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review should not have been placed before the chapter on
the conception of tlieology is here answered in the nega-
tive. It is entirely true that the forming of the conception
of theology presumes the knowledge of theology as a his-
toric phenomenon, but the historic knowledge in that sense
may be presumed as universall}^ known, and Encyclopedia
can accomplish its task of pointing out the right way in this
historic process, only when it is ready with its conception.
According to the logical course of thought, the history of
theology would really have to appear twice. First, a his-
tory of the facts should be furnished which should include
as fact everything that announced itself as a theological


638 § 100. INTRODUCTION [Div. Ill

phenomenon, without discrimination or choice, not organi-
cally, but atomistically. Then, with these facts in sight, the
conception, principle, method and organic nature of theology
should have to be determined. And reinforced with this
insight, at the end another historic review should have to be
furnished, but this time under the criticism of the idea of
theology. This double treatment, however, of first recording
indiscriminately the "facts," and after that, of indicating with
discrimination and selection the course of the process in these
facts, could not be justified practically. No single science is
capable of encyclopedic treatment, until it has obtained suf-
ficient influence to make its appearance a matter of general
knowledge, at least with its own students. This also applies to
theology, " the leading facts of the manifestation " of which
are to be found in every Church history, so that he who is to
treat of them encyclopedically may accept them as being gen-
erally known. Encyclopedia discovers no new science, but
investigates a science, the phenomena of which are every-
where seen. However much, therefore, such a review of
phenomena may form an indispensable link in the course
of logical thought, which must precede the forming of the
conception, Encyclopedia need not furnish that link, since it
is of itself present. The second review, on the other hand,
may not be omitted, for that is to show how, in connection
with the encyclopedic results obtained, the process is to be
understood in the phenomena. In this second review, the
outline of this process will differ according to the nature of
the results obtained by encyclopedic investigation.

This critical review embraces six sections, each one of
which covers a proper period. First, comes the period of
naivety ; then the period of internal conflict ; then the period
of triumph claimed too prematurely ; then the period of multi-
formity ; after this, the period of apparent defeat; and finally,
the period of resurrection. Let it be kept in mind, that this
review does not concern itself with the history of theology
as the knowledge of God, but with the science which has this
knowledge of God for its object. Hence, this history begins
where special Revelation is completed. If the word " Theol-

Chap. V] § 101. THE TERIOD OF NAIVETY 639

ogy " is taken in the sense of science, then there is no theol-
ogy of Isaiah, Micali, Peter, or Paul, but it arises only when
special Revelation has reached its goal, and the task begins of
introducing the content of this Revelation into the enlight-
ened consciousness of regenerated humanity, and from this
human consciousness to reproduce it. That this was the
task imposed upon it, was not understood for a time by
regenerated man. Had it depended upon primitive Chris-
tianity, intensely satisfied with her great salvation, she
would have withdrawn herself in mystical enjoyment of the
same, in obedience to the same impulse which, especially in
those methodistic circles which originated with the Reveil^
looks down upon theological effort with a certain spiritual
self-conceit. But the Holy Spirit compelled her to under-
take this task by the reaction, which in all sorts of ways,
from the consciousness of the unregenerate, set itself to
dissect and to destroy the content of Revelation, and the
Revelation itself. And only when in this way the need had
rendered this scientific effort a necessity, a taste was created
for this work, after the rule of the discendo discere discimus
(by learning we learn to learn), and the inclination was fos-
tered which explains the later growth of theology. This,
at the same time, exhibits the folly of the desire to explain
theology from the instituted Church. As far as the insti-
tuted Church herself was concerned, she has almost never
known the scientific impulse, but has ever preferred to devote
herself to the still enjoyment of her great salvation. Theol-
ogy, as a science, was, as a rule, more of an hindrance to her
than a help ; and theology owes its origin, its maintenance,
and its guarantee for the future, not to the initiative of the
Church, but to the initiative of the Holy Spirit, who was also
its guide.

§ 101. The Period of Naivety

As soon as the Church had freed itself from the swaddling
clothes of Israel's national life, the Christian religion went
out into the world as a militant power. " Think not that I
am come," said Christ, " to bring peace on earth, but the

640 § 101. THE PEKIOD OF NAIVETY [Div. Ill

sword. For 1 am come to set man at variance with man."
Also, " I am come to send fire on the earth ; and what will
I, if it be already kindled?" Which sayings but delineate
the character of Christian heroism in contrast to a timid
irenics, which fills in every gap, and covers up every differ-
ence. Conflict might have been in part postponed, if the
world of that age had still been confined to the stage of
infantile unconsciousness, or if a tabula rasa could have been
made of all development attained. But this could not be,
since the Christian religion was commissioned to appear in a
world which boasted of a very ripe development, and spoke
at times of the golden age of emperors, and which, notwith-
standing its spiritual dearth, prided itself on great things.
This placed the Christian religion as an opposing force over
against the historical results of a broad, and, in part, a deep-
searching development, which was sufficient unto itself, and
which would not readily part with the sceptre of power over
the spirits of men. Sooner or later the Christian religion was
bound to conflict with the existing state of things at every
point, and was forced at once to do this : (1) with the pseudo-
religions, which were still dominant; (2) with the world of
thought, which it first depopulated, and then undertook to
populate with its own content; and (3) with the actual world,
both national and social, the whole machinery of which it re-
solved to place upon another pivot. This threefold antithesis
shows itself at once with the appearance of the apostles, who
would have been utterly impotent but for their spiritual
heroism. Which heroism also, for the most part, they sealed
with their blood. From the very beginning the conflict
assumed the character of a life and death struggle ; on the
one side being arrayed the ripest products which unregen-
erate human nature had thus far commanded, and the richest
development the human consciousness had attained to without
higher revelation and enlightening ; and opposed to this, upon
the other side, the "foolishness of the cross," which proclaimed
the necessity of palingenesis, prophesied an entirely different
condition which was to ripen from this, and at the same time
announced a "wisdom" that was to arrav itself antithetically

Chap. V] § 101. THE PERIOD OF NAIVETY 641

ao-ainst the " wisdom of tlie world."" The outbreak coukl not
tarry. What existed and bore rule was rooted too firmly to
allow itself to be superseded without a struggle ; and the
Christian religion, which was the aggressive force, was too
heroic in its idealism to be silenced by satire or shame, by
the sword or fagot. The conflict indeed has come ; for
eio-hteen centuries this strife has never come to a truce ex-
cept in form ; even now the antithesis of principles in this
struggle is frankly confessed from both sides, and this con-
test shall be decided only when the Judge of the living and
the dead shall weigh the final result of the development of
our human race in the Divine balance.

It was natural that at first the Christian religion should
stand most invincible in its attack on religion. In its
strength of early youth, aglow with the fires of its first love,
it presented a striking contrast to pseudo-religion, aged and
worn out, maintained for the most part in forms only, and
held in honor among the illiterate more than in the centres
of culture and power. Within the religious domain Pagan-
ism has almost nowhere been able to maintain itself, and
Avithout exaggeration it may be said that almost from the
very first the chances for the Christian religion as such were
those of a veni, vidi, vici. Within the ethical-social and
national domain, however, the struggle was far more serious,
and it took no less than three centuries of bloody fighting
before in Constantine the first definite triumph could be
recorded. But much more serious still was the first attack
in that strife within the intellectual bounds. Here at its first
appearance Christianity stood with but a "sling and a stone
from the brook" over against the heavily armed Goliath, and
thanks to the providential leadings of the Lord, this Goliath
also was made at length to eat sand. Christ Himself had
drawn this antithesis in the intellectual world, when He said :
" I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou
hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast
revealed them unto babes." And since theology belongs to
this domain, and to no other, it is entirely natural, that at
its first appearance theology bears the character of naivety.

642 § 101. THE PERIOD OF NAIVETY [Div. Ill

Not as though there had not been given in the Revelation of
the New Testament itself the clear and entirely conscious
tendency of this antithesis also in the full sense of principles
involved ; but it was reserved for later ages to bring out
in all its deductions what was potentially revealed in the
Scripture. Even now this task is by no means ended, and
our own age has been the first to grasp the antithesis in the
hio'her intellectual world between science within and science
outside the sphere of palingenesis.

Hence in this period of naivety there was no question
whatever of a theology as an organic science, in the sense
in which our age especiall}^ understands it. What the apos-
tolic fathers offer is little more than exhortation, pious and
serious, but as to principles very imperfectly thought out.
From Quadratus to Hegesippus the apologists enter an acci-
dental and fragmentary plea to parry assailants from the side
of philosophy or invectives from the lips of public opinion,
rather than place over against their world of thought a clearly
conscious world of thought of their own. The education at
most of prospective ministers of the Word, as well as of the
youth of higher rank, was the leading motive at the schools
of Asia Minor, Alexandria and North Africa. And in the
pseudepigraphical literature tradition and the effort of diverg-
ing tendencies are both active to create for themselves an
authority to which to appeal. If then, without doubt the
attack was made from the side of the Christians in the reli-
gious domain, this was not the case in the intellectual domain.
Here the pagans themselves took the initiative, either by
combating the Christian faith directly, such as was done by
Celsus, Porphyry and Hierocles, or, which was far worse,
by introducing the Christian religion as a new phenomenon
into their own pantheistic world-view. First with the
Gnostics, and shortly after with the Manicheans, the Church
of Christ suffered the severest strain, and it is certainly not
because of her intellectual superiority that she came out
triumphantly from this mortal combat. The strife indeed
compelled severe processes of thought, and the deepest prin-
ciples of life were freely laid bare, but the real character

Chap. Y] § 101. THE PERKJD OF NAIVETY 643

of this antithesis was still so little understood that, with
Clement and Origen, the victory was bought at the price
of weakness of principle ; and the influence of " the knowl-
edge falsely so called," which raises its head in heretical
teachings, entered the very pale of the Church already in
this first period. If, therefore, the decision in this strife had
been reached by a hand-to-hand combat of intellectual powers,
there is no doubt but that Paganism would have carried the
day. Evidently, therefore, the Church owes the different
result to the fact that it soon began to manifest itself as an
organizing power, which ethically judged the pagan world,
and finally enlisted the political power in its ranks. Hence
the severest trial was suffered at the hands of the INlanicheans,
which is so impressive a phenomenon for the reason that in
this an antipodal Church arrayed itself as a religiously organ-
ized power in opposition to the Church of Christ, and the
false gnosis of Manicheanism assailed the Church with her
own weapons. And this Manichean trouble assumed such
wide proportions that for a time it seemed as though the
Church were on the verge of being swallowed up alive. The
flood of this church-like organized gnosis had forced its way
from the heart of Asia to the most westerly parts of North
Africa. Even Augustine felt the after-pains of it.

If it is asked whether in this first period there was no
manifestation of an impulse to apply oneself in a positive
sense to that intellectual pursuit in which theology finds its
appointed task, then be it said that this positive element
soon presented itself; for ministers needed to be educated,
preaching necessitated exegesis and fixing of ethical stand-
ards, the organization of its own power gave rise to the
problem of Church government, and, after some time had
passed, the need of a review of history became urgent
of itself. But for no single moment did these positive
studies rise above the primitive water-mark ; or where this
was the case, as at Alexandria, they made too vain a show
of feathers borrowed from pagan speculation, so that almost
instinctively the Church perceived at once that this rich de-
velopment promised more danger than gain. If it takes small

644 § 101. THE PERIOD OF NArVETY [Div. Ill

pains to observe in this first period of naivety the iirst buds
of almost all the departments of theology, it cannot be said
that at that time theology had alread}^ matured as a self-
conscious power in its organic unity. For this the needed data
were wanting ; the element of genius was too largely absent
from the persons ; and where this genius was unmistaka-
bly present in men like Origen and in a few teachers in the
North African school, it soon showed itself top-heavy, and
by its one-sidedness became heretical. The growth was too
early and too exuberant, but there was no depth of soil,
and because the development in the root was unequal, this
element of genius soon outgrew its own strength. There
was conflict between a twofold life- and world-view, which
undoubtedly governed the general state of things, but the first
issue in this struggle with Paganism is owing to other fac-
tors than intellectual superiority. And in this first period,
which was entirely naive, theology neither attained unto a
clearly conscious insight of its own position, nor to a clearly
perceived antithesis in opposition to " the knowledge falsely
so called." Hence, when, after Constantine's appearance,
Paganism withdrew, there was almost no one to perceive
that the real question of difference on intellectual grounds
was still unsolved, much less was it surmised that fifteen
centuries later the old assailant would again war against the
Church of Christ, and, armed to the teeth, would repulse her
from more than half the domain which, through the course
of the centuries, had appeared invincibly her own. Naively
they lived in the thought that Goliath lay vanquished once
and for all time, and that the Lord would return before the
antithesis had also been exhibited in the world of intellect,
both as a conflict of principles in the lowest depths of our
existence, and differentiated above in all the branches.

But however na'ive this first development of theology ma}^
have been, even then it showed potentially all the richness of
its colors. In two respects : first, although theology is no
abstract speculation, but as a positive science has its origin
from life itself, in this first period it furnished a so-mauy-
sided intellectual activity, that to-day there is almost no

Chap. V] § 101. THE PERIOD OF NAIVETY 645

single department of theology which does not trace its
beginnings to this first period. And, secondly, in that in
this first period the several tendencies which henceforth
were to dominate the study of theology delineate themselves
almost completely. Even then dualism asserted itself, and
tried to make the Christian religion shine by itself as a
novum quid apart from the preceding development of our
human life, and therefore made its appearance as a ten-
dency which was partly mystical-religious, and partly pietis-
tical-nomistic. In opposition to the one-sidedness of this
dualism, which was for the most part apocalyptic, the
monistic-syncretistic tendency gained a hearing in this first
period, which, while it maintained the unity between tlie
light of nature (lumen naturae) and the light of grace
(lumen gratiae), ran the risk of abandoning the specific
difference between the two. Similarly also, in this first period,
there was seen upon the one side an attempt to find the point of
support in the spiritual authority of the Holy Scripture, and,
on the other side, to obtain a foothold in the consolidation
of ecclesiastical authority. And in those early centuries also
the tendency showed itself to combine whatever good there
was in each of these four chief points of view in an eclectic
and arbitrary way, by a compromise which avoided the con-
flict of principles. The conflict between the Judaistic and
Pagan element should not be coordinated with that between
these five tendencies as if it were similar to them, since it falls
of itself under the antithesis already named. A separate men-
tion of this specific struggle, however, should be made, in
so far as it worked a permanent effect in the Christian
Church, both in the pseudo-symbolic stamp of the Romish
Church, in Chiliasm so prevalent again in these later times,
and in Sabbatism and in all strivings after holiness by
works that seek their point of support in the Old Testament.
Under all these forms, the antithesis is the same between
the real manifestation of Christ and what preceded this
manifestation by way of preparation. And while this ques-
tion, which first presented itself objective-historically, re-
turned subjectively, later on, when Christ became real, to

646 § 102. THE INTERNAL CONFLICT [Div. Ill

every one who was converted unto Him, it enters too deeply
into the life of the Church itself not to be classified under
a proper head.

§ 102. The Internal Conflict

The change brought about by the reign of Constantine
the Great is vastly important also in the history of theol-
ogy. Not that he personally exerted a dominating influence
upon theology, but in so far as the change of the religion of
the throne offered surest proof that the conflict against Pagan-
ism had reached a provisional decision, and had terminated in
a complete triumph of the Christian religion. It is indeed
noteworthy that, without any direct connection, the eccle-
siastical events at Alexandria run almost parallel with the
political events. In 313, the very year of the second edict of
Milan, Arius was ordained a presbyter in Alexandria. In 321
Arius is condemned by the Synod at Alexandria, while Con-
stantine is at the point of coming over to Christianity in 323.
And in 325, at the council of Nice, Arius falls, Athanasius
appears upon the scene, and the emperor of the Roman Em-
pire, which was still at the height of its power, casts his
influence in the scale of the worship of the Christ as " Begot-
ten, not made, and of one essence with the Father." And
with this all other relations are changed. The Christians
become polemics, and compel heathen scholars to appear as
apologists. Not the Christian religion, but Paganism, is now
denied a starting-point in public life. The influence upon
public opinion has now passed into the hands of presbyters
and bishops. Pagan cult bleeds to death for Avant of finan-
cial support, while Christian ceremonial begins to exhibit
pomp and splendor. Moral preponderance is turned en-
tirely to the side of the Christian religion. Henceforth the
higher classes follow after the Cross in ever-increasing
numbers. Christian schools flourish in proportion as heathen
schools wane. And, as is generally observed in such
changes in the state of affairs, from now on, talent, the
enercry of personality, and the power of the word turn their
back upon Paganism, and place themselves at the service of


the newly arrived religion. And this explains the almost
immediate transition from the naivety of the first period, to
the almost midlife maturity that marks this second period.
The fourth and fifth centuries are contrasted with the second
and third almost as light and shadow, and this sudden blos-
soming of intellectual life and even of genius within the
Christian domain is so overwhelming, that already in the
sixth century unmistakable signs appear of deterioration,
and in the seventh century the decline of the middle ages
has already set in. The almost simultaneous appearance of
the dominating Fathers in the East, as well as in the West, by
which the heroic names of Athanasius and Augustine have
been attached to the orthodox development of the Church and
theology for all ages, — a fact which finds no explanation
from history, nor from psychology, but only from the provi-
dential leading of the Creator of spirits and geniuses, — proves
of itself, that the change brought about by Constantine marks
the beginning of the fundamental period of Christian the-
ology. All that follows after can only be built upon the
permanent foundation laid by these gigantic architects. For
both these cycles of Patres, which group themselves about
Athanasius in the East, and about Augustine in the West,
neither lean nor rest upon what went before, but stand en-
tirely upon their own feet, with Atlantic strength to support the
development coming after them. This appears most clearly
from comparison between the meagre efforts of earlier apolo-
gists and the Civitas Dei of Augustine. With every earlier
apologist it was a mere effort of hands and feet to protect
the body against the assailant, but in Augustine we meet with
a Herculean figure that destroys the monster with a stroke
of the sword and makes the dragon retreat into his hole.
Augustine is the Christian triumphator, before whose tri-
umphal chariot are borne the spoils of Paganism and Mani-
cheism as trophies. In him and after him the Christian
religion is dominant, while nothing remains for Paganism but
the convulsions of approaching death. Gloriously has Gol-
gotha been avenged, and the cross, which was once an
accursed tree, is now a symbol of honor.

648 § 102. THE INTERNAL CONFLICT [Div. Ill

By this, however, theology obtained an entirely diffeient
character. Whereas in the first period, it had been chiefly
bent upon self-defence against the arch-enemy, that enemy
was now vanquished, and thus the antithesis between regen-
erate and unregenerate human consciousness could no longer
be the most conspicuous. When the school, at which Proklus
flourished last, was closed at Athens, and the last supporters
of classic tradition fled to Persia, there was no more need for
a further conflict about this deepest and most incisive antith-
esis. As an intellectual power. Paganism no longer stood.
All intellectual power was now withdrawn within the walls
of the Christian Church; consequently, the antitheses which
were to impel theology to action could not but have tlieir
rise in the heart of that Church itself. Hence it became a
conflict within its own bosom.

If the question is raised whether the deepest significance of
this conflict is not still stated b}^ the antithesis between nature

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