That whole can be unilaterally divided from two aspects. Christology became an isolated and abstract teaching on the divine-human constitution of Christ. The question was incessantly posed of the being-in-itself, the virtual being, of the true divinity and humanity of Jesus; it became increasingly less evi- dent to men what all this meant for them and their life.
The indifference of many people to Christianity is a reaction to this development, which is not part of the tradition of the early Church. It can be shown that there are soteri- ological motives behind all the Christological pronouncements of the early Church. Both the defence of the true divinity and that of the true humanity are intended to ensure the reality of Redemption.
This more historical argument should be accompanied by a further, fundamental viewpoint. We know the nature of a thing only by way of its appearance: from, that is, its being for an other, and therefore from its meaning for, and effect on, an other. The actual meaning of a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and of Christological teach- ing is only apparent if we inquire into the liberating and redemptive meaning of Jesus. For that reason the scholastic separation between Christology and soteriology has to be cancelled.
The opposite extreme is the reduction of Christology to soteriology. Yet even Melanchthon gave the pro me principle a one-sided emphasis.
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Schleiermacher argues from the present experience of Redemption back to the Redeemer. He means by this that faith is not unambiguous. Do they have something to say about his physis. How far is a Christological statement about me? Does it help me that he is the Son of God, or is he the Son of God because he helps me? Consequently Christology is ultimately no more than a variant of anthropology H.
Kant was the fi rst to elicit a dualism between the thing-in-itself Ding-an-sich and the appearance of things for us. The basic contradictoriness of his position has often been noted. For although Kant at fi rst explains the in-itself, the inherently essential entity of things, as unknowable, he nevertheless ascribes to it the ability to affect our con- sciousness.
Essentially, therefore, he grounds knowledge in being. The Incarnation is then only the appearance of man divinized. For Feuerbach it is a question of the reversal of theology. God-become-man is the appearance of man become God, for the descent of God to man neces- sarily precedes the elevation of man to God. With the abovementioned dichotomy between being and mean- ing, Christology for its part shares in the spiritual and cultural destiny of modern times.
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Analogously to the general alienation of subject and object, Christological faith and dogma appear unassimilable; they are external and alien. Faith reverts to the realm of pure subjectivity and inwardness.
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Hence it is a question of an opposition between the content of faith fi des quae cred- itur and the expression of faith fi des qua creditur. On the other hand, the attempts at a subjective appropriation of belief seem to dissolve faith into an insecure subjectivity. Orthodoxy and orthopractice are opposed. Yet orthodox supranaturalism and modernistic immanentism are only the two separated halves of one whole.
What is believed can be known only in the exercise of belief. The choice between an ontological and a functional Christology is therefore, theologically speaking, illusory and a position into which theology must not allow itself to be manoeuvred. That means that today the Church cannot secure its identity by sheer presumption of orthodoxy, or by a reversion to the exercise of faith and orthopractice. Present-day problems must be tackled from the foundations.
We must ask how both are revealed in Jesus Christ. Only when that is clear, is it possible to explain how in the Church today concern for Christian identity can accord with concern for rel- evance and involvement. The question we have to ask is therefore: Where and how do we meet Jesus Christ today? Notes 1 Cf. Cullmann, Die Christologie des Neuen Testaments 4th ed.
Tubingen, , pp. Hahn, Christologische Hoheitstitel. Grunmann, et al. Glockner 3rd ed. Feiner, J. Trutsch, F. Vogrimler, R. Van der Gucht eds. Jahrhundert, vol. Pfammatter, F. Furger eds. Schilson, W. Kasper, Christologie im prasens. Bacht, vol. Rahner, eds. Feidler, L. Oberlinner, Jesus von Nazareth. Ein Literaturbericht, in: BuL 12 , p.
Kertelge, ed. Scheffczyk ed. Geiselmann, Jesus der Christus Stuttgart, ; idem. Darstellung und Deutung seiner Theologie 2nd ed. Schleiermacher, Der christliche Glaube ed. Redeker , vol. Schuffenhauer, vol. This effective history of Jesus Christ extends beyond Christ and the Christian community, the churches and their communities, to our historical present. Therefore Jesus of Nazareth and his work have been directly present up to now in a universal historical sense.
The historical quest for Jesus of Nazareth, that is, the quest undertaken with present-day historical methods, for any details we can discover of his life, appearance, message and death, is only of direct interest because of its repercussions on contemporary Christianity, the churches today, and the entire civilization and culture directly or indirectly codetermined by Christianity. If that were not the case, most people would be interested in Jesus as much and as little as they are interested in Socrates, Buddha and Lao Tse. In a universal-historical perspective, the starting-point of our quest for and our interest in Jesus of Nazareth is present-day Christianity.
That is even more the case if we pose the question of access to Jesus Christ from a specifically theological perspective. What we can learn about Jesus from the scanty exta-Christian sources is hardly worth dis- cussion.
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The New Testament writings are only there because Jesus received a faith extending beyond his death, and because the fi rst believers collected together, handed on and finally set down in writing, the reports on Jesus, for the needs of their communities: for their liturgy, their religious instruction, and for missionary preaching, and to introduce order into their churches, and to exhort and edify them.
If it were not for that interest of the first Christian communities, we should know as much and as little about Jesus of Nazareth as about other itinerant preachers of his time.
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The gospels, even though they contain much detailed and authentic historical material, are not historical witnesses in the modern sense. They are rather testimonies of faith. It is the Christological credo of the early Church that we find in the writings of the New Testament. Therefore Jesus of Nazareth is accessible for us only by way of the faith of the first Christian churches. No linguistic statement can be understood outside the complex of the situation in which it was uttered.
We should not remove the Jesus tradition from the context of proclamation, liturgy and parish practice of the Christian churches. Only where the message of Jesus Christ is alive and believed, where that same Spirit is alive who enlivens the writings of the New Testament, can the testimony of the New Testament be understood as a living witness. Even today, therefore, the community of the Church is the proper location of the Jesus tradition and encounter with Christ. But the thesis of the Church as the existential location of belief in Jesus Christ introduces a highly emotional complex of problems.
Many see what they think of as institutionally ossified churches as having practically nothing to do with Jesus Christ and what he intended. What attracts them is not the ecclesiastical belief in Christ and Son of God but the faith of Jesus himself and his unqualified surrender of self for the sake of men. Such mistrust of the churches and institutions as a whole is reasonable.
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Even the churches run the risk of succumbing to what threatens all institutions: the danger of institutional rigidity, of institutional self-interest, of power, manipulation and abuses for the sake of the authority and self-interest of the institutions themselves. Those dan- gers have seized the churches often enough in their history.
For that reason a lot of people think that it is no longer possible to discern any trace of the original Spirit of Jesus in the churches.