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A History of the Doctrine of the Work of Christ: in its Ecclesiastical Development

2,030 pages16 hours


IT is stated in the Introduction to this work (cf. Vol. I, p. 2), that its purpose is to trace the antecedents of the modern doctrine of the work of Christ. The result of my investigation is to show that this doctrine in its most typical form, as developed by Schleiermacher and Ritschl, is no arbitrary opinion on the subject, but that the whole course of doctrinal development has led to it by an immanent necessity.

This course of development has its nodal points in the four great syntheses (cf. Vol. I, pp. 5–8) in which the various factors that have contributed to the doctrine of the work of Christ have from time to time found a relative settlement. Into these syntheses the threads of doctrine are gathered up, and out of them again they diverge. The gist of my book is accordingly to be found in the sections which treat of these syntheses (Vol. I, pp. 1–8, pp. 258–262, 298–300, 440–444, Vol. II, pp. 5–7, 364–370): in order however to apprehend the full significance of these highly condensed summaries, the rest of the book must be read.

In my research for material I have naturally been greatly indebted to the two chief works dealing with the whole of my subject: Baur, “Die christliche Lehre von der Versöhnung in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung von der ältesten Zeit bis auf der neueste” (1838); and Ritschl, “Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung, Erster Band, Die Geschichte der Lehre” (3rd ed. 1889). As regards the modern period I also owe guidance particularly to Kattenbusch, “Von Schleiermacher zu Ritschl” (3rd ed. 1903); Tulloch, “Movements of Religious Thought in Britain during the Nineteenth Century” (1885); and Scott Lidgett, “The Spiritual Principle of the Atonement” (2nd ed. 1898). I have, however, everywhere, except in a very few less important instances, investigated the original sources for myself: this was the more necessary as my purpose to treat the special doctrine of the work of Christ from the point of view of the whole of theology (cf. Vol. I, p. 2 f.) involved in many cases a fresh selection of material.

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