhere 
it is this idea of worth which leads to the postnlation of the 
idea of God], and raises himself in the Christian religion to 
the self-feeling that the worth of his spiritual personality 
outbids that of the whole natural system " (p. 585). 

f Justification is said to be necessary, as a fundamental 
condition of the Christian life, to explain " how believers, by 
trust in God, humility, and patience, attain that position of 
superiority to the world which constitutes eternal life" 
(p. 504). 

X " It is, in general, faith in the providence of God, in which 
religious supremacy over the world is exercised" (p. 583). 
"Faith in the Fatherly providence ol God, which through 
humility maintains the (right) feeling with God, through 
patience the right feeling with the worlds and which, through 
prayer, utters and confirms itself, is, in general, the content of 
the religious life which springs from reconciliation with God 
through Christ " (p. 616). 


necessary to notice again carefully what is meant. It 
is not to be thought that the world proceeds according 
to any other than the ordinary mechanical or organic 
laws ; * or that there is any special shaping of events 
in providence to meet the needs of individuals, or 
furnish answers to their prayers. This would be to 
trespass on a region outside the sphere of religious 
contemplation. The supremacy of the believer over- 
the world is ideal, not empirical.t It is not that 
God, in His outward providence, adapts circumstances 
to his case, but he, in the exercise of his faith, is able 
by a spiritual alchemy to turn even the evils of the 
world to good account — to make them a means of 
spiritual furtherance, and an occasion of the proof 
of his spiritual freedom. We are specially warned 
against supposing 'Hhat man can exercise through 
prayers and counsels the least influence on the Divine 
arrangements." j: Petitionary prayer is, on this 
ground, generally excluded, and we are taught to 
regard prayer as chiefly thanksgiving.§ The doctrine 
of providence, in brief, resolves itself practically into 
the conviction that the world is constituted for the 
ends of the spiritual life, and, with humility and 
patience, may be used by us for these ends. All else 
is subjective " value-judging." 

* P. 574. 

t Pp. 580, 583. 

t P. 591. 

§ Pp. 608-9. Even the petition in the Lord's Prayer, " Give 
us this day our daily bread," is explained as " an expression of 
thanksgiving to God." 

II **The Christian view of the world . . . with the self- 
estimate which corresponds to it, constitutes the domain 



In possession of this spiritual freedom, the believer 
devotes himself to the ethical task of his Christian 
calling — life in the service of the Kingdom of God 
according to the law of love of one's neighbour.* 
The working out of the details of this conception 
belongs to the sphere of Christian ethics, and need 
not specially detain us here. We would only recall 
the difficulty formerly noted of determining the place 
of this ethical end in Christianity in its relation to 
the other, or so-called religious, end. As the self-end 
of God, and the motive and final aim of creation — ^the 
end for which Christ lived and died, and which fur- 
nishes the sphere within which the freedom won in 
religion is to be exercised — ^we should naturally be 
disposed to regard it as the supreme end to which 
that of freedom is subordinate. For what value, as 
formerly remarked, can we attach to a freedom which 
does not include an ethical end within itself and feel 
that it exists for the carrying out of this end ? This, 
however, is not Eltschl's view. His original dualism 
hampers him all through. Fearful, apparently, lest 
the directly religious interests should be imperilled 

within which are fonned all such representations as that all 
things and events in the world serve for our good, because, as 
children of God, we are objects of the particular care and help 
of God " (p. 683). There is some ground for Stahlin*s criticism 
that "if providence neither reaches out beyond the actual 
course of things, nor can intervene therein, it has no other 
content than that very course itself : so that when a man 
trusts in providence, he has no more guarantee for his personal 
security than when he trusts to the actual existent order of 
things." — £dntt Zotze, und Bitschl^ p* 232 (E. T»). 
* P» 577. 


hj subordinating them to morality, he will have it 
that his religions supremacy over the world is an 
end by itself, and the supreme end ; and will not 
acknowledge — what his own view of God might have 
taught him to admit — ^that an ethical element enters 
essentially into religion also, and that in root the 
two spheres are one. Neither need we dwell on the 
point earlier insisted upon, that the bare formula 
of reciprocal action according to love yields no con- 
crete content for the idea of the Kingdom of God. 
The abstract rubric — "Love your neighbour, and 
faithfully discharge the duties of your station'' — 
which is nearly as far as the Eltschlian theology carries 
us, needs filling out from a knowledge of the ordinary 
moral duties and relations — that is, from that which 
has its ground in nature and the ordinary moral 
consciousness — in order that we may have a concrete 
image of what is meant by God's will being done 
on earth. 

The Bitschlian system has practically no Eschato- 
logy. It is not that by Eitschl or his followers the 
future life is doubted : on the contrary, it is affirmed, 
and assumed, apparently, to be the sphere in which 
the moral issues of this life are determined.* " Man," 
says Ritschl, " compares himself even with the whole 
natural system^ since in his spiiitual self-feeling he 
apprehends himself as a being who in his greatness 
{mhe Grosae) stands near to the snpra-mundane God, 
and' makes the claim to live, notwithstanding the 

• Pp. 676-6* 


experience of death."* But the prohlems of this 
futare life are left untonched. Thej are presumed 
to he of no practical interest to us, or at least to he 
so completely hejond our knowledge that it is vain to 
discuss them. Interest is concentrated wholly on the 
present life — on the realisation of eternal life in a 
present supremacy over the world ; on the Kingdom 
of God as now and here existing. Such questions, 
e.^., as those of the fate of the heathen, or of the 
masses outside of the Church; of the possihility of 
salvation hereafter for those who die here impenitent 
or in ignorance ; of the conditions of the final Judg- 
ment, etc., are hardly so much as glanced at. t No 
place is found for such subjects as the resurrection 
of the deadyt or the second advent, though Jesus 
and the early Church had much to say of both. The 
one point on which an opinion is expressed is that 
already alluded to, viz., that if any be found 
definitively resisting the will of God (a hypothetical 
case), they shall be destroyed. § But, in truth, this 
reserve is no accident of the Eitschlian system. It lay 
in the nature of the case that, consistently with the 
general principles of his theology, Kitschl covM have 
no eschatology. Salvation, with its twofold end, 

* P. 576. Immortality is based here on a natural ground. 
Is not this a species of natural theology 7 And why no 
reference to the Christian ground ? 

f We are told that Bitschl refrained from all judgment of 
the question of the heathen. — Leben, ii., p. 199. 

% There is allusion to ** the Christian hope of the continued 
duration of the spiritual life in a suitable body " (p. 575), but 
nothing more is made of it. 

§ M, und V.y ii., pp. 140-42 ; iii., p. 369. 


has, as he has sketched it, a relation to this life 
alone. If, e.g,, eternal life is defined as supremacy 
over the loorld — ^the religious ruling of the world — 
what would be its meaning for a state in which this 
world had ceased to exist? If, again, the divine 
self-end which man is to realise is a Eingdom of God 
of human beings on earth — what end remains when 
the believer is transferred to conditions beyond 
death? A great gap — a solution of continuity — 
exists here, not only in our knowledge, but in the 
nature of things, between the present and the future. 
Justification, adoption, lordship over the world, the 
Eingdom of God, aU have reference only to the 
existing temporal scene — are set in it as their 
framework. What will happen " when the earthly 
house of this tabernacle is dissolved," and the 
present natui*al system altogether shall have passed 
away — ^who can tell ? The whole Eitschlian nomen- 
clature of salvation loses its significance. 


CIES OF RiTScnns disciples. 

A System tested by its Development — Differences in the 
School, with Agreement in Leading Ideas — Agreements 
and Differences on the Theory of Knowledge — Relations 
of Religious and Theoretic Knowledge — Meaning of 
'* Yalue-Judgments " — ^Agreements and Differences in 
Doctrine of Religion — Views on History, Theological 
Method, and Christian Apologetic — The " Speculative " 
Method in Kaftan — Relation of the School to Miracle — 
to Christ's Resurrection — Agreements and Differences on 
Doctrine of the Kingdom of God — Views on Christology 
— Herrmann, Schultz, etc., on the *' Godhead ** of Christ — 
Idea of Revelation in Christ — ^Agreements and Differences 
on Doctrines of Sin and Salvation— Kaftan on Sin and 
Guilt— Forgiveness of Sins in Herrmann and Kaftan — 
Connection with Christ's Death — Haring on Atonement — 
The Christian Life — Divergencies on Mysticism — The 
Doctrine of the Kxalted Christ — The Church — Eschato- 
logy — Troeltsch on Ritschlian " Subjectivism " — Relation 
of the School to Scripture. 

LIGHT is cast on the true genius of a system by 
the course of its historical development. Those 
parts of the system which are discarded, or are allowed 
to drop quietly into the background, by its later repre- 
sentatives, may fairly be assumed not to belong to its 
essence — unless, indeed, the disciples, as sometimes 



happens, have all the more grievously failed to under- 
stand their master.* Those features, on the other 
hand, which men of differently constituted minds and 
divergent tendencies agree in conserving, may fitly be 
regarded as the elements of chief importance. The 
application of this principle to the Eitschlian theology 
considerably simplifies our present task. We have 
dwelt with particularity on Ritschl's own theology, 
both because of its epoch-making influence, and as the 
classical exhibition of the ideas of the school ; but it 
will not be necessary to study with the same minute- 
ness the theories of his followers. It is the fact that 
the school of Bitschl disemburdens itself to a large 
extent of the master's elaborate theology. Where 
system has been attempted — e.g. by Kaftan — ^the 
divergence from Kitschl is often noteworthy. The 
general feeling in the party would seem to be that 
the time has not yet come for theological reconstruc- 
tion — that the "new dogma" is yet to seek — and 
that meanwhile, perhaps for long, its task must lie in 
laying and strengthening foundations, — ^in working 
at the preparatory disciplines of Biblical Theology, 
Church History, History of Dogma, in investigation of 
particular notions, etc. Yet through all the labours 
of its members certain regulative aims and ideas may 
be traced — impulses and thoughts they have received 
in common from Eitschl — affinities in conception and 
method, and to a certain extent also agreement in 

 Christianity itself is an instance of this, for how immea- 
surably does the subapostolic Age, e.g., fall below the thoughts 
of Jesus I Yet the history of Christianity, as a whole, is the 
interpreter of Christ's Gospel, 


results — ^which enable us to group them together and 
speak of them with propriety as a "school" Our 
aim in this chapter will be to bring out the leading 
features in this agreement, and to show how, within 
its limits, wide divergencies also reveal themselves. 

In no respect is the dependence of the school on 
Bitschl more conspicuous than in the stress it lays 
on the importance for theology of a correct theory of 
knowledge, and particularly on a right appreciation of 
the distinction between religioue and theoretic knowledge. 
Aiming with Kitschl at the complete separation of 
theology from metaphysics, his followers are, like him, 
in the paradoxical position of being compelled to fall 
back on a philosophical theory for the justification of 
their procedure, All agree that a right theory of 
knowledge is indispensable for theology, but there is 
by no means the same harmony as to what the right 
theory of knowledge is. Here the members of the 
school go widely apart. Herrmann, e.g., is avowedly 
Kantian;* Kaftan is empiricist, and rejects the 

* See his Die Met, in der TkeoL, but specially his Die Religion 
in Verhdltniss zu?n Welterkenntniss und zur Sittlichkeit, 
Herrmann has the advantage over Bitschl that he explicitly 
follows Kant in affirming an a priori source for the moral law 
— Die Religion^ etc., pp. 162-4, etc. Yet he also astonishingly 
says : " Whether the thought of the unconditioned law origin- 
ates psychologically from an experience of pleasure is for 
ethics quite indifferent" (p. 159). There is a yet deeper 
divergence from Kant in. the way in which he views the moral 
law, as well as religion, as a means to the satisfaction of the 
" feeling of self " {Selbstgefuhl), with him the primary impulse 
in human nature. 


a priori element in knowledge and in moral law;^ 
Traub is idealistic ; t Bender volatilises religious ideas 
into subjective representations ; % ^^^ the remarkable 
thing is that all these writers, with a certain show 
of reason, can claim the support of Kitschl for their 
views. Nevertheless, there is justification for group- 
ing them, with their divergent speculations, as is 
commonly done, under the general designation of '^ Neo- 
Kantian." All show more or less a dependence on 
Kant; all are at one with him in his limitation of 
knowledge to phenomena, and in his exaltation of 
the practical over the theoretic reason. How largely 
even Kaftan may be ranked as Kantian is apparent 
from the account he gives of the services rendered by 
that great thinker to the Christian religion. Kant, 
he claims, gave back to Christianity the practical 
faith that distinguished it, after that faith had lost 
its peculiar character from the second century on- 
wards. He did this by liberating the idea of the 
chief good from its combination with knowledge, 
and placing it instead in closest relation to man's 

 Da9 We^n, p. 49 (Ist edit.); Di£ Wahrheit, pp. 362, 381, 
404, etc (E. T., ii., pp. 129, 155, 187, etc.). Reiflchle subjects 
Kaftan's theory of knowledge to a sharp criticism in Stvdien 
nnd Kritiken, 1891. 

t See his article on RUsclWa ErkenntnUsthearie in ZHt- 
ichriftfUr TheoL und Kirohe, 1894, pp. 91 ff. Traub, as before 
remarked, attributes his idealistic view to Bitschl himself. 

% Cf . his Daa Weaen d. Religion, Among other amenities of 
the school we have Herrmann in Theol, Lit,'Zeit, for 1886 
(No. 4), describing Bender as only " a secularised Kaftan " ; 
while Kaftan will have it that Herrmann is back to the ground 
which makes a philosophic view determinative for theology. — 
Dfit M'ese-H, p. 13. 


moral life. The chief significance of his work ^' may, 
accordingly, be described by saying that he first 
expressed this primary idea of Christianity as an 
absolute principle, and established it philosophically 
by his criticism of man's intellectual faculty.*' * In 
this tribute to Kant most writers of the school would 

The more precise distinction of religious and 
theoretic knowledge raises greater difiiculties. Herr- 
mann stands nearest to Bitschl in his general 
position : if anything, as formerly hinted, he push^ 
the two spheres further apart than Bitschl himself. 
He advocates even a twofold sense of the term 
" reality," and grounds religious reality in the feeling 
which the subject has of the worth of his highest ends.t 
To him also belongs the initiative in the employment 
of the term " WeiiihurlJieil " — " judgment of value." 
Bender, a pupil of Bitschl's, went further still in 
resolving our religious ideas into simple products of 
phantasy for the ends of the spiritual life.:t This was 
too much, and the " Bender controversy " § resulted 
in the effort of members of the school to come to a 

* Die Wahrheit, pp. 211-13 (E. T., i., pp. 284-7). 

t Die Religion^ etc., pp. 112-19. " If this Power over the 
world stands fast to religioos faith as something real, the 
category of reality has another meaning here than in meta- 
physics. For the validity of the religious object has its root 
solely in a definite energy of self -feeling " (p. 118). Beligioas 
objects being judged real only for the sake of their worth, 
science, he thinks, from its point of view, would be justified 
in regarding them as mere illusion. 

X Das Wesen, pp. 22, 89, 105, etc. 

§ On the literature of this controversy see Nippold's Ei9i'- 
2r«Zw7mZ^,ii., pp. 150-61, 



better understanding as to the relation of " religious " 
and ** theoretic." The dispute has turned chiefly on 
the meaning and place of the " judgment of value." 
It was felt necessary to guard against the idea that 
judgments of this class were mere illusions, and to 
rebut the supposition that what was held for truth 
in one sphere could be falsehood in another. Kaftan 
seeks to soften the opposition by granting that faith 
also expresses itself in "theoretic judgments" — 
meaning by the latter judgments that affirm 
existence* — and would save the peculiarity of the 
propositions of faith by saying that they ^^rest on 
judgments of value." t This view is modified by 
Scheibe, who prefers to speak of judgments in the 
religious sphere as '^postulates on the ground of 
value, postulates which rest on judgments of value."t 
Scheibe, in agreement with Herrmann, and, appar- 
ently, with Kaftan also, would base the conviction 
of the reality of the religious object solely on the 
judgment of value ;§ but others, as O. Eitschl, 

 This evokes the protest of O. Eitschl, Traub, etc., who 
object to this identification of theoretical judgments with 
simple judgments of being, as if judgments of value were not 
also judgments of being. 

t Das Wenen, pp. 38 ff. ; Die Wahrheit, pp. 1-7, etc. 

X Die Bedeutung der Werturteile, p. 52. 

§ Scheibe puts the case in the strongest way. He quotes 
with approval Paulsen's saying, " Faith is a certainty — which 
does not rest on theoretic considerations — that that is which 
should be.'* *' Because these representations and judgments 
[of God, His nature, will, providence, etc.], correspond with 
the religious needs, we are convinced of their reality and 
truth : they are demanded, postulated, by the religious man.'* 
-P, 61. 


describe this as a surrender of the position, and 
declare that by this method we can never get to real 
objectivity.* There remains the attempt of O. Bitschl, 
Traiib, etc., to give an interpretation to the term 
'^ judgment of value," which shall not compromise the 
reality of the object. The " judgment of value '* is 
now declared to mean no more than that ^' in religious 
judgments the highest subjective interest is included."t 
If this were really all, it might well be asked — who ever 
doubted it ? Or what ground remains for an absolute 
separation between religious and theoretic knowledge ? 
It will readily be conceded to Traub that the full 
conviction of the reality of the religious object is 
only possible to a mind that has experience of its 
worth. I But this does not touch the main question 

* Ueher WerthwrtheUe, p. 27. 

t Lehen, ii., p. 212. O. Bitschl here states the view that, 
according to Bitschl, "judgments of value stand, not in 
opposition to so-called judgments of beingf but to the theoretic 
judgments of scieneef regarded as excluding every subjective 
interest," and makes the contrast to consist only in the fact 
that "religious judgments of value include the highest sub- 
jective interest in the object of knowledge." This explanation 
which, if accepted, would reduce the distinction to something 
like a truism, can hardly be sustained in face of Eitschrs own 
statements. It provides for no such thorough-going dis- 
tinction of the religious and theoretic as Bitschl postulates ; 
it makes the distinction relative — one of degree — whereas 
Bitschl will have it to be absolute ; it overlooks the fact that 
Bitschl recognises no purely disinterested judgments even in 
science. See below, -Chap. VIII. 

J ZeiUchrifti 1894, p. 111. " The question is, how can we 
be certain of that objective truth? and here Bitschl main- 
tains that this can only happen within the experience of the 
worth expressed by the propositions of faith. In other words, 


as to the grounds on which the conviction of reality 
rests. Are these objective, or only subjective? If 
the latter, we seem back to the view that it is the 
judgment of value which grounds the conviction of 
reality, and this has already been pronounced by 
these writers to be unsatisfactory. We reserve 
further discussion to a succeeding chapter. 

The same wide divergence of view within a general 
framework of agreement is observable in the develop- 
ment given by the school to Kitschl's doctHne of 
religion. Common features here are the denial of 
any original or essential — at least conscious — bond 
between the soul and God, such, e.g,^ as is implied in 
Schleiermacher's feeling of absolute dependence * ; of 
any natural Eevelation of God from which a measure 
of knowledge of His being or attributes may rationally 
be deduced ; and the explanation of the idea of God 
as a postulate to account for and safeguard man's 

the facts of salvation prove themselves to be real facts only to 
him who experiences their saving significance in his inner 
man. . . • The certainty of faith is not the result of theoretic 
knowledge, but of personal conviction." The point is — What 
creates this personal conviction ? If Tranb says the experience 
of worth alone, in what respect does his position differ from 
that of Kaftan, Herrmann, or Scheibe ? 

* Schultz in this respect occupies an independent position, 
and can hardly be regarded as a pure Rltschlian. His views 
are as much coloured by Schleiermacher as by Kitschl. With 
the former he finds "the elementary fundamental trait of 
religion " in the " feeling of absolute dependence," and declares 
that ** from faith in Bevelation it is certain that religion in its 
deepest ground is a life wrought by God Himself in man." — 
Omndriss d, Dogmatik^ p. 53. 


position in the world as spiritual personality. The 
writers who have wrought out the theory most in 
detail are Herrmann and Kaftan; but the differences 
of the two are characteristic. With Herrmann the 
central impulse is the ^^ feeling of self/' or sense of 
the worth of one's personality, which bears in it the 
claim to rule the world, and needs for this end that 
the world be conceived of as a unity, and as ruled 
over by a Power who orders things for the best.* It 
is this practical impulse, he holds, and not theoretic 
thought, which yields the idea of a world-whole, and, 
in union with our consciousness of unconditioned 
moral law, compels us to conceive of the world as 
a teleological system.! With Kaftan, on the other 
hand, the starting-point is the empirical desire for 
good — that is, for happiness or blessedness — ^which he 
finds native to the human spirit, and designates '^ the 
claim for life." J His system is thus " eudsemonistic " 
in character, § and is framed through an analysis of 
the conditions under which the " claim for life *' can 
be perfectly satisfied. The satisfaction, he finds, is 
possible only on the hypothesis of a supramundane 

* Of. Die Religion^ pp. 80-83. " The maintenance of his 
person and the realisation of his highest good is to him one 
and the same thing. If, therefore, his self -feeling incites him 
to form in religion the idea of a Power ruling nature for the 
best, this Power receives henceforward a concrete determinate 
character from the quality- of the highest good for the sake of 
which it is thought by us as active " (p. 83)* 

t Pp. 81, 85, 208 ff., 231 ff. 

X Das Wesetif pp. 49, 50, 56, etc. 

§ Jkis Wesen, p. 187. " It is neither the asBthetic nor the 
moral» but solely the natural or eudsemonistic estimate of 
worth which makes the ground-character of life.*' 


Kingdom of God, which, accordingly, he exalts to the 
dignity of "a postulate of reason/'* A further 
postulate is that there shall he an historical Eeve- 
lation to bring this Kingdom into being, and certify 
to us its reality, t These conditions are then found by 
him to be realised in the Christian religion.J To 
Bender, again, as remarked above, religious ideas are 
only ideals. The idea of God " frames itself from the 
need of so thinking the world-development that the 
specifically human ideal of a perfectly blessed life is 
attainable in spite of apparent contradictions." § 

The premises laid down in the theory of knowledge 
and the theory of religion lead to important results in 
the spheres of historical jiddgmenty theological method, 
amd Christiam, apologetic^ and with respect to these 
also the school of Eltschl may be said to be generally 
in agreement. The principles affirmed as to the 
exclusion of metaphysics from theology contain — or 

* Die WahrJieit, p. 648 (B. T., ii., p. 380). He rejects even 
the limitation ** practical " reason which Kant employs (E. T., 
p. 381). 

f ** The existence of the eternal sapramundane Kingdom of 
God is therefore a postulate of reason, and from this postulate 
there arises the other postulate of an historical Keyelation of 
God which has the supramundane Kingdom of God as its 
content. . . . Therefore it must be said that the postulate of 
the supramundane Kingdom of God forms itself into the other 
postulate as a special Bevelation of the Kingdom of God in 
history " (E. T., u., pp. 382-4). 

X ^*Now it can be shown that reason and Revelation 
meet in the same conception of the chief good," etc. (E. T*, 
p» 386)* 

§ Bender, Das Wesen, pp. 89-90 j cf. pp. 86, 106, etC4 


are supposed to contain — a condemnatory judgment 
on the past history of dogma in the Church. On no 
suhject is the school more entirely at one, or may 
claim to be treading more faithfully in the steps of 
its founder, than in the account it gives of the origin 
of early dogma as the result of a fusion of Christian 
ideas with Greek philosophical thought. It may be 
sufficient to refer here to two distinguished repre- 
sentatives of this view — Harnack and Kaftan. To 
Hamack the history of early Christian dogma is 
simply the history of the process of the Hellenisation 
of Christianity. His task in his History of Dogma is 
to show that ^' dogma in its conception and develop- 
ment is a work of the Greek spirit on the soil of the 
Gospel." * Kaftan similarly declares : " The Chris- 
tian faith and Greek philosophy are the two factors 
from whose interaction ecclesiastical dogma rose." t 
This means more than merely that Christianity was 
betrayed into borrowing certain of the ideas found in 
its intellectual environment. It denotes, in Kaftan's 

* Dogmenge%cihichUy i., p. 18 (E. T., pp. 17, 21). As against 
his opponents (see E. T.), Hamack lays stress on the words, 
*^ on the soil of the Gospel," but overlooks that the leading 
idea is still "the work of the Greek spirit." We may be 
wrong, but we think we can discern a more positive spirit 
in the later editions of Hamack's work. Loofs^ a disciple, 
in an early review, shows that, on the Bitschlian hypothesis 
which Hamack develops, dogma is a product of the union of 
Christianity with Grseoo-Roman philosophy, and cannot be 
regarded as a development of what existed in germ in primitive 
Christianity. He points out that the selection of material in 
Hamack's history " is conditioned solely by the leading thought 
of the book."— i>at«^A« Eoang, -Blatter ^ 1886, pp. 182-3. 

t Die Wahrheit, p. 23 (B. T., i., p. 31 j cf. p. 75). 


view, a fundamentally new mode of contemplating 
Christianity, and consequent shifting of the centre of 
gravity of the Christian system. In the Greek ideal 
the chief good is to he sought along the path of 
knowledge.* To this intellectualist conception Chris- 
tianity from the second century onward committed 
itself, with the result of the substitution of the Logos- 
idea for that of the Kingdom of God as the ruUng idea 
in theology.t " The centre of gravity," we are told, 
" instead of being placed in the historical Christ who 
founded the Kingdom of God, is placed in the Christ 
who, as the eternal Logos of God, was the mediator in 
the creation of the world, " J An * * historical necessity " 
in the development is indeed admitted, for, "in order to 
strike root in the educated world of Greece and Home 
. , . Christianity had to accommodate itself to the 
intellectual life existing in that world." § But the 
change involved none the less a fatal misconception 
of the real character of the Christian faith. Scholastic 
theology followed faithfully in the false path thus 
marked out, and " Protestant dogmatics continued in 
the paths of scholasticism." || Only with Kant was 
the supremacy of the primary idea which governed 
the development overthrown.^ The elements of truth 
in this theory must not blind us to the fact that it 

* Pp. 32, 212 (B. T., i., pp. 42, 286). 

t P. 86(B. T.,p. 89). 

X P. 73 (E. T., p. 97). 

§ P. 55 (£. T., p. 74). Hamack also adopts the principle 
that '' everything must happen as it has happened.*' — Dog^nen* 
gesohiohte (E. T., i., p. 22). 

II Pi 142 (E, T., p. 192 { cf. ppi 240, 885; etCi). 

i Pi BIS (Bi T», pi 887)i 



is carried by the Bitschlian writers to an extreme 
which converts it sometimes almost into caricature. 
The early Apologists and fathers may have given — no 
doubt did give — too intellectualistic a cast to their 
Logos speculations ; * but the Logos doctrine which 
they defended, with the transcendental view of the 
Person of Christ which it implied, was no product of 
Greek philosophy, but an element of Apostolic teach- 
ing, to which, in their controversies with the Ebionitic, 
Monarchian, Arian, and other heretical tendencies of 
their day, these fathers of the Church did well to be 
faithful. It is significant that, in a recent utterance. 
Kaftan formally discards the whole Logos conception 
of the Fourth Gospel as unsuitable to Christianity. t 
If the doctrines in question are to be assailed, it should 
be frankly recognised that the blow falls, not solely 
on the theology of the Greek fathers, who but fought 
with the best means at their disposal for what they 
conceived to be vital issues of the Christian faith, 
but on the theology of the New Testament itself. 

* It is, however, an exaggeration to speak of their exaltation 
of knowledge *as if the way to it, in their view, did not lie 
through faith, humility, and holy living. The motto of Gregory 
of Nazianzum is in some degree the motto of all these others 
— " Practice is the way to knowledge." " There is no true life 
without knowledge," says the author of the Epistle to Diognetus, 
" and no sure knowledge without life." Even in Clement of 
Alexandria psedagogy precedes gnosis. It should be observed 
also that the attitude of many of the apologists is exceedingly I 
hostile to Greek learning, though they availed themselves, in 
controversy with pagans, of what testimonies it offered them 
to the truths of natural religion. 

t In his Eisenach Address (Oct. 1896), reprinted in Zeit^ 
schriftt Januaiy 1897. 


Hamack's own pages furnish abundant acknowledg- 
ment that in the leading controversies of the early 
(and later) Ohurch it was really the essence of the 
Gospel which was being contended for against many- 
sided perversions of it.* 

As, however, we found in Ritschl the disclaiming 
of metaphysics in theology going hand in hand with 
the boldest use of the speculative method on his own 
lines, so is it with the theologians of his school. 
Kaftan is here also a typical example, though Herr- 
mann, in his earlier work on Religion, stands no whit 
behind him. Keason on its theoretic side is to be 
repelled from theology, but no limits, apparently, are 
to be set to what it can accomplish when resting on 
a practical judgment. By its help, under Kaftan's 

* The following are a few examples. On the Athanasian 
controversy, after a severe criticism of Arianism, it is said 
that Athanaslus saved an abiding conviction of faith " against 
a doctrine which did not understand the inner nature of 
reh'gion generally, which sought in religion only teaching, and 
ultimately found its satisfaction in an empty dialectic" — 
Onmd'HMf i., p. 141 ; DogmengescMohte, li., pp. 217-24. On 
the Augustinian theology — " Whoever looks away from the 
formulas to the spirit will find everywhere in the writings of 
Augustine a stream of Pauline faith." — D. G.^ iii., p. 78. On 
Soteriology — " That the work of Christ was His achievement, 
that it culminates in His sacrificial death, that it signifies the 
vanquishing and efbcing of the guilt of sin, that salvation 
consequently consists in the forgiven^, the justification, and 
the adoption of man, are thoughts which are wholly absent in 
no Church father. In some they stand out boldly." — 7 Jirf, iii., 
p. 60. On Socinianism — " With the old dogmas Socinianism 
has at bottom set aside Christianity as a religion. Guilt and 
penitence, faith and grace, are conceptions which are only 
saved by inconsistencies— out of regard to the New Testament 
'—from being wholly eliminated*" — Ibid,^ iii., p; 691i 


guidance, we not only rise to the idea of God as 
World-Creator, Upholder, and Providential Ruler ; to 
the idea of a ** world-whole," and of a " world-end " ; 
but are enabled to determine " the rational, absolute 
idea of the chief good,'' and to postulate the necessity 
of an '* eternal supramundane Kingdom of God " for 
the realisation of this good * ; then by comparison 
with the Christian Revelation to prove the validity 
of the latter. The task of Dogmatics itself is defined 
as " a speculative " task. '^ The process of thought 
is speculative in its nature ; it does not spring from 
the reflection of the understanding . . . the system 
of thought peculiar to faith rests on that process of 
thought which is of a speculative description ."t It 
is little to be told after this that on the high level 
thus reached a perfect reconciliation between reason 
and Revelation is attainable. One only wonders why, 
since so much is conceded to speculative reason, a 
little more should not be allowed — why, for instance, 
if it is legitimate to postulate a transcendent basis 
for the universe in a living, personal God, and a 
supramundane Kingdom of God for the realisation 
of the idea of the good, it should not be legitimate 

* See references above. 

t Die Wahrheitj pp. 571-73 (E. T., 11., pp. 411-13). Schultz's 
GrvndriM d, Dogmatik furnishes illustrations of how largely 
the speculative method can be employed in theology. When, 
ejg,, we reach such propositions as *< the world cannot have 
had a temporal beginning . . . even so the world is not 
limited in space," we are surely in a region little less 
"theoretic" than that in which the old Dogmatics move* 
Of, ppi 30-1. Schultz, however, is hardly, as already ob* 
Mervedi a qait€ tgrpioal Bitsohlifini 


also to postulate a transcendental background for the 
Person of Christ, and a pre-temporal as well as a 
post-temporal state of existence for Him — why the 
one should be " metaphysical " and the other not ? * 

The subject of method here touched on has an 
important relation to the treatment by the Ritschlian 
theologians of questions of Christian Apologetics. 
It was before shown that Kitschl and his disciples 
are substautially at one in their views of the lines on 
which a Christian apologetic should proceed t ; and 
we have had examples in Herrmann and Kaftan of 
how the work is actually done. It is on all hands 
recognised that a " scientific grounding " of the 
Christian faith is necessary, if " universal validity " 
is to be vindicated for it.f It is not, indeed, easy 
to see whence, on strict Ritschlian principles^ this 
necessity arises, or how the apologetic procedure is to 
be justified. If faith has, as alleged, its all-sufficient 
grounds of certainty within itself, and its purity is 
imperilled by the slightest contact with theoretic 
thought, it is not obvious how the situation is essen- 
tially changed by simply substituting " practical " for 
" theoretic " i*eason. For faith is still made dependent 
for the proof of its validity on something beyond 
itself. Not to insist that a proof of " universal 

* In his Die B^ligion, etc., Herrmann seemed disposed to 
take this very view, and to postulate a real pre-existence of 
Christ as involved in Christian faith. — l*p. 438-9. See 
passage quoted below, p. 210. 

t See Chap. IV. 

XDie Religim, etc., Pref . ; cf. pp. 273-81. » The dog- 
matic proof has for its object to set forth the nnivQEial 
validity of religious knowledge " (p. 281). 


validity"* — a "scientific" proof — which is to 
involve no exercise of theoretic thought, is a contra- 
diction in terms. This, however, is what the Bitsch- 
lian apologists aim at — ^the proof, viz., in Herrmann's 
words, "that Christianity is the ahsolate religion," 
and that its view of the world has "universal 
validity." t The nerve of this proof lies for him in 
our consciousness of the unconditioned moral law % ; 
for Kaftan, as we have seen, in the idea of the 
" tfupramundane Kingdom of God" as a supposed 
" postulate of reason." § There is no need to deny 
that, apart from their distinctive presuppositions, 
many true and suggestive thoughts lie in the 
Kitschlian apologetic. With proper limitations, 
much of its contention might readily be admitted. 
No one, for example, would contend that an objective 
study of nature, which did not take into account 
also the facts of our personal and moral life, would 
yield us a proper idea of God. But it is an equal 
one-sidedness if these facts alone are founded on, 

* It would be a legitimate task for the Bitschlians to make 

clear the grounds of certainty which faith has in itself ; but 

we get far beyond this when we proceed to vindicate for them 

a universal validity " by appeal to principles which are prior 
to, and Independent in their nature of , Christian faith, or the 
Christian Revelation. 

t Die ReUgioTiy etc., p. 273. It is characteristic that, after 
all, in this work, Herrmann has to recognise, like Ritschl, that 
metaphysics has an important r6le to play in theology (pp. 
356-60), and defends himself towards the close from the 
reproach of seeking to split the world of knowledge into two 
(pp. 440-7). 

X Pp. 272^-75. 

§ See references above. 


and the theoretic indications of God's existence are 

Without dwelling further on the general subject of 
apologetics, we may pause for a moment to inquire 
how the school relates itself to the crucial question 
touched on in an earlier chapter — the question, viz., 
of the miraculoibs, as lying on the borderland between 
natural knowledge and religion. This question is not 
to be got rid of on the general plea that the Christian 
Revelation has nothing to do with " Welterkenntniss.** 
The order of the world is there, and the Bitschlian 
theologian, as well as others, has to come to some 
understanding with it.* He has to explain what he 
means, compatibly with the existence of this order, 
when he speaks of " Revelation," of " special provi- 
dence," of " prayer," of " miracle." He may define 
miracle as " a religious event " if he will, but the fact 
remains that if Christ did the works He is recorded 
to have done, or literally rose from the dead on the 
third day, there have been breaks in the world's 
order as we know it, or a transcendence of that order, t 
Christ Himself, as Herrmann is never weary of 
reminding us, is a "fact" in history — an integral 
part of the world's objective order — and the question 

* In point of fact the difficulties of the question are being 
constantly discussed in the articles and pamphlets of the 
school — generally, it ought to be acknowledged, in an earnest 
and praiseworthy spirit. 

t The plea is therefore inept that the Scripture conception 
of miracle has no relation to the modem notion of natural 
law. Nothing is clearer than that, if the modem assumption 
of an unbroken chain of causation in the world is corr ect, t he 
miracles recorded in the Gospels did not happen. 


cannot be shirked as to how He is related to that 
order of the world in origin and constitution. We 
saw before in how ambiguous a position Bitschl left 
this whole question of miracle * ; we must now look 
at the treatment of the problem by his followers. 

On the historical question, the general attitude 
taken up is that faith is not committed to the 
acceptance of particular miraculous incidents; it is 
unaffected by the critical doubts which may be cast 
on any or all of these. It neither rests on the 
evidence of miracles, nor would be overthrown by 
disproof of their occurrence.t The historian can 
never regard them as sure historical events. J A 
deeper question, however, is whether, in the world- 
system as it exists, any place is left for events such 
as we ordinarily denominate miracles. The common 
reply to this again is, that it is a matter with which 
faith, as such, has no concern ; § but we have only 

* See Chapter IV., p. 93. 

t Of. Herrmann, Verkehr, pp. 190-91 (B. T., pp. 182-3), 

J " The historian," says Hamack, " cannot regard a miracle 
as a sure historical event ; for in doing so, he destroys the 
mode of consideration on which all historical investigation 
rests. Every individual miracle remains historically quite 
doubtful, and a summation of things doubtful can never lead 
to certainty." He goes on to say, however, that, provided we 
can accept the history, the impression of Christ's Person will 
justify us in ascribing to Him the possession of supernatural 
power. — Dogmengesohichte, p. 59 (E. T., i., p. 65). 

§ Cf . Herrmann, Die Religion^ p. 383 : " The discussion for 
or against the trustworthiness of the narratives of miracles in 
the Gospels on princlpial grounds is for the present-day task 
of theology perfectly indiCEerent." 


to reflect that the whole supernatural estimate of 
Christ's Person is involved in it to feel that this is 
very farfrom being the case. No theologian, in fact, 
does or can take up a neutral attitude to the concep- 
tion of the world which excludes miracle, and his 
personal conviction on this subject will inevitably 
colour his treatment of the question of miracle in 
the Christian Revelation. And here, among the 
Ritschlian theologians, different tendencies reveal 
themselves. A few, as Kaftan, declare themselves 
decidedly in favour of the possibility and reality of 
miracles.* Others, inclining personally to the side 
of faith, though with many qualifications and reser- 
vations, plead for the question being left an open 
one;t not a few, apparently, accept the modern 
scientiflc doctrine of an unbroken order of causation 

* Die Wahrheit, pp. 660-1 (B. T., 11., pp. 397-«). Kaftan's 
ground is that " laws of nature " are only empirical generalisa- 
tions, and have no necessity about them which excludes belief 
in miracle. He cannot understand how a Christian theologian 
should assent to the impossibility of miracle, or be surprised 
at finding them in the history of Bevelation, and the life of 
Jesus. Thus also Earing, Eahler, etc. 

t Thus, e.g.. Sell, in a paper on Der Wunderglatthe in the 
Zeitschrift, 1892. The question is — what is a clergyman to do 
who cannot believe in miracles? Sell thinks that if such a 
person has the faith in the uniqueness and Influence of Christ's 
personality which the faith in miracles expresses, he ought 
not to be pressed as to his belief in the particular miracles 
narrated by Jesus (p. 511). He himself argues for the 
reality of Christ's resurrection, and of a miraculous power 
in the ministry, but dismisses the miracles of the Old 
Testament, the Virgin-birth, the cases of demon-possession, 
the feeding of the multitudes, etc., and will not Impose his 
faith on others. 


in nature,* and treat miracles, in the strict sense, as .;, 
historically inadmissihle. AH are agreed that, if 
miracles are to he helieved in any form, it must be as 
the result of a prior faith in the unique spiritual 
personality of Christ. And even the more believing 
section of the school accept the Biblical records of 
the miracles with exceedingly large discretion as to 
detail.t The controversy on the Apostles' Creed, 
occasioned by the refusal of a young pastor, C. 
Schrempf,j: to use this symbol in baptism, has, 
there is reason to think, produced in some quarters 
a more positive note. As a testing example of 
the general position of the school in relation to 

* Herrmann's position is ambiguous. In Verkehr, p. 267 
(B. T., p. 248), he seems to accept Kant's doctrine that 
"nothing that can be proved to happen in this world lies 
outside the domain of the law of cause and effect," and he 
certainly attaches no importance in this work to the narratives 
of miracles in the Gospels, but leaves them, with apparent 
good- will, to be regarded as legends. Of. also his article on 
Religion und SocialdemokraHe in Zeitsehrift^ 1891. In his 
earlier work. Die Religion^ he takes the same ground as to 
the necessity of thinking all events in the connection of cause 
and effect, yet leaves room for events which are to us mys- 
terious, and in a sense miracles. — Cf. pp. 384-6. Schultz 
upholds miracles in the religious sense, but seems to deny 
them as nature-wonders. — Dogrnatik, p. 37 ; Apologetik, 
pp. 21, 23. 

t Cf., e.g,f Ziegler's article in Zeitsohrift^ 1896, on Ber 
Olauhe an die Aufergtehung Jeiu Christi referred to below. 
He accepts the resurrection, but places little reliance on the 
evangelical narratives of it (p. 248). 

X Of Leuzenbach, in Wiirtemberg. Schrempf is Kantian in 
standpoint, and does not admit miracles. He was deposed by 
the authorities for his refusal to abide by the Church ritual. 
On the literature of the controversy cf . Nippold, ii., pp. 232 ff. 


miracle, we cannot do better than refer again to its 
attitude to the crowning miracle of the Resurrection 
of Christ. Resurrection in a certain sense, as formerly 
shown,* i,e,j as a rising of Christ to glory, is indeed 
affirmed ; not, however, on historical evidence, but as 
a " thought of faith," a deduction from tlie impression 
of spiritual greatness and goodness Christ makes 
upon us t — ^but of that supreme event which formed 
the burden of the Apostolic preaching — the rising of 
Christ in the body on the third day — it cannot be 
said, despite noteworthy exceptions, that there is 
any general acceptance; instead, often, halting and 
indecisive utterance, and frequently tacit or avowed 
rejection. J 

Note. — Views of RiUohliam on the Resurrection of Christ, 
— We may thus briefly summarise the views of some of the 
leading members of the school. Kaftan, Earing, and Eahler 
accept the historic fact — represent, therefore, the right or 
positive wing of the school on this question. (Cf . Kaftan, as 
above ; Haring in his Das BlHbende im Olauben an Cliristus, 
and Der dopp, Wahrheit (p. 24) ; Kahler, in his Der soge- 
nanrUe historisehe Jesus^ etc.). — Kattenbusch, Sell, Ziegler, 
etc., are on the same side with more or less qualification (cf. 
Kattenbusch in Theol, Lit.-Ztg,, 1894, cols. 169-70 ; Sell on 
Der Wunderglaubej etc., in Zeitschrift, 1892 ; Ziegler on Der 

* See Chapter IV. 

t Thus Herrmann. CI remarks on his position in O. Ritschl's 
article in Zeitschrift^ 1897, referred to below. 

X Ziegler says in his article in Zeitschrift, 1896, p. 219, that 
it is made a reproach to the " modern theology," and specially 
to the " school of Ritschl," that it fights shy of the fact of the 
resurrection, and utters itself about it in ** the most indefinite 
possible modes of expression," and admits that there is much 
truth in €he charge. 


Olavhe an die Ayferwtehitng^ Tbid.^ 1896). — Bomemann accepts 
the " appearances " to the disciples, but holds it to be imma- 
terial whether they were bodily appearances, or the result of 
supernatural impressions ( Unterricht, p. 85). — This • seems 
also to be the position of Reischle, who, speaking of the 
appearances to the disciples as '^ divine Keyelations of truth," 
says, '^ I designedly use this expression, which leaves the mode 
of those appearances still open" (Art on Die Begrilndung 
des Glauhens auf den ^^ geschichtlichen" Jesun ChriHw-Sj in 
Zpitschriftj 1897, p. 203). He agrees with Herrmann that the 
" one anchorage " of faith in the resurrection is the " impres- 
sion " of the Person of Christ, but is more positive somewhat 
than Herrmann (p. 203).— J. Weiss, likewise, argues for super- 
natural impressions on the disciples (like Keim), but does not 
affirm a bodily resurrection {Die Naehfolge Christie pp. 59, 
151). — Herrmann, in his earlier work, Die Religion, etc., took 
up a positive attitude to the bodily resurrection, though 
it is difficult to see on what ground he was able to do so 
(cf . pp. 386-7) ; but in later writings he lays at least no 
emphasis on the outward fact, if he still regards it as real. 
The essential matter is the conviction, born of our " impres- 
sion" of the historical Christ, that He still lives and rules 
(cf. Verkehr, passim- ; Art. on Religion und Soeialdemokratie 
in Zeitschrift, 1891, etc.). — Lobstein, of Strassburg, follows 
Herrmann, but with more positive rejection of the bodily 
resurrection. The question of the " how " of the appearances 
to the disciples is, on the ground of the existing testimonies, 
" insoluble" (Art. on Der evang. Heilsglauhe an die Aufersteh- 
vng Jesti Christi, in Zeitsclmft^ 1892, p. 364). — Schultz does 
not apparently admit the physical miracle, but affirms a 
"glorification " of Christ (Dogmatik, p. 109 ; Qottheit Christi, 
pp. 411, 696-7, etc.). — Wendt likewise rejects a literal resur- 
rection. The words of Jesus on this subject "directly con- 
veyed only the thought that Jesus would after the briefest 
delay be awakened from death to the heavenly life with God" 
{Die Lehre Jesu, ii., p. 543 ; E. T., ii., p. 266).— Hamack 
declares that " every conception which represents the resurrec- 
tion of Christ as a simple resurrection of His mortal body is far 


from the original conception," and holds that " history gives 
not the least cause for the assumption that Jesus did not con- 
tinue in the grave." " Faith has by no means to do with the 
knowledge of the form in which Jesus lives, but only with 
the conviction that He is the living Lord " {Dogmengeschiehte, 
i., pp. 75 (E. T., i, 87). The outcome is that the Ritschlian 
theologians wish to hold by a " truth of faith " in the resurrec- 
tion of Christ — viz., a conviction of His abiding life, based on 
the estimate of His religious worth, but in the main they 
question the fact of the bodily resurrection, or at least do not 
regard it as an article of faith. 

We may be grateful for the earnest note of faith 
in a living Lord frequently uttered by the writers of 
this school, but it is impossible not to feel how sub- 
jective and insecure is the basis of that faith, when 
cut off from its positive foundation in the historically- 
attested fact. 

Passing to the sphere of theology proper, we have 
to notice next a considerable unanimity among the 
members of this school in regard to the idea of the 
theological si/stem, and the place given to Christ's great 
central conception of the Kingdom of God, In these 
respects also the party approves itself genuinely 
Eitschlian. Theology is separated (ostensibly) from 
metaphysics, but it is not denied that there is, or 
ought to be, a theological system — a " new dogma " — 
which is to replace the old.* Less is done than might 
be wished to give shape to this new dogma, but it is 
at least recognised as a desideratum. In quite the 
Kitschlian manner, Herrmann declares in his work on 

* Cf , Kaftan*B Brafwhen tvir ein neuen Dogma 1 and att* oil 


Eeligion that '^ the certainty of faith always adheres 
to the totality of a Christian view of the world {Gcmzen 
christHcher Weltanschauung), the practical appropria- 
tion of which brings the personal spirit to its peace/' 
and declares that *'in the theological proof each 
single member of the view of the world must receive 
its justification through the evidence of the whole." * 
Later, Herrmann 'somewhat resiles from this position, 
and appears to leave it to each individual to develop 
his theology in his own fashion. f Harnack, on the 
other hand, expresses himself with growing positive- 
ness in the successive editions of his History, '^ The 
intellectual element," he says, " within the Christian 
religion belongs to the essence of the thing itself, inas- 
much as this not only awakens feeling, but has a quite 
definite content which determines and should deter- 
mine the feeling. *In this sense, Christianity without 
dogma, that is, without a clear expression of its con- 
tent, is inconceivable." J The need of system, then, 
is generally recognised, and the Eitschlian writers are 
further of one mind in accepting as the controlling 
thought of that system the Christian idea of the 
Kingdom of God. Ritschl's doctrine of the twofold 
end is allowed to drop out of view,§ and the Kingdom 

* Die Religion^ Preface. 

t Verkehr, pp. 6-12 (E. T., pp. 8-13 ; but ct p. 186). 
See remarks in Reischle's art. in Zeitsohriftf 1897, pp. 227 ff. 

J Eng, Trans., p. 21 (as against Sabatier). Cf. Ghrundrtss^ 
i., p. 1. ''So far as the God and Father of Jesus Christ is 
believed in as the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth, the 
Christian religion includes a definite knowledge of God, of the 
world, and of the world-aim." 

§ The distinction of religion and morality is indeed 


of God becomes with them the comprehensive notion 
under which the whole of theology is brought. But 
difference emerges again when the question is put — 
what is the Kingdom of God? Herrmann comes 
nearest, perhaps, to Bitschl in such a definition as the 
following — " The Kingdom of God was to Jesus the 
sovereignty of God in the inner life of personal 
beings, and in their communion one with the other. 
The members of the Kingdom of God, as Jesus under- 
stood it, are those men who are fully subject to God 
through boundless confidence in Him and unbounded 
love for their neighbour."* Hitschl, as we saw, 
viewed this Kingdom exclusively under its earthly 
aspect. Wendt, more correctly, sees in the Kingdom 
a pi^esent, developing reality whose perfection lies in 
the future.t But Kaftan, with others of the school, 
regard it as wholly a thing of the " beyond." " The 
Kingdom of Grod," he says, " is supra-mundane ; as a 
Kingdom of glory, it belongs to the beyond and the 
future." J What Eitschl designates the Kingdom of 
God on earth, Kaftan regards as the moral preparation 
for the Kingdom — " the inwardly indispensable means 
for its realisation." § In antithesis to Bitschl, there- 
emphasised, but the idea of the Kingdom of God is regarded as 
the unity of both. Cf . Kaftan, Das Wesen, pp. 239 ft, 

* Verkehr, p. 68 (E. T., p. 72). 

t IHe Lehre Jem, ii., p. 603 ff (E. T., ii., pp. 840 ff.). 

X Das Wesen, p. 313. 

§ Cf. me WahrheU, p. 547 (E. T., ii., p. 379;. " That 
Kingdom can by no means be identified with the universal 
moral society which is being developed in the world, and in 
which all men are united by the law of love. As the chief 
good ... it is supramundane and invisible, the Kingdom of 
perfection belonging to the future, heavenly world." In Das 


fore, he transfers the spring of the Christian life and 
hope into the invisible world—- connects it, not with 
the historical, but with the exalted, Christ. His 
key-text is, " Your life is hid with Christ in God." * 
Somewhat similar is the position taken up by J. 
Weiss, RitschPs son-in-law. *'In the speech and 
mode of thought of Jesus, world and Kingdom of God 
are absolutely irreconcilable opposites; the world 
must perish that the Eangdom of Ckxl may find 
place." t He proceeds, however, to apply the 
idea, ''not in the sense of the Evangelists, but in 
the significant change of meaning it has received in 
modem theology." % Still, like Kaftan, he advocates 
a return to the thought of '' the exalted Christ." § 
What he means by this we shaU afterwards see. 

Probably the surest test of the unity of a school is 
the attitude taken by its members to the Chriatological 
question ; and here again the Eitschlian theologians 
manifest a singular unanimity. At one with Bitschl 
in their rejection of what they call the '' metaphysical " 
aspects of Christ's Person, they agree in their estimate 

Weseiif p. 211, he combats the view that Christ's teaching had 
reference to a Kingdom on earth. 

* Col. ill. 3. Cf . Kaftan's Sermons entitled Dcu Lehen in 
Chrixto ; and see Iku Wesen, p. 230. This is the ^* mystical " 
element in Kaftan. 

t Die Nachfolge Chriito, p. 168 ; cf . his Die Pred. Jem vom 
Reiohe Oottes, 

t Ibid., p. 168. 

§ Pp. 147-8. "Could we," he says, "reawaken in our 
chorches this temper, our connection with the origins of our 
religion would be secured. I saj ' reawaken/ for I think that 
this form of life has becomQ lost in rerf wide oirclwi'' 


of Jesus as One who stood in a unique relation to 
both God and man — ^the perfect Revelation of God 
in humanity, the Founder of His Kingdom, and the 
Reconciler of man to God. With them, as with 
Ritschl, the " Gk)dhead " of Christ is not a determina- 
tion of essence, but an expression of religious " value." 
Christ has the value of Deity for us because He is the 
perfect Revelation of God. In words of Herrmann — 
" The Deity of Christ can only be expressed by saying 
that the mind and will of the everlasting God stand 
before us in the historically active will of this man."* 
Or, as Kaftan puts it, " Who knows Him, knows God. 
He is God revealed in flesh, i.e., among men. . . . The 
perfect Revelation of God in the world." t Or, again, 
as Schultz, in his special work on this subject, unequi- 
vocally states it — he is God to us only as the bearer 
of the Revelation of God." J The constitution of this 

* Verkehr, p. 143 (E. T., p. 138 ; cf. p. 30). 

f Das WeseUf p. 310. In his Brauchen toir, etc., p. 58, 
Kaftan speaks as if he recognised something transcendental in 
the Person of Christ, and was breaking through the Ritschlian 
circle. " We know not,'* he says, ** how we can call a man 
* God * — the word is too great and weighty — if we do not truly 
mean that the Eternal God has come to us in Him, and in Him 
converses with us. . . . Do we believe in the Godhead of the 
Lord, then we believe also in His origin from above, from 
God." But does this mean more than what we have in Da* 
WeseUy p. 314 — " He is the man in whom GKxl caused the fulness 
of His eternal being to dwell, so that He is for us the image of 
the invisible God." A genuine faith in the Divinity of Christ 
is expressed, however, in the school of Haring, etc. Cf . passage 
quoted from Zi^ler on p. 227. One is glad to think that this 
positive tendency is growing. 

X Gottheit d, Christiy p. 696. He adds, ** God is man only 
as revealing himself for us in Christ/' 



unique Person is a '' mystery " not further to be 
investigated.* We are to turn from questions of pre- 
existence, Herrmann says, " with hearts cold as ice." t 
It is not easy to see, as formerly remarked, why, even on 
Ritschlian principles, this position need be maintained. 
What Eitschliamsm tabooes as '' metaphysical " is, on 
inspection, found to be often merely ^' transcendental.'' 
And it has already been pointed out that this theology, 
as little as any other, can get on without transcen- 
dental postulates. ^ God Himself is such a postulate. 
To explain the world, and man's place in it, a living, 
Personal, supramundane Cause and End of the cosmos 
is assumed. Why, then, should it be inadmissible to 
'* postulate" what may be necessary to es^lain the 
Personality of Christ ? If the term " metaphysical " 
is disliked, name it " a thought of faith." The *' post- 
existence " of Christ, which all these writers assume, 
is as truly a transcendental thought as His pre- 
existence. Why, if there is call for it, should the 
latter be inadmissible, and the former not ? We sub- 
mit that if Christ is to be thought of as the divinely- 
glorified being whom the theories of Herrmann, 
Kaftan, Hamack, Schultz, J. Weiss, and the others 
suppose, even His earthly existence cannot be put 
within the frame of purely human conditions.§ It 

* Gottheit d, Christit p. 383. 

t Address at Eisenach, October 1896. This ignores the fact 
that the raising of the question of pre-existence is not left to 
our own choice, but is forced upon us by sayings of Christ, and 
the drift of the teaching of the New Testament. 

J See above, p. 196.' 

§ As hinted in a previous note, Herrmann formerly seemed 
conscious of this, and was disposed to postulate pre-existence* 


needs transcendental factors to explain it — such 
factors as Christ's own deeper utterances would lead 
us to acknowledge.* 

There are questions, however, in regard to this 
Revelation of God we are assumed to have in 
Christ which, without prying too curiously into the 
mode, cannot altogether be avoided. In light of the 
avowed principles of the school on the subject of the 
miraculous, and the ambiguity we saw formerly to 
attach to the concept of Revelation, we cannot help 
asking — Does Revelation even in Christ transcend the 
limits of the natural? Translated from the sphere 
of reHgious value-judging into that of sober, objective 
fact, does it mean more than this — that Christ 
possessed a unique spiritual endowment, in virtue of 
which there opened itself up to Him a new view of 
God and the world, in the strength of which He Him- 
self Hved, and the faith of which He was able by the 
force of His spirit to impart to others ? The exalted 
language of the Ritschlians about Christ, and their 
unambiguous recognition of His sinlessness,t might 

"1 have certainly the conviction," he said, "that faith in 
Christ was led in a natural process to the representation of a 
pre-existence of Christ, and indeed of a personal, and not an 
ideal pre-existence. The assumption of an ideal pre-existence 
seems to me unjustified. . . . Faith is led to this, to regard the 
Redeemer, whom it knows as the Bevelation of God, as pre- 
existent" — Die Religion, p. 449. 

* John vi. 62 ; viii. 14, 68 ; xvii. 5, etc. 

f It does not follow that because the Ritschlians affirm the 
sinlessness of Christ, they would admit the impossibility of 
such an individual arising in humanity within the natural 
order. They would view the appearance of such an individual 
as teleologically provided for. 


seem to preclude such a supposition; but there are 
considerations of weight on the other side. We 
remember how Kitschl resents the notion of any 
direct, unmediated intercourse between the soul and 
God, and in his theory of knowledge denies the 
possibility of such; how at least an important 
section of his school declines to affirm any position in 
i*e]igion which conflicts with the assumption of an 
unbroken order of causation in nature ; how, on this 
ground, the supernatural birth of Jesus, and His 
bodily resurrection, are rejected. But we have hints 
also which would seem to suggest that, however great 
the worth of the Revelation of Jesus, it does not 
imply an origin outside of, or transcending, the 
inherent laws of the human spirit.* Herrmann, e.g.y 
in discussing miracle, always goes on the assumption 
that every event, however wonderful, is naturally 
mediated.t Schultz takes the same position in his 
dogmatic works.:}: We would not press this too' far, 

* An exception must again be made of Kaftan, and those 
like-minded with him, by whom the supernatural character 
of the Revelation of Christ is strongly affirmed. — Daa Wesen, 
p. 307. But even Kaftan leaves us in ambiguity when he 
extends '* Revelation " to all religions, and says — " A religion 
is true in so far as it rests on Revelation " (pp. 174, 175). 

f " For us," he says, " each miracle ( Wtmder) of God is 
to a measureless extent naturally mediated. God works 
through nature, which He has created as means for His final 
end." — IHe Religion^ p. 386. 

% ** The natural conditions of the ori^ of a human person- 
ality are (in Christ's case) in no wise affected. . . . For the 
religious view of the world, all natural conditions and powers 
come into consideration only as serviceable material for the 
aim of God in His creation of the world, never as contra- 
dictory of the latter, and requiring in a mundane respect to 


but it does seem to point to a view according to 
which the Person and Kevelation of Christ, while 
conceived of as lying in the plan of the world, and 
realising a purpose of God, still, just as in the 
theories of Pfleiderer and Lipsius, does not fall beyond 
the scope of natural conditions.* If this is 7u>t the 
view of these writers, their system cannot easily be 
cleared of the charge of radical incoherency.t 

In general agreement with the views of Eitschl, 
further, though with considerable divergence in detail, 
are the teachings of his school on the subjects of sin 
and salvation. Sin, as in Ritschrs theology, is judged 
of under the Gospel by the standard of the Kingdom 
of God. It is not the result of a " Fall," but arises 
inevitably from the empirical conditions under which 
man was created, t Man stands naturally under the 
law of the " flesh," i,e,y is ruled by self-seeking and 
sensuous impulses and desires. § His natural state, 
therefore, is necessarily sinful. Kaftan follows out 

be changed or set aside, in order that divine ends may be 
realised."— 6/<»«A/?t« d. Christi, p. 383. Cf. GrundrUt d. 
Dogmatikf p. 106. "The wonderfal and unique endowment 
of Jesus must be sought in the domain of religious and moral 
capabilities {Atdageni)" etc. 

* Bchultz quite properly recognises the affinity of his views 
to those of Schleiermacher, Bchweizer, Lipsius, etc. — Pref. to 

f An immediate Revelation of God to the soul of Christ 
would come under the ban of mysticism, and would be exposed 
to all the philosophical objections which Ritschl urges against 
the view that God and the soul can come directly together. 

% Kaftan, Da* Wesen^ p. 251 ; Schultz, Dogmatik, p. 61. 

§ Das Wesenf pp. 254-5 ; 8chultz holds that according to the 
Book of Genesis and St. Paul sin as " Fleischlichkeit " inhered 


this thought in a line of his own. Though the natural 
man is sinful, he is not therefore guilty.* Guilt is 
only imputed where there is knowledge.t Sin is 
measured by the absolute standard of the divine law ; 
guilt by the relative standard of the knowledge of the 
divine will.t While, therefore, there can be heredi- 
tary sin, there can be no inherited guilt.§ Sin is 
imputed only where there is knowledge, and only as 
imputed is it the object of the forgiveness revealed and 
guaranteed in Christ. || Kaftan thus reaches a 
position in some respects the opposite of Bitschrs, viz., 
that only sins done with knowledge are pardonable.^ 
Kaftan and Schultz do more justice than Bitschl to 
the judicial righteousness of Ckxl, and to the reality 
of the divine wrath.** Both speak strongly of 
"the eternal death" — "the second death" — ^with a 
leaning, apparently, like Bitschl, to the hypothesis of 
annihilation .ft 

in man before the fall, and prompted the sinful act — Dogmatik^ 
p. 61. 

* Sin and guilt, be bolds, are to be sharply distinguished. — 
Das Wesen, pp. 259, 271. 

t P. 267. 

% Pp. 249, 271. 

§ P. 260. The school generally parts with Kitsebl in his 
denial of hereditary vices. 

II Pp. 267-8. 

% This position of Kaftan's is untenable. If sin is not im- 
])utable, it is not really sin. If it is really sin^ it is imputable, 
&nd there is a measure of guilt. Schultz recognises the univer- 
sality of guilt, as of sin ; but holds that merely " human guilt," 
i.e.i guilt springing from natural conditions, without clear 
knowledge, " cannot yet condition the (final) judgment " (p. 67). 

** Kaftan, pp. 272-4 ; Schultz, pp. 41, 69. 

tt Kaftan, p. 273 ; Schultz, pp. 70, 154. Cf. on this subject 


A similar consensus exists in regard to the main 
features of the doctrine of salvation. The primary 
need of man in his relations to God is held to be the 
assurance of the forgiveness of his sins, with the ac- 
companying disclosure of the nature of his true good. 
Both are given in the personal manifestation of God's 
grace in Christ, and in His preaching of the Gospel 
of the Kingdom.* Herrmann, in this connection, 
lays special stress on the overmastering impression of 
the holiness and love of God which we receive from 
the character and life of Jesus — an impression which 
doubts as to the details of the Gospel history can 
do nothing to annul. Through Jesus we have the 
irrefragable certainty that God is present to us, and 
communes with us — " a God so holy that He at once 
strikes down the sinner, and yet also forgives him, 
and reconciles him to himself by his own act " t — and 
thus are raised to the consciousness of forgiveness, and 
are enabled to yield ourselves to the service of God's 
Kingdom. :( It is nevertheless not the teaching of 

of sin and guilt, and on the notion of the divine wrath, two 
interesting papers of Ziegler on Die ethUohe Versohnmigslehre 
in the Zeitschrift for 1895. With Ziegler, also, the wrath of 
God is an eschatological conception, and issues in the annihi- 
lation of the obdurate (pp. 25, 86). This idea of annihilation 
has a certain fascination for the members of the school. 

* " In the preaching of Jesus," says Eaftan, " the forgiveness 
of sins is the removal of the hindrance which exists in human 
guilt for the kingdom of God proclaimed by Him." — Das 
Wesen, p. 276. 

t Verkehr, p. 23 (B. T., p. 26). 

X Pp. 77-9, 96, 112 (E. T., pp. 79-81, 97, 111). J. Weiss, in 
his Naehfolge ChrUtiy pp. 137-47, thinks Herrmann too indi- 
vidualistic and exclusive in his view, and contrasts him with 


these writers that this forgiveness flows to us as a 
matter of course from the gracious character of Gkxi. 
" To every one who really experiences it," Herrmann 
declares, ^'forgiveness comes as an astounding reve- 
lation of love."  "It is always," says Kaftan, " an 
unfathomable decree of the love of God that He 
was willing to reconcile sinners to Himself in Christ, 
without and contrary to their desert. * . . For the 
conscience would judge that guilt excludes us from 
participation in the Kingdom of God." t In various 
ways, also, they recognise a connection between Christ's 
sufferings and death and the forgiveness of sms, and 

Ritschl. Bitschl's biographer also notices the yariations from 
Bitschl in the later form of Herrmann's theology. — Lehen^ 
ii., p. 461. Cf. O. Ritschl in ZeUschnft, 1897, p, 177. How, 
indeed, would Herrmann, on his theory of personal impression 
from the historical Christ, account for the conversion of Paul ? 

* VerUehr^ p. 205 (E. T., p. 194). Herrmann regards it as 
*' the grossest misrepresentation of Bitschl's theology that has 
yet been made" to say that "divine forgiveness goes without 
saying, because we have learned that God is love" (p. 103). 
If, however, this means more than that, without the Christian 
Revelation, we should not have been able to believe in for- 
giveness, it is not easy to see where the misrepresentation 
comes in. For God, in Bitschl's theology, is love and nothing 
else. How, then, should He not forgive ? What is there to 
hinder forgiveness ? Or rather, what place is there for for- 
giveness where there is no displeasure at sin, or condemnation 
of it ? Does Herrmann or Kaftan mean that it might have 
been just in God to have left the race — sinning, as Ritschl 
holds, in ignorance — to perish eternally for lack oi a forgive- 
ness it was in His power to bestow ? Or is the meaning simply 
that Ritschl held foi^iveness to be conditioned by a moral 
change in the sinner — the acceptance of God's end — ^and in 
this sense is not something to be counted on by all ? 

t ^>^ Wahrheity p. 554 (E. T., ii. p. 389). 


admit that such a connection is established more or 
less directly in Christ's own words.* But standpoints 
and interpretations on this subject differ widely. 
Herrmann, e*g,y even finds a germ of truth in the 
older satisfaction doctrine, and speaks of Jesus as, 
while dispensing forgiveness, " at the same time con- 
sciously working to establish the inviolable justice 
of God's moral order." t This thought, however, is 
not further developed, and does not stand in any 
recognisable connection with the general trend of 
Herrmann's teaching. It is an "erratic block" in 
a system of quite different context. Kaftan, on the 
other hand, lays the stress, not on the death, but on 
the resurrection, and ** the death comes into considera- 
tion only as the transition to the glorified life." t He 
finds the doctrine of Paul lacking in consistency, and 
the death of Christ has for him, generally, only the 
significance of a " Revelation of the Divine love." § 
Wendt acknowledges, again, that Christ attributed a 
saving significance to His death, but does not believe 

'*' Of. on tliis Hamack's Dogmengesehichtef i., pp. 59-60 
(with add. note in E. T., p. 66) ; p. 73 (E. T., p. 83). 

t Verkehr, pp. 103-8 (E. T., do.). 

i Das Wesen, p. 230. He does not here attach to the death 
of Christ much theological importance of any kind. These 
views stand also in 2nd edition (1888) ; bnt in a later review 
of Haring in Theol, Lit.^Ztg, (1894) he speaks much more 
positively of the need of conserving the thought of represen- 
tation, and even of " substitutionary penal suffering " (^Stell- 
vertretendes Strafleiden) as an element contained in the 
catholic doctrine of satisfaction. So earlier (1879) in a 
Sermon on ** Christ hath redeemed us/' etc. This is another 
" erratic block " we find it difficult to account for. 

§ P. 280. 


that He connected it directly with the forgiveness of 
sins.* His obedience, ratified by His death, availed 
^'as an actually operative motive for God to ratify 
His gracious will in the case of His disciples/' t The 
Church, however, was justified in giving it a reference 
to forgiveness in the sense that " men assailed with 
the consciousness of their sins obtain through the 
death of Jesus a strengthened assurance of the sin- 
forgiving grace of God/* $ The weakness of most of 
these theories, from the evangelical point of view, 
lies in their ignoring of the propitiatory element 
(Siihne) which is so prominent in the New Testament ; 
and this defect is sought to be met in the theories 
of Haring, Kahler, and others of the more positive 
section of the school. § Haring has a theory not 

* Die LeTvre Jem, ii., p. 522 (E. T., ii., p. 241) : " Jesus Him- 
self has neither in the words of the Supper, nor elsewhere, 
expressed this special reference of the saving significance of 
His death for the benefit of the forgiveness of sins." 

t Ihid^ p. 626 (E. T., iL, p. 246). He explains by God's 
promise to reward with mercy to thousands the faithfulness 
of those who kept the covenant. How much more will He 
" superabundantly repay, with blessing to thousands, nay, to 
all the members of the community of His Kingdom, the 
perfect obedience of His Son," p. 521 (E. T., ii., p. 239). He 
thus interprets the meaning of Christ's death as a '' ransom " : 
" He teaches them through His example to rise in pioas 
humility and certainty of salvation above death, and so to 
change death from being a fearful tyrant into a means of 
salvation" (p. 516). This, he says, coincides in essentials 
with the explanation of Ilitschl. 

X Ibid., p. 622 (E. T., ii., p. 241). 

§ Cf. Haring's Das Bleihende im Glauben an Chrutus 
(1880), but specially his 2hir Versdhnwngslehre (1893) ; and 
Kahler's Die Versdhnung duroh Christtut, etc. (1885). 


unlike Dr. J. McLeod Campbell's, and finds the 
objective element in Christ's atonement in His 
perfect realisation and acknowledgment of the evil 
of sin, and in His furnishing to God a security that 
all who believe in Him will also realise the normal 
relation to God.* K. Ziegler is in close agreement 
with Haring and Kahler in his " ethical " view of 
atonement, t Little use is made by the school 
generally of the peculiar Pauline terminology — ^justifi- 
cation, etc., which is regarded as shaped in antithesis 
to Pharisaic modes of thought ; % but J. Weiss gives 
prominence to the idea of the representation of 
believers before God in Christ — a feature of the 
Bitschlian theology to which he thinks little justice 
has been done, even by Ritschrs nearest scholars. § 
He admits, however, that Ritschl uses the formula 
of " the imputation of Christ's merit " only in an 
"Umdeutung" — a changed sense — on the principle 
formerly explained that love given to one is extended 

 On Haring's theory see Domer, Syst, of Doct, iv., p. 72 
(E. T.). His view, briefly, is that God only forgives on 
condition of an infinite feeling of contrition and abhorrence 
of evil, and this Christ rendered. This view has since been 
modified, with greater approximation to the ordinary doctrine. 

f See his able articles on Die ethische Versdhnufigslehre, in 
Zeitsohrift for 1895, His discussion embraces the doctrines of 
sin and guilt as well as of atonement. Death, in his view, is 
a punishment of sin, but only because contemplated in light 
of " the abstract possibility of an ideal, sinless development of 
the whole of humanity " (p. 37), which yet does not correspond 
with the actual facts of man's origin. Here, again, we are 
working with illusive " value- judgments." 

+ Cf. Kaftan, Dag Wesen, pp. 278-79, 284. 

§ Die Nachfolge Christi, p. 122. 


to persons intimately related to him, and, in the case 
of an injured party, may move to the forgiveness of 
the person who has done the injury.* Schultz also 
gives a leading place to this idea of representation .f 

The difficulty we met within Ritschl about the 
twofold end in justification and sanctification does not 
arise among the members of his school, by whom the 
forgiveness of sins is regarded directly as the removal 
of hindrances to the fulfilment of the moral tasks 
of the Kingdom of God. The supreme support of 
Christian life within the Kingdom of God is, as with 
Ritschl, faith in the Fatherly providence of God, and 
complete submission to His loving will.;]: This would 
have value if it involved belief in an actual, objective 
shaping of the course of providence with a view to the 
ends of the believer's life. It does not, in fact, seem, 
as before observed, to carry us much further than the 

* Die Naclifolge Christi, pp. 122-4. The person originally 
loved is supposed to be a " Btirgschaf t," or security for the 
other — i,e.f warrants him to be a person not unworthy of 
favour. But is not this to bring back justification to some- 
thing in personal character ? 

t Cf. Dogmatik, p. 118. " In the reconciling work of 
Christ," he says further, " we have to do not with a juridical 
satisfaction, or substitutionary endurance of punishment, but 
with the moral category of substitutionary suffering, whose 
central point is redeeming sympathy, which knows no blessed- 
ness without the salvation of the loved one." Haring would 
subordinate the idea of representation to that of Elevelation. — 
Zur VersdhnungtUhre (pp. 39 ff.). 

X The Christian view of the world is summed up by Kaftan 
comprehensively thus : " that the world is perfectly dependent 
on God, and that He orders everything in it in accordance 
with the end of His holy love." — Das Wesen, p. 393, 


conviction that the world as a whole is created for 
the end of the Kingdom of God, and that whatever 
happens to the child of God is always for the best — 
i.e. can be nfiade into the best by his spirit of faith 
and submission.* Prayer, for instance, helps us, 
according to Herrmann, not by any objective influence, 
but because the confidence it calls forth takes away the 
burden from our souls.f He is at one with Eitschl also 
in the view that certainty of forgiveness is attainable 
only by the habitual life of faith. One would have 
thought from his insistence on the power of the 
impression of the historical Christ that the certainty 
of forgiveness would be regarded as springing up natu- 
rally and involuntarily at the very commencement 
of the Christian life. He holds the opinion, however, 
which he attributes also to the Reformers, " that we 
are certain that God forgives our sins only when we 
submit ourselves to the operations of the gracious God 
with confidence in His help for every situation in life." % 
This makes certainty of salvation depend, in the last 
resort, on the degree of our faith in providence— a 
position doubly dubious when it is remembered that, 
on his theory, our only right to trust the providence 
of €rod is our confidence that we are children of Gkxl, 
and members of His Kingdom.§ 

* Of. Schultz, Dogmatik, p. 38. 

t Verkehr, p. 268 (E. T., p. 248). 

J P. 201 (B. T,, p. 192). 

§ In this connection it should be observed that the Bitschlian 
writers generally do not, any more than Bitschl, teach a 
iiniversal Fatherhood of God. God is the Father of those who 
are admitted to His fellowship in His kingdom. Schnltz, 
e,g.^ lays down the positions that (1) every natural man 


In aooordaDoe with the views entertained by Bitschl, 
most of the members of his school show a strong 
anH-mystieal biaa» though other tendencies are also 
to be noticed. Herrmann is the writer who stands 
nearest to Bitechl in this respect. In his striking 
book on Communion with God he advocates the view 
— ^thus at least we are compelled to understand him * 
— ^that the only way God draws near to and communes 
with men is through the fact of the historical appear- 
ance of Jesus Christ. An immediate action of God 
upon the soul such as is affirmed in the ordinary 
doctrine of the enlightening, awakening, regenerating, 
and sanctifying operations of the Spirit — any fellow- 
ship of the soul with Grod, therefore, other than is 
implied in the impression made on us by Christ's 
historical manifestation — is repudiated as mysticaLt 
It is involved in faith, indeed, so Herrmann holds, 
that the love and care of God, and His interest in our 

possesseB the capacity to become a member of the Kingdom 
of God; (2) no natural man as snch is a member of the 
Kingdom of God. Our destination is from'-being children 
of this earth to be made into children of God in Christ. — 
Dogmatik, pp. 61-2. J. Weiss, however, will not maintain 
that in no sense are Hindoos or Negroes children of God. 
" Only about that we knownothing positively." — Die NacJ^folgCf 
p. 127. 

* See note below. 

f It is difficult to know what Herrmann would make, say, 
of the events of Pentecost. Harnack, in his Dogmenffeschichte, 
cannot, on the other hand, be accused of undervaluing the 
place of the Spirit in the early Church. Cf. pp. 47, 68 (E. T., 
pp. 50, 80, where see enlarged note — " the Spirit as a possession, 
principle, of the n«w supernatural life, and of holiness"). 
The school generally, however, has no proper doctrine of the 


welfare, is abiding ; Ibat the exalted Lord figured by 
faith as " perfected, and freed from all earthly limits," 
is aware of " how near we have come to Him, or how 
far we are from Him " ; that " the Lord, who has over- 
come, is still with us with all His human sympathies." * 
But there is no immediate communion, no direct, or, 
at the least, conscious contact of His spirit with ours. 
" Of a communion with the exalted Christ there can 
be no mention." t In the glow of his faith in the 
exalted Christ, Herrmann almost breaks the bounds 
of his Bitschlianism, and certainly rises himself to 
a sufficiently mystical height of But he 
stops short at the point of direct communion. It is 
otherwise, with Kaftan, who, as already observed, lays 
all the stress on the exalted Christ, and the reality of 
spiritual communion — on the life " hid with Christ in 
God.'* § J. Weiss, too, directly reverses Herrmann's 

* Verkehr, p. 237 (E. T., p. 222). 

t P. 238. 

I By a curious irony Herrmann himself is accused by 
J. Weiss of foiling into the error of the mystics. — Die Nachfolge 
Christif p. 146. Herrmann's doctrine of the exalted Christ, 
** freed from all earthly limits," etc, involves a tremendous 
assumption if regarded as a mere deduction of faith. It is an 
assumption for which there is no secure basis in his theory. 
In any case, held as seriously as he holds it, it should lead to 
a reconstruction of his conception of Christ. A Being thus 
exalted passes the limits of humanity. Ritechl could not 
have followed Herrmann in these transcendent flights. 

§ Das Wesen, pp. 230, 239 ; Die Wahrheit, p. 252 (E. T., i., 
p. 339) : " It is correct that in Christian piety we seek 
communion with the divine Spirit and life, and are aware that 
we can find blessedness only in this direct communion ; that 
on the heights of the inner world of faith all thought of any 
kind of mediation vanishes.'* Cf. on this subject Beischle's 


dictum, and says, " Even Christ has become to us, 
to this age, a distant historical appearance. The 
sole means of removing this impression is a powerful 
and immediate faith in, and communion with, the 
exalted One. '' * But this writer's conception of 
what faith in the exalted Christ implies, and of the 
significance of the idea for the guidance of the Church, 
presents some curious results.t 

Note on Herrmann^i " Verhekr" — The view that Herrmann 
does not deny a direct acoeas of God to the soul, but means 
only to affirm that all spiritoal action of God in the soal is 
mediated by the historical Revelation will not, we believe, be 
borne out by a careful study of his volume. If this were all| 
there would be no reason for the warmth of his polemic 
against Frank, Luthardt, etc., who would not dream of dis- 
puting the general dependence of the work of the Spirit on 
that of Christ, as affirmed in John xvi. 14, 15. Herrmann's 
opponents, and the critics of his own school, understand him 
as we do; his principles, indeed, are only the carrying out 

Ueher die Mystik in der TheologiCf which seeks to mediate 
between the different standpoints. 

* Die Nachfolge ChrisH, p. 163. 

f He means by placing ourselves under the exalted Christ 
that we are to think of what Christ would say and do now 
were He among us under the new conditions of society (pp. 164, 
171). Not a little of the teaching of the historical Christ 
would, he imagines, require reversal, and even correction. 
Here is one passage — *' No one can tell whether to-day He 
would appear in the guise of a wandering preacher, or in the 
coat of the artisan, or as a statesman, or scholar, or even as 
field-general. Just as little dare we maintain that He would 
have nothing else to say than the Sermon on the Mount. On 
the contrary, He would quite certainly be the most modern 
of all men, and would speak as no one we had ever yet heard, 
in quite new thoughts and words '* (p. 167). 


of those of Bitschl. — Since the publication of his Verkehr^ 
Herrmann has been subjected to a good deal of adverse 
criticism by Kahler, J. Weiss, O. Bitschl, Troeltsch, and 
others, of his own general way of thinking. The points 
of criticism are such as the following: — The attempt to 
separate the Christ of the Gospels from the Christ of the 
Apostolic preaching; the representation of that as an 
immediate impression of the historical Christ which is really 
mediated to us by the Gospel testimony, the faith of the 
living Church, and the thought and atmosphere of our existing 
spiiitual environment ; his too narrow view of the origin of 
faith ; the failure to give a due place to Christ as risen and 
exalted in relation to the life of the Church ; on the part 
of O. Ritschl — the attempt to base faith in a historical fact 
on grounds which are altogether independent of historical 
judgment. This last criticism is exceptionally important, as 
showing that the school is becoming alive to the impossibility 
of separating "faith- judgments" from ordinary scientific and 
historical investigations. — See the criticism of Kahler (of Ist 
edit.) in his Der sogenannte hUtoriseJie JegtMy etc. (1892) ; of 
J. Weiss in the work already mentioned, Die Nachfolge 
Christif 1895; of O. Ritschl in art. on Ber gesohichtliche 
Christns, in Zeitschri/t, 1893 ; of Troeltsch in arts, in Zeitschri/t, 
1896-6, referred to below. Herrmann replied to Kahler in art. 
on Der geschiohtliohe ChrUtus^ in Zeitschrift, 1892 ; and the 
different positions are reviewed by Beischle in art. on Die 
Begrwndung des Olavhens, etc, in Zeitschrift, 1897. 

Kitscbl's doctrine of the Church receives little 
development at the hands of the Ritschlian writers. 
From several passages in Herrmann we gather that 
the immediate impression of the historical Christ 
which works faith in ns is, after all, understood by 
him to be " in a thousand ways " mediated to us by 
the community of believers — the Church.* Nay, 

* Verhehr, p. 165 (E. T., p. 149). 



Gkxl " can open His inner self only to such as are in 
the Church, t.e., in the fellowship of such as trust 
Him.* This is an important qualification of the 
" immediateness," and the difficulty of reconciling 
Herrmann's utterances on this subject of the relation 
of the believer to Christ and to the Church, is well 
pointed out by J. Weiss in the work above cited, t 
and by O. RitschL^ None of the writers goes so far 
as Bitschrs doctrine of the justification of the com- 
munity. The Sacraments are regarded as outward 
pledges of God's love to us in Christ, and of our 
standing in the community. 

The school also, as was to be anticipated, maintains 
great reserve on Eachatology, Its writers give more 
prominence than Eitschl did to a final perfected and 
glorified state of the Kingdom of God § ; and many 
of them, as we have seen, lay emphasis on the present 
exalted life of Christ. Herrmann confidently antici- 
pates a time when we shall see Christ " otherwiise 
than in the mirror of history, and with other eyes 
than those looking out from the midst of the earthly 
struggle.'' II Little is made of the eschatological 
discourses of Jesus, which, Wendt thinks, express 
simply the idea " of the continuance of His Messianic 
significance in the Kingdom of God in spite of His 
death."1[ The Second Advent, in Schultz's view, 

• P. 152 (E. T., p. 147). Cf. the whole passage, pp. 152-62. 
f Die Nachfolge ChHsti, pp. 137 ff. 

% Art. Der gesch, Cliristusy in Zeitschrifty 1893, pp. 388-93. 
§ Thus Kaftan, Bomemann, Schultz, etc. 
II Verkehr, p. 140 (E. T., p. 122). 
^ Die Lehre Jesus, ii., p. 556 (B. T., ii., p. 283). 



does not belong to Dogmatics.* There is general con- 
currence in the idea that those who finally resist the 
Divine purpose will undergo " the second death." t 
As illustrating the more positive note that is some- 
times struck, we may cite the following sentences 
from Ziegler : " He will come at last as Judge of the 
quick and dead to perfect His Elingdom. Now do 
we finally understand why this man Jesus is called 
* true God/ * born of the Father in eternity.' .... 
The work of Christ, of which we see upon the earth 
only a weak beginning, is the work of Crod. It 
reaches forward and backward into eternity. A 
mere man cannot work through the whole creation. 
Only one Man can do that, who is one with God 
Himself, who has come forth from God as the Son 
of God, and goes to God, while He leads all His own 
with Him— to God." { 

The brevity of this sketch has made it impossible 
to do more than touch on points in the views of the 
more prominent representatives of the new theology. 
The tendency of the younger generation has been to 
abate somewhat the exclusive tone of the older 
Eitschlians, and to acknowledge the services of other 
theologians of the mediating and liberal types § — 

* Dogmatikj p. 152. 

t IMd., pp. 70, 164 ; Kaftan, Das Wesen^ pp. 273-4 ; Ziegler, 
in ZeiUchrift, 1895, pp. 25, 36, etc. 

X In ZeitschH/t 1895, p. 227. 

§ Thus earlier Kattenbusch and Schultz. The latter freely 
acknowledges his essential agreement with Schleiermacher, 
Schweizer, Lipsius* Beyschlag, Biickei't, as well as Bitscbl 


hardly yet of the "old orthodox." With this has 
gone the accentuation of internal differences in 
the school, the result heing, as we have seen, widely 
divergent standpoints. Specially noteworthy in this 
connection is a remarkable series of papers by 
Troeltsch, a pupil of Ritschl's, in the Zeitschrift of 
the party, on " The Relation of the Christian View 
of the World to Counter-Tendencies in Science" 
(1893-4), and on " The Independence of Religion '* 
(1895). In a criticism which embraces aU the leading 
representatives, this writer assails the " subjectivity " 
of the Ritschlian school, and practically separates 
himself from its self -enclosed attitude in regard to 
external knowledge. We cannot ignore the question, 
he says, of " how our (Christian) experience and the 
view of the world which goes along with it are related 
to facts known to us in other ways.^'* We have not 
thought it necessary to dwell on the older " Bender," 

(Pref . to Oottheit). So Ziegler, in article above cited, owns his 
obligations to Rothe, C. J. Nitzsch, Gess, Kuhl, Kahler, etc. 

* ZeiUchHft, 1893, p. 494. In a later article, 1895, p. 375, 
he says of the Bitschllan procedure : " To apply to non- 
Christian religions the Feuerbachian theory, and to the 
Christian religion, on the other hand, the supernaturalistic 
theory of Revelation, is an exceedingly hazardous experi- 
ment." And in 1896, p. 91 : ** I should not think, of course, 
of ignoring the considerable merits of the neo-Eantian 
theologians; I should like only to bring it about that the 
younger generation of theologians should earnestly examine 
the presuppositions taken over (along with myself) from the 
Bitschl school, and should see in its fatal sceptical subjec- 
tivism the ground of so many serious peculiarities of this 
theology." Kaftan replies to Troeltsch in an article on Die 
Selhitstdndi^heit des ChrUtenthwns in same volume, 1896. 


jj-jj; or the more recent " Apostolicum " controversies in 

o^ the school * — the latter bearing partly on the obliga- 

tions of creed-subscription, but largely also on the 
history of the symbol, and <jn the place of the 
Virgin-birth in the belief of the primitive Church. 
Its historical results have not been without value, t 
Not a little discussion has taken place also in the 
organs of the school on the use of the Scriptures — 
specially of the Old Testament — in education. It 
is obvious that the isolating of the Revelation in 
Christ from earlier Revelation, which is the tendency, 
e.g., in Herrmann, co-operating with the results of 
criticism, could not but tend to a depreciation of the 
Old Testament,^ and lead to protests, in turn, from 
the more moderate adherents of the party. This 
is what happened in 1894, when a warm discussion 
was carried on in the pages of Die chrisUiche Wdt, 
One writer published an article entitled "The Old 
Testament has no place in Christian Education." 

* The literature of both controversies can be fully seen m 
Nippold. The bare lists occupy several pages. 

t Among the chief writers are Harnack, Eattenbusch, 
Cremer, Herrmann, Achelis, Bomemann, Zdckler, Zahn ; but 
there is a multitude more. 

% It was far from clear in the 1st edition of Herrmann's 
Verkehr what place was left for Revelation in the Old Testa- 
ment, or indeed anywhere, except in Christ. In the 2nd 
edition Hen*mann seeks to remove the objection made to him 
on this score by saying that though the pious Israelite had no 
doubt communion with God, ''the facts which wrought on 
him as Eevelations of God have no more this power for us." — 
P. 49 (this sentence is omitted in E. T., p. 52). Mark the 
subjectivity of the expression : '* wrought " on him as 
*' Revelations " : not necessarily as being really so." 


Ghristianityy he held, maintains the same relation 
to Judaism that it does to heathenism. '' It is high 
time that the prophetic Messiah mantle be taken 
from the shoalders of the exalted Christ, that we 
may be able to see the Son of Man in all His 
glory."* Others concede that the historical portions 
cannot be used with much profit, but claim that this 
is not true of the prophetical and poetical parts. 
More conservative voices also make themselves heard. 
Such discussions can only result in creating by recoil 
a stronger sense of the unity of divine Bevelation, 
and of the need of greater caution in the handling of 
the Old Testament records. 

* a IT., 1894, No. 18. 



Good Features in Ritschlianism — Relation to the Spirit of 
the Age — Nevertheless Inadmissible as a Substitute for 
the Older Evangelical Faith— Futility of its Claim to be 
uninfluenced by Philosophy and Science — Its Theory of 
Knowledge — ** Metaphysic " and '* Theoretic Thought " : 
Ambiguity of Terms— Impossibility of Divorce of Religion 
and Theoretic Thought— Theory of " Value- Judging "—In 
what' sense Religion involves " Value- Judgments " — 
Nature of the ** Judgment of Value " — " Judgments of 
Value " and Scientific Judgments not Opposed — Ritschlian 
Subjectivism — Defects in Ritschlian Theory of Religion 
and Revelation — The Problem of Revelation in Christ — 
"Natural Theology" — The Teleological Conception of 
Christianity — Defects in Ritschlian Idea of God—" Love " 
the Abstraction of the Divine Purpose — Ritschlian View 
of the Divine Righteousness : its Inadequacy — Love and 
Law — Intrinsic Rightness of Divine Methods and Ends — 
Defects in Idea of the Kingdom of God — Its Abstract 
Character — Relation to Idea of Church — Modem Place of 
this Conception — Ritschlianism and the Primitive Gospel 
— Place of Death and Resurrection of Christ in the Latter 
—Doctrine of the Incarnation — Defects of Ritschlian 
treatment — Evangelical View in accordance with the 
Facts — Doctrine of Reconciliation— Ritschlian ignoring 
of " Propitiation " — Defects in Views of Sin and Redemp- 
tion — Evangelical Doctrine of Atonement — Defects in 
Ritschlian View of Work of the Spirit and the New Life 
— Decline of Influence of the School — Evangelical Spirit 
underlying Differences — Conclusion. 

WE are now in a position, at the end of this 
lengthened survey, to sum up rapidly the 
results of the theology we have been considering, and 



to estimate its relation to what is usually described as 
the Evangelical Faith. We can readUy recognise the 
many true thoughts which lie in the Ritschlian system, 
and the relative value of many of its characteristic 
contentions. It is true that reUgion has often suffered 
from the intrusion of philosophy ; true that over-intel- 
lectualism, and the substitution of scholastic subtlety 
and elaboration for conceptions drawn from immediate 
contact with the Gospel facts, and from direct 
Christian experience, have been a bane and hindrance 
to the right apprehension of Christian truth. So far 
as Kitschlianism is a protest against this rationalising 
of Christianity, and an assertion of the right and duty 
of developing the Christian system from its own basis, 
its influence is wholesome. We can well understand, 
too, the desire felt by earnest teachers to find a way of 
presenting the Gospel which shall commend it to the 
mind and heart of an age in large measure alienated 
from its truths, and stumbled by its demand for faith 
in things which the modern view of the world is sup- 
posed to reject. The warmest supporters of the evan- 
gelical faith will agree, we believe, with the Eitschlians, 
in their desire to get back to the simplest elements 
of the Gospel in dealing with such an age ; will be 
eager to approach it on every side by which access to 
mind and conscience is possible ; will be glad to begin, 
if that is needful, at the very lowest round of the 
ladder, and to win men's faith by the mo3t direct — ^the 
least dogmatic — presentation of Christ's character and 
message, in the hope that thereby they may lead them 
to the acknowledgment of something higher. But 
they will not feel that this elementary presentation of 


the Gospel is adequate for the purposes of a theology 
which is to embrace the entire contents of the Chris- 
tian faith ; and they will doubt the wisdom, even for 
the end in view, of concealing from men those aspects 
of the Gospel which, in the judgment oL an Apostle, 
constitute it peculiarly "the power of God unto 
salvation,"* or of minimising the gulf in principle 
which must always separate the believing from an 
unbelieving view of the world.t 

We readily grant, also, the attraction of the teleo- 
logical point of view from which Eitschlianism would 
have us regard the Christian religion, and the impor- 
tance of many of the ideas brought forward in this 
connection. We welcome the amplitude of the 
Kitschlian way of conceiving of theology as an organic 

* Rom. i. 16. Thns we are asked not only to disemburden 
oar preaching of characteristic doctrines and &icts of Chris- 
tianity — doctrines of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, of the 
Atonement, facts of the miraculous conception, of the Gospel 
miracles, of Christ's Resurrection (cf. Herrmann, Vcrkehrj 
passim^ and article in ZtUschriftj 1891, on Beligioti utid Social' 
demokratie), but to keep in the background even the name of 
Christ, and the fact of sin, lest we should stumble the men of 
culture of our time. " Should we din and vex them,** says J. 
Weiss, " by forcing on them the name of our Lord 1 Nothing 
could be more unpiedagogic than this. . . . We have only the 
choice, to give up these circles altogether, or to draw them in 
by leading them from circumference to centre, from ethics to 
religion, from work in the Kingdom of God to the understand- 
ing of the religious thought of the Kingdom of God. . . . The 
feeling of the demerit of sin and of our infinitely deep 
implication in it demanded in Christianity will be sought for 
in many men at the beginning in vain," etc. — Die Naohfolge 
ChrUti, pp. 175, 176, 180, etc. 

t 1 Cor. i. 18-31. 


*' whole," and recognise the need that is widely felt, 
not only for a recasting of the old dogmatic formulas — 
less as untrue than as inadequate, though to a mind 
that has transcended it there \& always felt to be an 
element of untruth in the use even of an inadequate 
formula — but for a new and larger grasp of Chris- 
tianity as a system. We acknowledge an aspect of 
truth in the distinction of " religious " and " theoretic," 
and in the doctrine of " value- judging," though we 
dissent absolutely from the divorce that Ritschlianism 
would set up between the two domains ; and we rejoice 
in the note of return to positive Eevelation in Christ 
sounded by the school, and in the tendencies to a fuller 
confession both of the Deity of Christ, and of His 
work of atonement, which are increasingly discovering 
themselves. » 

Why, then, if RitschUanism has so much that is true 
and valuable in it, do we still feel bound to speak of 
it as an imperfect and mutilated, in many respects 
wholly inadmissible, version of the Christian Gospel — 
a system which will not bear to be put in comparison 
in permanent vitality with the older evangelical 
creed it seeks to displace ? It will be our object in 
this chapter to give an answer to this query. The 
evangelical faith, we would only premise, is also a 
system — well compacted, and in its main propositions 
internally coherent — a system which may not, any 
more than Eitscblianism, be final or perfect in its 
expression of the truths of Revelation, but which, in 
its root-thoughts at least, may claim faithfully to con- 
serve the round of truths in the Apostolic Gospel as 
Ritschlianism does not. The proof of this superiority 


lies partly in the fact that Bltschlianism is visibly 
undergoing disintegration, and moving back, in one 
or another of its representatives, on positions more 
in accord with the evangelical faith ; but chiefly in 
the consideration of the case itself, and in direct 
comparison of the systems with the sources from 
which both are avowedly drawn. 

We naturally bestow attention first on the out- 
works of the system — on its general pretensions, and 
its theories of knowledge and religion. The essence 
of its claim we found to lie in its profession to free 
theology from an ensnaring dependence on philosophy 
and nature-knowledge — from all entanglement with 
questions of science, criticism, history, etc. Theology, 
it is held, has suffered from not recognising the ab- 
solute distinctness of these two spheres — the religious 
and the theoretic — and from allowing the one to be 
influenced by the other. To this it may be replied, 
in general, that if Christianity deals with matters 
which lie also within the purview of philosophy and 
science — as, e.g,, in its theistic affirmations, its 
doctrines of providence, prayer, and miracle — it is 
impossible that the results in the two spheres should 
not be brought into companson ; if , as is claimed, it 
is an historical religion — the knowledge of which can 
only come to us through testimony and through 
books — it is impossible that it should be absolutely 
indifferent to questions of historical criticism.* But, 
waiving this for the moment, we are mistaken if it 

* This is the point in the article by O. Ritschl in Zeitsch'Hfty 
1893, above referred to. _ 


will not be evident from the preceding sketch that 
no system has less reason to boast of independence of 
the conditions of the age in which it had its birth 
than Bitschlianism. If early dogma bears on itself 
the imprint of its Greek intellectual environment, 
assuredly the Kitschlian theology is no less unmis- 
takably a product of the conditions of thought and 
knowledge in the nineteenth century. The very 
intensity of its demand that theology and philosophy 
— theology and nature-knowledge — shall be separated, 
arises from the feeling of the acuteness of the pressure 
on theology of questions of philosophy and science.* 
The Apologists of the second century are blamed for 
having departed from the true idea of Christianity in 
seeking to present it to the Greek mind as a system 
of natural theology. But it may be afiSlrmed of 
Kitschlianism that it also throws over large and 
vital parts of Christianity in obedience to the sup- 
posed requirements of modern thought. It would 
not be an unfair description of the Eitschlian theology 
to say that it is an attempt to show how much of 
positive Christianity can be retained, compatibly 
with the acceptance of the modern non-miraculous 
theory of the world. This is not to keep Christianity 
separate from modern thought, but to make a sur- 
render to it. Accordingly the real quarrel with the 
ordinary evangelical view often is, not that it is 
an amalgamation of the Gospel with metaphysics, but 
— precisely the opposite of this — that, derived from 
Scripture, and seeking to preserve its affirmations, 

* See the articles of Troeltsch in Zeitsch'i'ift above referred 


it refuses to adapt itself to modern current views. 
The modem view of the world, e.^., refuses miracle ; 
the Scripture affirms it — therefore such a fact as the 
Resurrection must be given up. The modern view 
asserts the gradual evolution and primitive savagery 
of man; the Scripture affirms a "Fall" — therefore 
the notion of a Fall must be sacrificed. And so with 
every point in which collision is possible. It is the 
modem view which controls the Scripture statement. 

" Theology without metaphysics " has an attractive 
sound, but Kitschlianism, as little as any other 
system, succeeds in realising that ideal. Through 
its avowed dependence on a "theory of knowledge," 
it is controlled at every point by metaphysics. The 
question, Kitschl says, is not as to whether, but as to 
what metaphysics is to be employed in theology,* and 
he, with most of his followers, commits himself to a 
Neo- Kantian phenomenalism. "Through this loop- 
hole," as Frank replies, " the whole of philosophy is 
drawn back into theology." t It is in vain to urge 
that the theory affects the system only in a formal 
respect: as our inquiry has shown, it touches its 
vitals in a multitude of ways. On the ground of the 
theory of knowledge, affirmations are made, inquiries 
are debarred, negations are formulated, which would 

* T. und ilf., pp. 32, 41. 

t QesohichU d. n, TJieologie, p. 296. The weight of the 
matter lies, Frank again truly says, not on what philosophical 
theory a man follows in his theology, but on *' whether 
theology generally ought to be placed in such a relation of 
dependence on a philosophical theory of knowledge, be it 
what it wUl " (p. 295). 


have no force on a different philosophical foundation. 
Besides, we do not get rid of philosophy by confining 
it, with the Ritschlians, to the prcusHcal sphere. The 
Kantian '' Kritik of Practical Reason " is as much an 
undertaking of philosophy as the *' Kritik of Pure 
Reason." The theory which is raised on the basis of 
man*8 moral self-consciousness is a speculative con- 
struction as truly as that which proceeds from the 
ideas of existence and cause. 

We do not feel called upon to discuss the Ritschlian 
(Neo-Kantian) theory of knowledge on its purely 
philosophical side. The sole interest of Christianity 
in the epistemological question is to secure that under 
the name of a theory of knowledge the peculiar 
affirmations of faith are not spirited away, or its hold 
on the reality of the objects of faith weakened, and 
its supposed knowledge of them reduced to illusion. 
The peril of the Ritschlian phenomenalism is that 
it tends to precisely these results. We confine our- 
selves to the two questions which deal directly with 
this danger : Is Ritschlianism justified in the absolute 
separation it makes between theology and meta- 
physics, or more generally, between "religious" and 
"theoretic" thought? And, What is the place of 
the " judgment of value " in the theory of religion ? 
The discussions which have arisen in the school on 
these subjects — ^the re-statements, modifications, com- 
promises, to which its adherents have been compelled 
— ^already show that the position as originally taken 
up is untenable, but it is of some importance that 
we should endeavour to arrive at clearer notions 
regarding it. 


One source of no little confusion in this discussion, 
we may observe, is the ambiguity attaching to such 
terms as " metaphysical " and " theoretic." " Meta- 
physics " may be used, and is used by Eitschl, in far 
too narrow a sense, as where he confines it to the 
investigation of simple " Being " (or the laws of the 
knowledge of being) without regard to the distinction 
of nature and spirit ; * or, again, it may be taken in 
a wide sense as almost synonymous with " transcen- 
dental," so that any affirmation taking us beyond the 
bounds of expenenoe, as in the assertion of the pre- 
existence of Christ, or of a distinction of Persons in 
the Godhead, or of a higher Divine subsistence of 
Christ — however shown to be implied in Christ's own 
statements, or in the facts of the Christian E«velation 
— ^is dismissed as ** metaphysical." Thus we constantly 
hear of the " metaphysical " doctrine of the Person of 
Christ — the "metaphysical" Trinity, and the like. 
But " metaphysics " is not necessarily involved in 
any of these assertions.f Else the Apostles were all 
metaphysicians, and the "Personality of Grod" is 
itself a metaphysical proposition. If there is any 
subject which is more properly than another an 
object of metaphysical investigation, it is that of 

* Cf. Theol. und Met,, pp. 8 fE. 

f Even the definitions of the Chalcedonian Greed on the 
relation of natures and Person in Christ are, however much 
the product of the understanding, not properly *'meta-' 
physical." '^ Metaphysics " is just the quality lacking in them. 
They state propositions, guarding, as the framers believed, 
the integrity of a given divine fact, side by side, without the 
slightest attempt to harmonise them, or reduce them to a 
speculative unity. Cf. Balfour's Foundatians of Belief ^ p. 279* 


" personality " ; but personality neither in God nor 
in man is primarily a metaphysical idea. It would 
prevent much ambiguity if it were understood that 
'' metaphysics '' is simply the mind applying itself to 
the existent from a particular point of view, that, 
namely, of reflective thought, with the aim of ex- 
piscating the root-notions which underlie all thought 
and experience, and ultimately of determining, as far 
as that is possible, the relation of thought to reality 
— with whatever conclusions may rationally be de- 
duced from these inquiries. In one sense we cannot 
frame a sentenqe in which metaphysical notions are 
not implicitly contained ; in another we may, and 
constantly do, occupy ourselves with questions in 
which ideas of time, space, power, cause, personality, 
freedom, etc. — all profoundly metaphysical — are in- 
volved, yet never give their metaphysical aspects a 
thought, or be even aware that such aspects exist. 
A similar ambiguity attaches to the term ** theoretic." 
If this word is applied exclusively, as it very fre- 
quently would seem to be, to methodised thinking, 
especially in philosophy and science, then there are 
obviously large spheres of experience (not simply 
religion) from which " theoretic " thought is ex- 
cluded. But the slightest reflection should convince 
us that this is an unwarrantable limitation. The 
theoretic activities of the mind have a far wider play 
than is implied in this narrow usage. It is the same 
activities which are at work in a methodised form in 
philosophy and science which are involved in every 
part and detail of our ordinary knowledge, without 
which, indeed, it would not be knowledge at all. 


We cannot frame a proposition, religious or other, in 
which theoretic categories are not implied. How can 
it be otherwise when, as reflection also will teach us, 
reason — the possession of a rational self-conscious 
nature — is the condition which makes all thought 
and intelligent utterance possible? It is the self- 
same underlying reason which manifests itself in all 
the functions of the spirit. Only in such a nature 
is religion itself possible. Only such a nature could 
rise to, or apprehend, the idea of God. It is, there- 
fore, not conceivable that divorce or contradiction 
can exist between religion and reason, or any other 
faculty of the soul. 

The bearing of this on the Eitschlian distinction 
of " religious " and " theoretic " is very apparent. A 
relative truth, indeed, as just conceded, belongs to the 
distinction. What is true in it is that religion is in 
no sense a theoretical product, but has its roots deep 
in the soul's immediate consciousness and need of 
God. It has its own sources of knowledge in general 
and special Bevelation, its own modes of apprehension 
and expression, its own way of regarding the world 
in its immediate dependence on God, and of viewing 
events in their direct relation to their first Cause and 
providential end, leaving to scientific inquiry the 
investigation of secondary agencies. In this it is 
distinguished from philosophy and the science of 
nature, which, as specific theoretical functions, have 
independent starting-points and aims, and deal with 
the given in experience according to methods of their 
own.* But this distinction is not absolute, nor can it 

 But see passage from Professor Wallace below, p. 243. 



be converted into a general distinction of '' religious " 
and '' theoretic." It is impossible to hold religion so 
apart from philosophy and science that no lines of 
relation are to be drawn between them. Philosophical 
views may be advocated {e»g. Materialism, Pantheism) 
which would exclude the Christian doctrine; scien- 
tific theories, in like manner, may be formulated 
which negate vital Christian positions {e,g, denial of 
the possibility of miracle, of supernatural Kevelation). 
On the other hand, religion, while not, as just said, 
primarily of theoretic origin, calls forth theoretic 
activities, and necessarily employs them in the appre- 
hension of its objects ; in collating, systematising, and 
vindicating its own affirmations; in tracing their 
relation to truth in other spheres; and in seeking 
a scientific grounding of them in a general philosophy 
of religion, and view of the world as a whole. All 
this, in fact, is undertaken by the Bitschlian theo- 
logians, at the very time they are denouncing the 
theoretic use of reason in religion. Here, then, we 
may safely say, the faith of the Church, whatever 
errors it may occasionally have been guilty of in 
courting too close an alliance with philosophy (Pla- 
tonic, Aristotelian, Cartesian, Kantian, Hegelian, 
etc.), occupies in principle a much wiser position than 
Bitschlianism. It rejects, and rightly, this untenable 
dualism which Kitschlianism would set up. It does 
not base its faith on theoretic reason; -but neither 
will it place reason under the ban, or refuse what 
friendly aid reason can give it. It will welcome light 
from all quartersi It will not think a doctrine con- 
demned because^ besides being Ohri^tiani it can like- 



wise be shown to be rational. It will not dress itself 
in the garb of Greek wisdom ; but it will rejoice with 
Paul in any word that Greek poets have said which 
corroborates its fuller testimony.* 

It is still necessary, before parting with this 
Eitschlian distinction of " religious " and " theoretic " 
knowledge, to give attention specifically to that aspect 
of it which is expressed in the term " valtte-jvdging" 
We have learned from Hitschl that religion is dis- 
tinguished from theoretic thought by the fact that it 
moves in independent "judgments of value." We 
have seen also what disputes exist in the school as to 
the correct interpretation of this formula — a con- 
vincing proof of its vagueness and unsatisf actoriness. 
In what sense, then, do we admit that " judgments of 
value" enter into religion? No sound theology — 
least of all the evangelical theology — will refuse to 
admit their presence in a very large degree. Beligion, 
it will readily be conceded, is animated throughout 
by a strong practical motive. It aims at setting its 
object before it in the light which will best subserve 
religious ends. Its modes of representation are, there- 
fore, warm, lively, impassioned, and make large use of 

* If, therefore, it fiods men, in the light of reason, seeking 
after God — finds, e.g. a strain of theistic thought, a faith in 
providence, a conviction of moral goyernment, anticipations 
of future judgment, in pagan systems, it will not taboo these 
as something with which it has nothing to do, but will rejoice 
in them as furnishing points of contact with the Christian 
Bevelation, and will gladly avail itself of them, as the early 
Apologists did, in trying to lead men to something highen 
See remarks on " natural theology " belowt 


figurative and pictorial expression ; are not, as in the 
case of scientific judgments, which deal with things in 
their purely objective relations, cool, literal, precise.* 
Further, religious judgment, in its higher forms, 
includes an element of ethical decision. It is he who 
wills to do the will of Crod who knows the doctrine, t 
In this respect also it is distinguished from purely 
theoretical cognition. Finally, since the Christian 
religion involves the highest moral and spiritual 
qualities in its objects, there is needed for the appre- 
hension of these a suitable organ in the religious 
subject, and the judgments he passes on them will 
be, in the nature of the case, " judgments of wovihP 
Only the cultivated musical ear can appreciate 
refined music; only the sense of the artist can do 
justice to excellence in painting : so only the feeling 
for purity, tenderness, and grace can appreciate the ' 
sweetness and grandeur of the picture of Christ 
presented to us in the Grospels. It is a "judgment 
of worth" or "value "J when I affirm the trans- 

* In theology, of course, the effort is made to give religious | 
conceptions the most exact and scientific form of which they I 
are capable. To this extent its treatment is theoretic. 

f Johnvii. 17. Even the reason employed in philosophy, 
however, as Professor Wallace reminds us in criticising Mr. 
Balfour, is not " abstract " reason, but " a reason which has 
been purified of dross, corruption, and sluggishness by the 
discipline of the sciences, by the heroism and conscientious- 
ness of religion, by the fair and noble intuitions of art; 
otherwise it is little worth." — Fort. Rev, April 1895. 

t An ambiguity inheres in this term ** worth " or ** value " 
( Wertli) which is a source of fallacy. Worth may be intinnney 
and then is only recognised by us, or the term may express a 
vahi£for ns irrespective of intrinsic character. Many values 


cendent moral and spiritual beauty of the Saviour's 

" Value- judging," then, we admit, enters deeply into 
i-eligion; but it is obvious that, as thus explained, 
it affords no warrant for the dualism which Kitschl 
would set up between "judgments of value" and 
"theoretic" knowledge; or for the statement that 
religious knowledge consists ordy in "judgments of 
value." The distinction sought to be set up, it will 
be observed, is one within " knowledge." But if the 
knowledge assumed to be possessed by religion is 
reaUy such — and this it can only be if there is some 
reliable source from which it is derived, — then the 
judgments it involves are not merely "judgments of 
value"; they are "judgments of truth" — of reality 
or being — as well. They possess, therefore, to this 
extent, a theoretic side, and admit of, nay, necessitate, 
comparison with judgments coming from other 
quarters. This result is confirmed by closer anal3rsis 
of the nature of the " value- judgment." In the first 
place, there is no such thing as a " value- judgment " 
pure and simple ; every such judgment has a reference, 
tadt or explicit, to an actual object. " Judgments of 
value " do not hang in the air ; they are connected 
with real objects. If I pass an aesthetic judgment on 
a beautiful fiower, I affirm in the act the existence 
of the flower, the knowledge of which is given in 
perception; if I commend a disinterested action, I 

are imputed, fictitious, artificial, conventional, or the result o£ 
association. But a genuine work of art, or a holy character, has 
intrinsic worth, which would belong to it though recognition 
were withheld. 


affirm the reality of the act. Two things are evident 
from this: first, there is no contrariety between 
*' judgments of value" and judgments of existence 
— the former, indeed, presuppose the latter; and 
second, there is no antagonism between a '^ judgment 
of value '' and a scientific judgment applied to the 
same object, for the theoretic knowledge of the flower 
is in no way affected by the judgment passed on its 
beauty, — ^both, rather, are inseparable elements in 
the one act of knowledge, and are complements of 
each other. The knowledge of the flower would not 
be complete unless both were taken into account. 
Similarly, the moral judgments passed on acts and 
actors in history are in no way incompatible with 
the strictest veracity of historical representation — 
rather, are indispensable elements in a complete 
representation.* Pi-ovided, on the one hand, that 
the value is a real value — ^not one fictitiously or 
imaginatively imputed, — ^and on the other, that the 
description (scientific or other) is a true description, 
there is no collision possible. Kay, the complete 
theoretic view may be said to include the " judgment 
of value " within itself. It cannot at least refuse to 
take account of the elements of worth in the object, 
if it would not itself incur the censure of inadequacy, 
and may even make them the objects of its special 
investigation. The existence of philosophies of Art 

* Bitschl himself says of the " presuppositionless " histories 
of Christ — " Religious faith does not run counter to a historical 
view of Jesus, and the historical estimate of Jesus does not 
first begin when one has rid himself of this faith, this religious 
valuation of His Person." — R, uthd F., iii., p. 2. 


and of Ethics — not to speak of Keligion — are demon- 
strations of this fact. The spheres of religious and 
• theoretic knowledge, in short, largely interpenetrate 
and overlap each other, and therefore cannot he 
held rigidly apart. Applying these principles to 
the Christian religion, we see that '* judgments of 
value" do riot exhaust our whole knowledge of God 
and of Christ, and are not incompatihle with true 
"theoretic" judgments regarding them. Before we 
can state anything in terms of religious value about 
God, we must have some means of assuring ourselves 
that God is — ^that He is a Being of such and such 
character — that He acts in such and such a way. If 
we know this, then our statements have an objective 
as well as a subjective validity — ^they represent 
reality, and are not "judgments of value" only. 
Similarly we must know Christ historically in order 
to be able to recognise in Him, or be able to attribute 
to Him, the religious value He possesses. If that 
value int/rinsically belongs to Him — is not an imagi- 
native investment of our own minds — the statement 
of it can never conflict with any theoretic declarations 
we may be impelled to make concerning Him. It 
may itself be one ground of these theoretic declara- 
tions. If it be contended that the value-elements are 
nevertheless those which alone are of importance to 
us in religion — all else may be abstracted from — the 
answer is, that the religious value which God and 
Christ have to us depends on what God and Christ a/re, 
and even for the immediate wants of religion — much 
more for the purposes of theology — this cannot be pro- 
fitably left in the vague indeterminateness of feeling. 


It is obvious, however, that the above is a veiy 
different account of " value-judging " from that which 
we have before us in the Ritschlian theology. There, 
on the most generally accepted view, the "value- 
judgment ^ is itself the ground on which the judgment 
of existence is based. We conclude to the reality 
of the object from the fact of its value for us. Oar 
religious judgments, in Elaftan's words, are '^ theoretic 
judgments which rest on judgments of value.''* 
Discarding the term " theoretic " here, we can hardly 
doubt that this was the view which floated before 
BitschFs own mind when he spoke of religious 
knowledge as consisting exclusively in " independent 
judgments of value." €k)d is a ^' postulate " for the 
satisfaction of our moral need \ Christ is held real by 
faith, not on the ground of a historical judgment, 
but because of the " impression " He produces on us.t 
The result of this view is to introduce a dubious 
element into all our religious representations. It is 
never clear how much is objective reality, and how 
much subjective construction — the mind's own way 

* See the views of Kaftan, Herrmann, Scheibe, etc, in 
Chaps. III. and VII. 

t It is not disputed that the judgment on Christ's un- 
paralleled worth may carry with it the conviction that the 
person in whom that worth resides is no legendary creation, 
but a reality in history. The evangelical party have urged 
this consideration at least as strongly as Herrmann. But 
Christ is at the same time historically given, and our " judg- 
ment of worth " but verifies a fact objectively presented. The 
conviction of historicity really rests on our perception, gained 
from experience, of the marks which distinguish a genuine 
historical presentation from an invention, and not barely on 
a " judgment of worth," as Herrmann thinks. 


of picturing objects it has itself postulated. " Know- 
ledge," in strictness, we cannot call it, for knowledge 
implies objective data on which the mind reposes in 
its judgments and inferences. It is a mental picture 
of which the materials — ^in default of such external 
data — are borrowed from phantasy. This is specially 
manifest in the case of the idea of God, where, on 
the Ritschlian hypothesis, objective data altogether 
fail, — where we move in the region of pure postula- 
tion, and have not even the materials furnished by 
a traditionary narrative, as in the case of Christ.* 
Justly, therefore, is this theory accused by Troeltsch 
and others of landing us in subjectivism. Benderism 
is its legitimate outcome. We may state the differ- 
ence between the evangelical faith and Kitschlianism 
under this head by saying that the former takes its 
religious affirmations throughout seriously as the 
expression of objective reality; the latter leaves 

* It may be said that the same objection applies to the 
moral argument of Kant From a " judgment of worth " on 
the unconditional obligation of the moral law, Eant advances 
to the postulation of a Being clothed with all the attributes 
(eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, wisdom, etc.) necessary 
in the Author and Moral Governor of the universe. It may be 
observed (1) that Eant has at least solid ground to start from 
in the presence of a morally legislative reason within ourselves, 
and the existence of an end which we recognise as of absolute 
worth. From this he is justified in rising to the conviction of 
a Morally Legislative Reason in the Universe, and a supreme 
ethical end of the world. We have no quarrel with Bitschl so 
long as he keeps to legitimate inference from reliable moral 
and spiritual data. (2) Were this the only ground of our 
faith in Grod, or source of our knowledge of Him, it would be 
exposed to the same suspicion of subjectivism as the theory in 
the text. 


us always in uncertainty as to how much is to he 
discounted as mere suhjective representation. And 
even where it is ohviously most earnest in its assertion 
of ohjective truth, it fails to provide us with a basis 
adequate to support its assertion. 

A building cannot be stronger than its foundations, 
and the defects inherent in the basis of the Kitschlian 
system leave their mark on the theology all through. 
We need not dwell long, after what has been said 
previously, on the Ritschlian theory of religion and 
Revelation, The general criticism to be made on the 
theory of religion is that, in denying an original, 
immediate bond between God and the soul, it strikes 
a wrong note at the beginning, and makes it difficult, 
if not impossible, to bring these into living relation 
after. Religion, on this theory, arises, as we have 
seen, not as a primary relation of the soul to Grod, 
but as a means of solving the problem of man's 
relation to the world. This is fatally to invert the 
true idea. For though religion does solve the contra- 
dictions of man's position in the world, this is not its 
primary aim. Frank says with justice that the words 
"God is love" were not written, as Rit^chl thinks, 
to answer the question "how the connection of the 
world is to be explained, or the problem of the world 
to be solved." * The results we have seen in the 
difficulty of adjusting the relations of religion and 
morality, in the denial of direct communion of the 

* Die kireh, Bedeut, d. Theol. A, RUschVs, p. 66. The words * 
quoted are Rltschl's. 


soul with God, in the consequent ambiguity in the 
concept of Revelation. For how, we ask, does 
Revelation originate, seeing that, on the one hand, 
Crod has no immediate access to, and does not work 
directly on, or immediately in, the souls of men ; and, 
on the other, there is no natural manifestation of God 
in His works and providence from which knowledge 
of Him may be drawn? The former is denied as 
"Mysticism"; the latter is rejected as "Natural 
Theology." Even in the case of Christ, as we have 
seen, the same difficulty recurs. In Him, we are 
told, we have the complete Revelation of God. Only 
through Him, in His historical appearance, says 
Herrmann, does God commune with us. Other 
Revelation for us than His historical Person there is 
none. But the question presses. How did Revelation 
originate even in Him ? This question is not to be 
got rid of by taking refuge in "mystery," for the 
dilemma in which the theory lands us is plain. Jesus 
mediates the knowledge of Grod to us, but there is no 
second Christ to mediate the knowledge of God to 
Him. Either, then. He must have received it from 
some direct union of God with Him, and communi- 
cation to Him ; or what we name Revelation is but 
the thoughts of God which Christ won for Himself 
through a rare spiritual endowment, acted on by 
His special environment. The former supposition is 
logically condemned by the fundamental principles 
of Ritschl's system, and would, if admitted, isolate 
Christ from all His followers, to whom no such direct 
. communion with God is supposed to be possible ; the 
latter deprives his message of its authoritative 



character.* If it be said that Christ's knowledge of 
Qod was mediated by earlier Bevelation, this only 
shifts the difficulty a step farther back. But it 
conflicts, besides, with the exclusive position assigned 
to Christ by Herrmann and others as the Boie medium 
of Bevelation to us. If the Old Testament could be 
a medium of Bevelation to Jesus, how can it be held 
that it is not so for us also) Jesus Himself, it 
should be noted, takes up no such exclusive position. 
He unites Himself organically with preceding Hevela- 
tion,t hears the voice of God in words of psalms and 
prophets,;]: and in parting with His disciples promises 
them the Spirit of Revelation to continue His work.§ 
It is strange that at a time when the tendency is 
to enlarge the scope of Kevelation, the Bitschlian 
theology should seem bent so rigidly on narrovdng it. 
This last remark on the restriction of the idea of 
Kevelation applies with no less force to the other 
point alluded to in the Kitschlian system — its un- 
conditional rejection of natural Bevelation. This 
rejection, it should be noticed, does not spring from 
anything within the Christian religion, but has its 
source in the philosophical theory of knowledge we 

* One has a difficulty in understanding Herrmann's relation 
to Christ's Kevelation on this point of authority. Herrmann 
will not allow us to attach ourselves to words or thoughts of 
others, even of Apostles (Verkehry p. 30; B. T., p. 33). Are 
we permitted, then, to accept the thoughts of Christ? Or 
must we first verify them for ourselves, and accept them only 
so &r as they appeal to us ? 

t Matt. V. 17. 

J Luke xxiv. 27, 44. 

§ John xiv. 26 ; xv, 26 } xvi. 13 15. 


have just been considering — ^the E^ntian phenomenal- 
ism and the distinction of '' religious'' and ^^ theoretic" 
knowledge. With that distinction, in the absolute 
form in which Bitschlianism maintains it, falls 
likewise the objection to " Natural Theology." The 
evangelical faith occupies here, again, in our judg- 
ment, a far saner, as well as more Scriptural position. 
It has never, indeed, been guilty of over-exalting 
what it calls 'Hhe light of nature," but affirms as 
strongly as Ritschl himself that this is '' not sufficient 
to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which 
is necessary unto salvation." * But it does not, 
therefore, fail to recognise the testimony borne to 
God by His works, His providence, and the natural 
constitution of the soul of man. The moral branch 
of the argument is, as we have seen, accepted in its 
Kantian form even by the Kitschlians, so that they 
also, despite their protestations, have a '' natural 
theology." But why should aU the modes of the 
divine self-Eevelation in nature not have their full 
rights accorded to them ? Why make the conscience 
a witness for God, and condemn the understanding 
to be atheist ? On rational grounds, apart from the 
presuppositions of the Kantian metaphysic, we claim 
that the denial of a *' natural theology" is not 
tenable. If God, as Bitschl admits, is the Creator, 
Upholder, and Moral Ruler of the universe, — He 
whose will, purpose, attributes, are expressed in it, — 
it is rationally incredible that it should not exhibit in 
its constitution and course some traceable indications 
of the Being and perfections of its Author. The 

 So, e.g., Westminster Chnfession, chap. i. 


absence of all such indications — ^if this were con- 
ceivable — would be a cogent argument for atheism. 

The Kitschlian theology and the evangelical faith 
oome to closer quarters when we advance to the 
consideration of the special Christian doctrines. 
Here, taking Eitschlianism on its own ground, we 
have to ask two questions — Which best represents 
the primitive Gospel? and, Which best meets the 
requirements of a sound theology? At first sight 
nothing could «eem more satisfactory than the 
BitschUan doctrine of God, with its keynote — " God 
is love " ; nothing more primitive than its emphasising 
of the " Kingdom of God." But we must not too 
hastily assume that we have the thoughts of the 
primitive Gospel, even where Apostolic language is 
employed. It is well to find Bitschl affirming so 
emphatically the Personality of God, His creation of 
the world, His world-purpose in it, and His provi- 
dential rule over it. It would have been better had 
these truths not appeared as so many "value- judg- 
ments," the grounds and theoretic validity of which 
we are warned off from investigating. Even in 
Christ, it is necessary to repeat, these thoughts did 
and could not rise above the level of "value- 
judgments," and it is left a mystery, as we have seen, 
how He arrived at them. We cannot see that the 
older theology stands one whit behind Bitschlianism 
in the emphasis with which it proclaims these truths, 
while it occupies far firmer ground, and is in every 
way more satisfactory, in its rejection of the am- 
biguities of the new theory, and its willingness to 


acknowledge the light afforded by nature and reason, 
as well as by Revelation. 

A valuable part of the Ritschlian theology lies in 

its endeavour to construe the Christian system from 

the ideological point of view in its doctrine of God 

and His Kingdom. We read continually in Ritschl of 

the " Selbstzweck," the " Weltzweck," the "Endzweck" 

of God — terms, indeed, as far removed from the 

simplicity of the primitive Gospel as the philosophical 

" Unconditioned " and " Absolute," — ^yet denoting 

something very real and important. Still, taking 

Bitschrs doctrine of God as a whole, we cannot 

but regard it as vitally defective. Ritschl affirms, 

assuredly, that " God is, love." Everything depends, 

however, on the kind of meaning put into these 

terms. Love, with him, as we have seen, is peculiarly 

defined. We are allowed to express it only in terms 

of will. It denotes the existence of a purpose. We 

are not allowed to go behind this purpose, or to 

speak of any nature or disposition in God from which 

it proceeded. Grod is eternally in His purpose — is 

practically identified with it. The end of this purpose 

is one with the end of the world, and of all moral 

beings. This is why God is called "love," for it is 

the nature of love that it adopts the ends of others 

as its own.* Through this equation of the purpose of 

God with the end of the world, we arrive, therefore, 

* As formerly observed, there is a difficulty here at the 
outset ; for if this end is ours, it is ours only because God has 
constituted us for it. It was His end before it was ours. We 
come back, therefore, to the conception of God's " self -end," 
which is not the adoption of the end of another^ but the 
presci'ibing of an end to another* 


at a conception of the love of God which may be 
called "static" — a merging of it into the eternal 
will of God to realise His world-end. It becomes 
little more than an abstraction of the purpose of 
the universe — ^to use an Aristotelian phrase, "the 
entelecby " of the universe. This, surely, is far from 
answering to the warmth of the Gospel conception. 
We may recall here what was said earlier of the 
limitation of the divine Fatherhood in the Kitschlian 
theology. The correlative of the divine love is not 
the race as a whole, but the community of Christ. 
God is Father (convertible with " will of love ") only 
of those embraced in the fellowship of His Son. 
There is a truth here, if only it were placed in its 
light setting ; but the truth for which the universal 
Fatherhood of God is a witness — viz., the essential 
kinship of the human spirit to Grod as created in His 
image — is obscured in Eitschlianism. 

Then, as we saw, the remaining attributes of God 
are viewed in the Bitschlian system as so many 
phases of this primary attribute of love. Righteous- 
ness especially is defined as the consistency of God 
in carrying out the ends of His love, and is deprived 
entirely of its judicial and retributive character. 
This is a point on which, again, we think that the 
evangelical theology much more exactly conserves 
the Scriptural truth, while Eitschlianism obscures 
it. Love is, indeed, the crowning grace in ethical 
perfection, — is, therefore, included in righteousness of 
character, — but righteousness is not off-hand to be 
identified with love, or its notion to be regarded as 
exhausted by it. Righteousness has essentially to 



r THE IDEA OF ''LOVE'' 257 

^r do with ethical norms. If love is included in 
;j righteousness, it is because of its inherent ethical 
j4 goodness. These norms, in a sense, condition love— 
2 limit and define its character — ^give it the nature and 
direction of a holy love. Nor, while love impels to 
the fulfilment of all duties to one's neighbour, is 
it itself the ground of these duties as obligations of 
righteousness. The theory in morals which finds the 
ground of all virtues in benevolence has not generally 
been regarded as satisfactory. Truth, e,g,, is an 
essential element in righteousness, and is to be 
maintained as a duty for its own sake, and not 
simply as a means to the ends of love. The moral 
law, with its categorical " Thou shalt," is neither a 
deduction from love, nor is annulled by love,* though 
under the impulse of love, obedience becomes a 
delight, and the constraint of "obligation" is no 
longer felt. If, therefore, the transgressor is punished, 
it is not simply as a precautionary or reformatory 
measure, or, as Eitschl's theory would seem to 
demand, an act of arbitrary violence at the close, to 
rid the universe of those who have proved refractory 
to the divine will, but explicitly as a rendering to the 
wrong-doer "for the wrong which he hath done."t 
If, finally, the divine government of the world is 
directed to an end of love, it is not enough to say 
that the course pursued is righteous because con- 
sistently directed to that end. We have to ask — 

* Grovemment by love no more annuls law in the ethical 
sphere than it does in the natural sphere. Love carries 
through its ends in a law-governed universe. 

t Col. iii 25. 



What constitutes the end. itself good? and must; 
recognise that the means chosen are not constituted 
righteous by their fitness to attain that end, bat 
rather have respect to norms intrinsically and 
inherently right, which antecedently prescribe the 
lines along which alone it is lawful to travel to the 

This brings us to glance at the divine end in question 
viz., the Kingdom of God, viewed as an association of 
moral beings in which the members act reciprocally 
from the motive of love. It is again a merit of the 
Bitschlian theology that it has done so much to 
rescue this great conception of the primitive Gospel 
from neglect', and to concentrate attention and study 
upon it. But we cannot concede that it is quite the 
meaning of the primitive Gospel which Eitschlianism 
puts into it. We have seen what variations of 
opinion exist within the limits of the school on the 
leading question whether the Kingdom of God 
belongs to the here (Diesaeits) or the beyond (Jenaeits). 
Ritschl's own account of it, as has repeatedly been 
shown, shares the fault just pointed out in his doctrine 
of the world-end of being altogether too abstract and 
formal. The sole rubric we obtain for the Kingdom 
is that men are to act in their relations to each other 
from the motive of love. But love means that each 
is to adopt the end of the others as his own. Here 
we move in a circle — a tautology. For the end, 
again, is just this Kingdom of God with its same 
abstract formula. If, to give it concreteness, we say 
it is the particular ends — natural and moral-^of our 



fellow-men we are to further, then we have a world 
of ends, indeed, but there is nothing to show how the 
general end is to be connected with them. If a 
** good " is sought, we have to look in a different 
direction altogether — to the idea of religious supremacy 
over the world; a conception equally abstract till 
connected with particular ends to which the freedom 
thus won is to be directed, and in which it is to be 
realised. The relations of the idea of the Kingdom 
of God to the Church, likewise, — left in ambiguity 
through the vague use of the word " community," — 
need further working out. It was not without 
reason that in the Apostolic days this conception 
receded into the background — became predominat- 
ingly * eschatological — ^while the idea of the Church 
came prominently to the front. It was the out- 
ward community of beUevers which in that age 
alone represented the Kingdom of God on earth. 
Nay, if we ask, — What visible society even yet repre- 
sents the Kingdom of God in the world ? Where is 
the " community," the fellowship of believers, which 
answers to this name? we can point to no other 
association, or form of organisation, than the Church. 
Yet both in idea and in fact the Kingdom of God 
stretches far beyond the Church, and important ends 
are to be served by reviving the distinction. We doubt 
much, however, whether the Kitschlian theologians will 
succeed in establishing the Kingdom of €k)d, as they 
would wish to do, as the all-comprehensive category 
in theology. And if the idea is to be distinguished 
from the Church, the notion of it as a " community," 
* Though not ezclusively : cf. Bom. ziv. 17, etc. 


at least under temporal conditions, must be altogether 
given up. The " community '* aspect of it belongs, 
so far as we can see, wholly to the visible association 
of believers for directly religious purposes in the 
Church. The Kingdom of God, as distinct from 
this, though in a sense embodied in it, and outwardly 
represented by it,* is no ** community,*' but a spirit, a 
principle, an idea, penetrating into, diffusing itself, 
working, ruling, in the minds and hearts of men. 
The Kingdom of God, in its mundane application, is 
but another name for the supremacy of God's will 
in human hearts and human affairs. " Thy will be 
done on earth, as it is in heaven." t From this rule 
of God in human hearts will gradually develop itself 
a new order of society — new relationships and insti- 
tutions, a Christian state, a final brotherhood of 
humanity. The new spirit will embody itself in 
every interest and activity of mankind- — ^in art, litera- 
ture, commerce, laws, etc. The Kingdom of God is 
thus the ideal goal of history, even as it is already a 
leaven working in our midst. It will incarnate itself 
in, and correlate, all the ends and aims of human 
life. It will be a " soul " rather than a " body " in 
the world. The Church is likely to remain its only 
outward form as a distinct institution. Its consum- 
mation is in eternity. 

The means by which this Kingdom of God is founded, 
sustained, and advanced in the world, is primarily 

* Cf. Matt. xvi. 16-19 ; xviii. 17, 18, where there seems an 
identification of the Kingdom of God with the Church, 
f Matt. vi. 10. 


the Goapd — the message of God*» redeeming grace to 
men. We have finally, therefore, to institute a brief 
comparison of the Bitschlian theology with the 
evangelical faith in their respective conceptions of 
the Gospel. We ask, again, how do the facts tally 
with the Kitschlian claim to be a witness for the 
purity of primitive Christianity as against later cor- 
ruptions ? We are afraid not well. The Ritschlian 
theory has been presented in the foregoing pages. 
Laid alongside the ample, unmistakable declarations 
of Apostolic doctrine in the New Testament, can its 
scheme be pronounced other than a highly artificial 
one — a product of a phase of reflection far removed 
from the simplicity of the early faith ] We select but 
one notable contrast, in which it will hardly be denied 
that the advantage is on the side of the evangelical 
theology. If anything is clear about the Apostolic 
Grospel, it is that in it the stress was laid, not on the 
earthly life of Jesus, or the power of the impression 
of His historical image, but on the two great facts of 
the Death and Kesurrection ; that to these facts also 
was attached the weightiest doctrinal significance, as 
having altered the whole relation of humanity to 
God. The life and teaching of Jesus had their place 
in catechetical instruction, and their priceless value 
as example and inspiration; but the great subjects 
of Apostolic testimony were the facts that Christ had 
died, and had been raised again from the dead by the 
power of God, had afterwards been exalted to glory, and 
was living by His Spirit in the hearts of men.* There 

* Cf. Paul's summary of the (Jospel, " which I also,'* he says, 
** received" (1 Cor, xv. 3, 4 fE.). 


was but one other fact, which bulked as largely, and 
that was the prospective return of Christ to Judg- 
ment. Kaftan speaks of Greek thecdogy as shifting 
the centre of gravity in Christianity from the King- 
dom of Qod to the doctrine of the Logos. But 
Eitschlianism not less shifts the centre of gravity in 
the Gospel when it lays the emphasis, with Herrmann, 
wholly only on the impression of the earthly life, 
subordinates the Cross to this, and makes light of 
the Resurrection, or treats it only in a non-literal 
sense as a corollary of faith. This may be thought 
to be a Gospel nearer the mind of Christ, but it is 
not at least the Gospel by which the Church was 
originally founded and spread abroad. 

Without entering into too many details, we pro- 
pose to test this new theology with reference to two 
of the greater doctrines of the evangelical faith — 
the doctrine of the Incarnation, and the doctrine of 
Beconciliation, The evangelical faith treats the 
Incarnation as a reality. Tn its view God truly 
became man in the person of Jesus Christ, In Him 
the eternal personal Word literally became flesh. 
There is no ambiguity, or playing with phrases, in 
its confession of that fact. Can the same be said of 
the Eitschlian theology ? For the older view of the 
true Deity of the Lord, it substitutes, as we have 
seen, a " Godhead " of religious- value— of Revelation- 
worth. But this "Godhead" it proposes is no real 
Deity at all. It hides under a veil of words the 
fact that Christ was simply uniquely-constituted, 
exceptionally-endowed Man. Whatever mystery is 
enclosed in His Person, it does not touch this point. 


Here Ritschlianism is guilty of more than an abuse 
of language. It asks us to value as God one who is not 
God in fact. It will not allow us even to inquire into 
what or who Christ really is, on the ground that this 
would involve " metaphysics.'' But we cannot thus 
stand dumb in wonder before facts of the Gospel 
on which our hope for eternity rests. If Christ is 
co-«ssential in nature with God, let the marvel be 
confessed. Let it be admitted that His Personality 
has a supernatural and truly Divine root ; that the 
time-form of His existence was not the original one ; 
that His relation of Sonship to the Father is eternal, 
and interior to the very life of the Godhead. Then 
we know where we are, and can call Christ ** God " 
with a clear conscience, and can worship Him as such. 
If, on the other hand. He is a Bevelatiou-organ 
of Gk)d, indeed, yet in nature entirely human — 
this and only this — then in honesty let us not give 
Him the higher name, or conceal the truth from 
ourselves under specious vagueness about "religious 
value.'' The issues here are precisely those of the 
old Atbanasian controversy in the battles about the 
Homootiaion, Bitschlianism seeks to create a pre- 
judice against the ordinary doctrine by speaking of 
it as a product of Greek metaphysics ; in truth it 
is but an attempt to conserve the essential truth of 
the Apostolic Gospel against mutilations and abridge- 
ments of which not a few of our modern theories are 
the hardly-changed revivals. 

The all-important question, however, is not whether 
a theory is new or old, but whether it suits the facts. 
Is the Bitschlian theory of the Person of Christ 


sufficient 1 It was undeniably not the doctrine -of 
the Apostolic Church, but let that pass. Will it 
satisfy the Church now? We contend that it will 
not. The difference of estimate of Christ's Person in 
the two theologies does not grow, as is represented, 
out of a perverse love of metaphysics, but has its 
ground in a different estimate of the <fact^ involved. 
The early Church held seriously those facts of Christ's 
resurrection and exaltation to heavenly glory which 
Ritschlians like Herrmann accept as '^ thoughts of 
faith," and, more consistent than they, framed its 
conception of Christ's Person accordingly. It found 
support for its view in the sum-total of the facts of 
Christ's earthly life — in His sinless character. His 
utterances, His miracles. His lofty claims. His conscious 
and often-expressed unique relation to the Father, 
His attitude of authority, His predictions of his death, 
resurrection, and second advent. His Messianic func- 
tions of saving and judging. His connecting of forgive- 
ness of sins with His Person, etc. How could such an 
One be other than " the Son of the living God " * in 
a high and transcendental sense? For the first 
disciples, the conviction of Christ's divine Sonship 
grew out of the immediate impression of His Person 
upon them ; t and when He died, and had risen, and 
had sent forth His Spirit, they felt that there were 
no predicates too exalted for them to bestow upon 
Him. The Church of to-day can sink to no lower 
estimate. We have but to think of the mass of 
spiritual life which rests on Christ at the present 
moment; on the work, and service, and sacrifice, 

* Matt. xvi. 16. t ^^'^ i 14 ; 1 John i. 1-3. 


throughout the world inspired and maintained by- 
faith in Him ; on the hopes of humanity for the 
future that are built on Him ; and then ask our- 
selves, What view of the Person of Christ is needed 
to uphold all this ) to feel that with a purely humani- 
tarian view of Christ the Church would utterly 
collapse. The divine Christ of the Apostolic Gospel 
alone will sustain the functions of the world-Redeemer. 
It does not help us to eke out the dignity of our 
humanitarian Christ by " value- judgments." We do 
not really increase our stature by getting on stilts. 
And value-predicates in this case are but stilts 
to raise a little higher one who is after all but 

The other great pivot-doctrine of the evangelical 
faith is the doctrine of Reconciliation. It was re- 
marked above that in the Apostolic Gospel the death 
and resurrection of Christ were undeniably regarded 
as having altered — fundamentally and objectively 
altered — the whole relation of humanity to God. 
The death of Christ was regarded as a sacrifice for 
sins — the dying of the Just for the unjust that He 
might reconcile us to God — a "propitiation for the 
sins of the whole world ; " * the resurrection of Christ 
was the founding of a new hope, and the spring of a 
new life, to the race. The Ritschlian theology, on 
the other hand, — unfortunately, not it alone, — denies 
propitiation, and falls back on an interpretation of 
the death of Christ as a proof of fidelity in His calling, 
and a warrant for confidence in approaching God. 

* 1 John ii. 2. 


This difference between the Ritsehlian and the ordinary 
view grounds itself, as must always be the case, on 
differences in the doctrine of the character of God, 
and in the doctrine of sin. God in the Eitschlian 
theology, as we have seen, is purely and solely love ; 
of the awful holiness which abhors, and cannot but 
react against, and punish sin, there is no adequate 
recognition. In this denial of punitive justice to God, 
Ritschlianism falls below the Biblical standard, and 
lets drop elements of indispensable value in a moral 
view of the universe. We cannot, with whatever 
conceptions of the divine Fatherhood — and Ritschl has 
none which need form a hindrance to him— expel 
" law " from the bosom of God,* any more than from 
the conscience of man; and while it remains, the 
Christian doctrine of atonement will have an abiding 
necessity and worth. Kant is of value here, if only 
Ritschl had adhered to him. The effect of this 
changed view of the character of €U)d is seen in the 
weakened estimate of sin. Sin loses the catastrophic 
character with which the Bible invests it ; it appears 
as a natural and unavoidable development ; as due to 
ignorance, it is readily pardonable ;t the feeling of 

* Cf. Hooker in Ece, Polity : " Of law there can be no less 
acknowledged than that her seat is in the bosom of God," etc. 

t Of conrse we fully recognise the element of truth in 
Eitschrs contention that ignorance enters largely into sin, 
and forms a factor in the divine judgment upon it, though 
not as annulling its character as sin, or dispensing with the 
need of a mercy which comes through propitiation. — Luke 
xxiii. 34 ; Acts xvii. 30 ; Rom. xii. 25 ; 1 Tim. i. 13. 01 Mr. R. 
Greg on Kingsley's "Pelagia" (in Hypatia)—'^^ also is 
Hypatia, the Athenian dancing-girl and courtesan — ^frivolous, 
pleasure-loving and childish, undeveloped and soulless, because 


guilt and fears of punishment which it engenders are 
such as a just view of the character of God must 
dispel. No ohjective condemnation rests upon the 
race which requires to be lifted off as a first condition 
of salvation.* Sin is a thing of the individual will : 
there is no hereditary corruption, or a penal condition 
of the race, involving death, as the result of an original 
transgression. This may be a better — we repeat that 
it is at least ** another " — Grospel than the Apostolic. 
Naturally, with such a view of sin there is needed no 
expiation. Bitschlianism and the evangelical theology 
here, accordingly, decisively divide paths, and we have 
no hesitation in saying that the latter is not only 
truer to conscience, but plumbs depths in the sense of 
sin, and meets wants in the human conscience which 
the former fails to touch. To the evangelical faith, 
sin and guilt are terrible realities, which call forth 
the judgment of God against them. The sinner's 
consciousness of guilt but refit cts an actual divine 
condemnation, which is even more awful in its nature 
and efiPects than his imperfect apprehensions of the 
evil of transgression permit him to realise. The 
work of Christ, therefore, necessarily deals with this 
as with other aspects of our sinful condition, and 

nntaught, unconsciously sinful, because brought up to sin, but 
still endowed with some original elements of God, and there- 
fore redeemable, and in the end redeemed." — LU, and 8oe, 
Judgments^ 1., p. 176. 

* Yet Bitschl should consistently have held this too, if, as 
Herrmann, etc., declare, foigiveness does not follow from love 
as a matter of course, but is the result of an unfathomable 
decree of grace. For this implies that the race is naturally 
perishing, and might justly have been left to perish for its sins. 


aims at securing its reversal. Christ enters as a true 
member of the race into every part of our human lot. 
He accepts as His own the condemned position of our 
humanity; represents us in our whole relation to 
God ; and under experience of the bitterest woe brought 
upon Him by sin — even the last experience of death, 
to which, though Prince of Life, He voluntarily sub- 
mitted, and tasted its inward horror and anguish as 
no other child of humanity could do * — He renders to 
God as the Righteous One that which from our own 
resources we could never have yielded, and wins for 
us representatively a new standing, and exhaustless 
blessing. A mystery truly ! and we are not seeking 
to go into the theology of it here. But in its central 
assertion of a valid atonement for sin, sealed by sub- 
sequent resurrection — a deed which, though not ours, 
we can yet appropriate by faith as removing our 
condemnation and reconciling us to God — therefore 
as our " righteousness " t before God — it is, as we 
regard it, not less simple and apprehensible than 
any affirmation in the Eitschlian theology, and is an 
essential element in a right conception of the Christian 
Gospel. This, too, we have seen, is a conviction 
making itself felt in many ways in Kitschlian circles ; 
and we may hope that, imperfect as the new theology 
is, it may yet serve as a stepping-stone for some 
back to a fuller acknowledgment of Christ's doing 
and dying for sinners as the core of the message 
of salvation. % 

* Matt. xxvi. 46 ; Mark xiv. 33-4 ; Heb. ii. 9. 
t Rom. V. 17-20. 
t 2 Cor. V. 21. 


The subjective^ in the Christian doctrine of redemp- 
tion, goes ever with the objective — the new birth with 
the new standing ; sanctification with justification ; 
the spirit of sonship with the adoption iof grace; 
moral renewal and the life of holiness with the 
changed relation founded on another's righteousness ; 
and faith, in its response to the Gospel Revelation, 
is essentially an acceptance of Christ for oM these 
ends of His salvation, and otherwise would not be 
an acceptance of Him for any. Faith, therefore, as 
Ritschlianism rightly declares, involves necessarily 
the changed will, and the adoption of the divine end 
as our own ; and this carries with it an altered 
relation to the world, and the sense of a divine 
vocation. Here comes in whatever this theology has 
to say of service in the kingdom of God ; and of faith 
in providence, humility, patience under trials, prayer, 
etc. The evangelical theology not less earnestly 
inculcates these things, but with the immense advant- 
age that it lifts them clear out of the ambiguities 
in which they remain involved in the Ritschlian 
doctrine; and strikes, besides, a positive note, which 
the other does not, on all subjects connected with 
the work of the Holy Spirit (in illumination, re- 
generation, sanctification, indwelling, etc.). In a 
doctrine of the Spirit the Ritschlian theology con- 
spicuously fails. But the evangelical theology un- 
ambiguously afl&rms His Personality, work, and abiding 
presence and power in the heart of the behever. 
There is in this theology a real forgiveness of sins, a 
real justification of the individual in believing, a real 
regeneration of the Spirit, a real providential care and 


guidance of the believer in his way through life, real 
answers to his prayers, etc. It seeks throughout to 
keep in touch with fact; the Kitschlian theology, 
however -honest in purpose, is constantly tending to 
sink back into the sphere of representation. 

While, therefore, we cheerfully recognise the ex- 
ceeding ability and earnestness of many of the 
representatives of the new theology, and gratefully 
acknowledge the valuable services they have in 
various ways rendered to theology, we cannot 
grant that the system they advocate has the 
superiority over the older evangelical faith they 
would claim for it, or regard it as likely soon to 
supplant the latter. Bitschlianism, indeed, if ap- 
pearances are to be trusted, is not growing, but 
declining, in practical influence in Universities, and 
in the ranks of the clergy, as it becomes better 
known. Such modifications as it is receiving are 
of a nature to bring it nearer to the Church 
doctrine. Meanwhile, we can unfeignedly rejoice in 
the evidences of an evangelical unity of sph'it which 
come to light even in the camps that seem so 
divided. One significant incident in illustration may 
be cited in closing. In his History of Pietism Eitschl 
selects for special animadversion Paul Gerhardt's 
favourite Passion hymn — "O Haupt voll Blut und 
Wunden " (" O Lamb of Gk>d once wounded ") — which 
he thinks fails to strike the true Christian note 
in dwelling on the physical sufferings of Christ 
instead of on the inner motive of obedience.* In 

* ii., p. 65. 


his last hoars, so we learn from his Life^* it was 
this very hymn he desired specially to have repeated 
to him. " I, if I be lifted up," said Jesus, " will draw 
all men unto Me/ f 

* Zeben, ii., p. 524. 
t John zil. 32. 





The following is a selection of the principal books on 
Ritschlian Theology referred to in the text. The 
editions named are those to which reference is made, 
unless stated otherwise, but other editions are some- 
times noted in brackets. Very complete lists of the 
literature on all branches of the subject may be seen 
in F. Nippold's Die theohgiache Einzelschule (2 vols.). 


By A. RiTSCHL :— 
Die Entgtehung der altkath. Mrche, 2nd Edit., 1857. 
Die ohristliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versdhn- 

ung, 3 yol&, 3rd Edit. 1888-9 (references to ist Edit. 

of vol. L, 1870, of which Eng. Trans.). 
Vhterricht in der christ. Religion, 3rd Edit., 1886 (later 

editions unchanged ; 1st Edit, 1875). 
Theologie und Metaphydk, 2nd Edit 1887 (1st Edit. 1881). 
Sohleiermaoher's Reden ilber die Religion, 1874. 
Ueber das OewUsen (1876), reprinted in OesammeUe 

Avfsatze (2nd Series), 1896. 
Drei akademische Reden, 1887. 
GescMohte d. Pietismtts, 1880-86 (3 vols.) 
Itfany other ¥nitiDgs. 



By W. Hebbmann :— 

Die Metaphysik in der Theologie, 1876. 

Die Religion im VerhaUniss zum Welterkennen und zur 

SUtlichkeU, 1879. 
Der Verkehr des Christen mit Oott, 2nd Edit., 1892 (1st 

Edit. 1886 ; E. T. of 2nd Edit. 1895). 
Many lesser works and articles. 

By Julius Ejlftan :— 
Dm Wesen der christ. Religion, 1881 (2nd Edit., 1888). 
Die Wahrheit d. christ. Religion, 1889 (E. T., 2 vols., 1894). 
Brauchen wir ein neues Dogma ? 1890. 
Sermons and numeroas artidea 

By W. Bendeb :— 
Das Wesen der Religion, 1886. 


Unterricht im Christenthum, 2nd Edit., 1891. 
Bittere Wahrheiten, 1891 (1st Edit.). 

By A. Habnack :— 

Lehrhich der Dogmengeschiohte, 2nd Edit., 1888-90 (Ist 

Edit., 1887-9 ; E. T. of 3rd Edit., 1893, in progress). 

I Gru/ndriss d, Dogmengesohichte, 2 vols., 1889-91. Since 

published in one vol. (E. T., 1893). 

I Very many pamphlets, lectures, articles, on historical and 

^ controversial subjects. 



f Die Lehre von der Oottheit Christi, 1881. 

Orundriss d» evang, Dogmatik, 2nd Edit., 1892. 
I Qrundriss d, christ. Apologetik, 1894. 

Alttestamentliohe Theologie, 3rd Edit., 1889 (E. T., 2 vols., 
' 1892). 

By O. RiTSOHL :— 
I Albrecht RitsohVs Lehen, 2 vols., 1892-96. 

[ Ueher WerthurtheUe, 1896. 

By J. Weiss :— 
Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiohe Oottes, 1892. 
Die Nachfolge Christi und die Predigt der Oegentoart, 1895. 




By H. H. Wkndt :— 
Der Inhalt der Lehre Jesu, yoI. ii., 1890. (E. T., 2 vols., 

By Th. HlBiNO :— 

Ueher das Bleibende im Olauben cm ChrUttu, 1880. 

Zur Veridhungslehre, eine degmatische Unterguohung, 1893. 

IHs Theologie und der Vorvmrf der ** doppeUen Wahrheit,^* 

Many other works. 

By M. KAhles :— 
JHe Ver»6hmtng duroh Christus, etc., 1885. 
Der togenawUe higtoritche Jem itnd der geschichtliohe 

hiblUehe CkHstus, 1892. 
Kahler*8 chief work is his Die Wissensehaft der ehrist, 

Lehre. 1. JEinleitung tmd Apologetik ; II. Dogmatik ; 

III. Ethik, 2iid Edit., 1893. 
Many other works. 


Edntt Lotze, und A, RiUchl^ by L. StJLhlik, 1888, E. T., 1889 
(acute, bat extreme in criticism). 

Une nouvelle Conception de la Midemption, by E. Bebtband, 
1891 (fresh, clear, readable). 

Die theologieche Mnzelsehuloj by P. Nippold, 2 vols., 1893 
(criticises the Zeben; somewhat mordant; useful for 
lists). See also this writer's Handbtich der neu£gten 

Qeeohichte and Kritik der neueren Theologie^ by Fb, H. R. 
VON Fbask, 1894 (posthumous). See also Frank's able 
pamphlet on Die kirohliohe Dedeutnng der Theologie 
A. BitscKl's, 2nd Edit., 1888. 

Le Dogme grec^ by H. Bois, 1893 (against Asti^ Sabatier, 

Darstellung U7td BeurtheUung der Theologie A* RitsohVSf by 
J. Thikottbr, 1887. 

Dae Si/stem Albreckt RitsohVs dargestellt nieht kritirirt, by 
G. MiBLKE. (This and the previous sketch are friendly.) 


Die RUsohrsohe Theologies by B. A. LiPSlUS, in Jahr, /. 
prcft, Theol,, Jan. 1888 (also published separatelj). 

Die RiUchVsohe Theologie kritisoh heUuohtet, by O. 
Pfleidebeb, 1891. See also this writer's Religions- 
philosophies and Development of Theology, 

Les Origines historiques de la Theologie de Ritsohl, by 
H» SOHOEN, 1893 (good on the historical relations). 

Die Prinzipien der RitsokTsohen Theologie und ihr Werth, 
by L. Lemmb, 1891 (a criticism with good points). 

Les PHncipes philosophiques de la Thiologie de RUschly by 
B. Favbe, 1894 (good on relation to Kant and Lotze, and 
clear and readable generally). 

Vergleich der dogmatisohen Systems von R, A, Lipsius und 
A, Ritsehlf by E. Pfennigsdobf, 1896 (a Prize Essay : 
suggestive on the theory of knowledge). 

(With the above should be compared F. Tbaub's valuable 
article on RitschVs ErUenntnisstheorie in Zeitschr%fty 

Von Sohleiermacher zu RitscMf by F. Eattenbusch, 2nd 
Edit, 1893 (an able sketch). 

Die Dedeutung der WerturteUe far das religiose Erkennen, 
M. SchMbb, 1893 (should be compared with 0. Bitschl's 
pamphlet above). 

Ein Wort zur Controverse Ober die Mystik in der Theologie^ 
by M. Beischlb. (Beischle's r&le is generally medi- 
ating. See his articles in Zeitschrift on Erkenvien wir 
die Tirfen Oottes ? (1891), Der Streit ilber die BegrUn- 
dung des Olaubens auf den * geschiohtliohen* Jesus 
Christ (1897)]. 

A, RitschVs Idee des Reiohes Qattes im Liehte der OeschiehtOt 
by B. Wbgenbb, 1897 (on history of this idea). 

Die Orundfehler der RitsohVsohen Theologie, by Max 
GlaGE, 2nd Edit., 1893. 

In English, B. M. Wenley's Contemporary Theology and 
Theism (1897) ; H. M. Scott's Nioene Theology (Chicago, 
1896), etc 


On the Bender, Dreyer-Kaftan, Apostolicum, and 
other controversies, see the special lists in Nippold . 
Numerous articles by Herrmann, Kieiftan, O.'^Ritschl, 
Troeltsch, Reischle, Sell, Ziegler, etc., in the Zeit- 
achri/t fur Theol, wnd KirckQ and Die christliche WeU 
may also be consulted. For further elucidation of 
many points connected with the Ritschlian system 
the author may refer to the discussions in his own 
volume on The Christian View of God and the World 
(3rd and cheaper edition just published, 1897). 

[A new work has appeared since this volume went 
to press, which covers part of its ground, and is 
exceedingly able and instructive, G. Ecke*s Die theoL 
Schtfle A, RitacM/a und die evang, Kirche der Gegen- 
wart (1897). The author's standpoint is allied to 
Kahler's. and the spirit is irenical.] 

Printed by HaaeU, Wataon, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.