Between Faith and Unbelief - American Transcendentalists and by Hurth, E.

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By Hurth, E.

This e-book units out to make clear what ios particular to American Transcendentalism through evaluating it with the atheistic imaginative and prescient of German philosophers and theologians like Ludwig Feuerbach and Arthur Schopenhauer.

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34 Jesus, then, was the exemplar insofar as he presented the actualization in history of what is at the core of the human self. Furness’s humanistic christology played down the key theological issue of critical life of Jesus research: the difficulty of keeping together the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Furness confidently highlighted Jesus as the pre-eminent example of the divinity of the soul. As with Ripley and Emerson, the need for a critical, exegetical reconstruction of the historical outlines of the life of Jesus went underground in an experiential religion located in the modality of spiritual forces.

In his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), Hume pointed out that a miracle implied a violation of the laws of nature. 6 From German higher criticism came another powerful challenge of the Unitarian belief in miraculous evidence. The Harvard–Göttingen men had painfully experienced how biblical critics like Eichhorn rendered the historical reliability of the biblical narratives uncertain and adduced data questioning the uniqueness of the life of Jesus accounts. ”7 For Unitarians at home and abroad, the rejection of the miraculous character of Christianity as well as of the “the genuineness of the Gospels” seemed to explode cherished conceptions of revealed religion.

In this intuitionist context, the historico-critical reconstruction of the particularities of Jesus’ history was not of primary importance. As shown by the official outbreak of the miracles controversy, Ripley envisioned the Jesus figure as a cypher for the notion of the infinitude of man, a symbol of timeless truth whose validity was independent of the particular history of Jesus. 13 George Ripley, “Jesus Christ, the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever,” in Miller, Transcendentalists, 285–286. 14 Ripley, “Jesus Christ,” 293, 291, 286.

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