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FROM THE RUINS OF RELIGION
 

 


"There will come times of ruin … new apostles of God will be needed to hold yet faster to that which has fallen away, and to purify with heavenly fire that which has been spoiled…Gladly would I stand on the ruins of … religion."

Friedrich Schleiermacher

The time of the glory of the temple and its servants … [is] past … a new desire for clarity and truth have risen from the ruined whole.

Caspar David Friedrich

The North German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher and his contemporary, the ‘Romantic’ landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich, were, like the philosopher Friedrich von Schelling, apostles of a New Gnosis. Schleiermacher recognised that the truth of all holy scripture lay in its immediate, wordlessly felt meaning or sense and not in its literal word. Friedrich in turn declared the sensory world of nature to be "Christ’s bible". Both lived and worked at a time when theologians of the Protestant Reformation conceived the essence of the God as a ‘First Cause’ - thereby subordinating religion to scientific concepts of causality. The so-called ‘Romantic’ movement in art and theology was a reaction to the Enlightenment’s new ‘Religion of Reason’. But it did not simply oppose ‘irrational’ passion or vague sentimentality to rational intellectual cognition. Instead it affirmed the innate rationality and cognitive power of subjective feeling itself – and with it the validity of each individual’s own subjective feeling cognition of God and Nature. ‘German Romanticism’ was a harbinger of The New Gnosis that would rise from the ruins of established religions

 

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