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SMC103Y1 Chapter Notes -Friedrich Schleiermacher, Humboldt University Of Berlin

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Michael O Connor

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Chapter 6
141: Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834)
Considers how music has the power to “expose the heart of true religion”
Was a scholar-pastor, an ordained minister of the Reformed church,
distinguished academic, professor of theology at Berlin University, writer,
philosopher, political advisor and preacher.
International figure
142: Modern Christian thinker
At the end of the eighteenth century there was the emergence of the study of
historical accuracy of the bible
Coupled with the emergence of the natural sciences and the increasing
confidence with scientific inquiry, as well as the serious understanding of non-
Christian religions, Christianity became interpreted as one “one instance of a
much wider religious awareness”
Schleiermacher colored theology in “the anthropological turn”
o The search for what is reliably and authentically true
o Immediate experiences and perceptions
Religion cannot be understood only through the bible or the church but also
through what is “fundamentally and primordially human”
Religion at Christmas
Christmas Eve: Dialogue on the Incarnation Schleiermacher, 1805
Fine entrée to Schleiermacher’s theology
This was created before his main work
Music was really important to Schleiermacher
He contains musical analogies and metaphors in his writing and music is also
given a religious significance
143: the story
o Eduard, Ernestine and their children gathered with their friends on
Christmas eve
o Ten year old Sophie given a present, a book of music. She was a singer
and pianist
o She is not only musical, she is also religious and decides to go sing
hymns and chorales in the music room with her father and friends
o “…as so it happens with religious music, in a mood of inner satisfaction
and retirement…followed… by a few silent moments in which they all
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knew that the heart of each person was turned in love toward something
higher still”
o Lawyer and rationalist was invited in and said that Sophie’s devotion was
too much for a child. She should be playing with toys
o Parents defended her
o Eduard says “”I feel overflowing with the joy of pure serenity… I feel I owe
in part to the fact that our little one has invited us to express it in music.
For every fine feeling comes completely to the fore only when we found
the right musical expression for it… and it is precisely to religious feeling
that music is most closely related.”
o The friends discuss the true nature of piety in Christmas
o Three women offer stories from their past
o Friederike says that he will be at the piano and he will put these narratives
to music
o The women believe that Christmas is centered on the mother of Christ
o 144: the men some this up to be: a woman knows that when she is having
a child the church and the Holy Spirit are within her. And when that
happens every woman has the experience of birthing Christ
o The women win this discussion and now the men enter into discussion
about the incarnation not something that lightens up a party
o When the third man concludes his argument, there is a late guest who
arrives. His name is Josef and some think it is Schleiermacher walking
into his own story
Josef is angry about how the evening has turned out
He wants Sophie to come back in to remind everyone about the
new life and fellowship of Christmas that no words can say but that
music can express
“…all speech-making too tedious and cold…Come, then, and
above all bring the child if she is not yet asleep, and let me see
your glories, and let us be glad and sing something religious and
The musically pious Sophie is set against the reflective, analytic and intellectual
145: Sophie’s piety has come from within and it has come naturally to her. It is
not acquired as the men’s is
When pressured to say why she feels this way, Sophie shows the ture nature of
piety. Sophie speaks and acts directly from her immediate awareness
Sophie embodies kingdom life
Leonhardt represents learning and Sophie represents and deep and basic
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