Revelation and the Enlightenment: Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and the Catholic Church

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Course Overview: 

In the captivating course "The Enlightenment, Kant, Schleiermacher, and Catholic Thought," Professor Eric Jenislawski expertly guides us through a transformative intellectual journey. We explore the foundations of Catholic theology of revelation, drawing wisdom from the Church Fathers and René Latourelle's "The Theology of Revelation." This sets the stage for our exploration of the Enlightenment period, where we grapple with David Hume's skepticism and witness Immanuel Kant's response that salvages the ideals of the era from its grip.

As Professor Eric Jenislawski unfolds: Kant's contributions are nothing short of transformative. He skillfully combines Prussian sensibilities with Enlightenment ideals, tackling pressing philosophical questions that still resonate today. We delve into Kant's classifications of propositions and the mind-bending "Copernican shift" in how we understand knowledge. We also examine Kant's ethical framework, where he reintroduces God as an ethical postulate, sparking intriguing debates on the complex interplay between faith, reason, and morality.

Shifting gears, we encounter Friedrich Schleiermacher, a trailblazer of liberal Protestant theology. With influences from Kant, Schleiermacher emphasizes religious sentiment and intuition, reshaping our understanding of religious experience. We delve into his perspectives on the church, its future, and leadership, acknowledging his inclusive view of religion and its coexistence with diverse traditions. Prepare for thought-provoking reflections on the dynamic nature of faith in a pluralistic world.

So how does the Church respond to such fundamental thinking? Your professor, Eric Jenislawski, unravels the formulation of dogmatic schemata and the Church's efforts to navigate societal changes while preserving its teachings. Additionally, we explore Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Providentissimus Deus, a guiding light for biblical interpretation and the preservation of Catholic teachings.

Throughout the course, Professor Jenislawski synthesizes key themes, inspiring us to engage deeply with the texts. We navigate the intricate intersections of philosophy, theology, and literature with confidence, drawing inspiration from diverse sources. By the end, we emerge with a deeper understanding of the complexities of faith, reason, and the profound mysteries of Divine Revelation. Join us on this enlightening journey that will challenge and expand your intellectual horizons.

The Theology of Revelation

Professor Eric Jenislawski provides an overview of the series and explores the defining elements of Catholic theology of revelation. Drawing wisdom from the Church Fathers and René Latourelle's renowned book, The Theology of Revelation, this lecture sets the stage for our journey into Revelation and Enlightenment with conceptual and theological clarity.


What is the Enlightenment?
David Hume's potent and far-reaching skepticism poses a philosophical threat to the Enlightenment project, which we meticulously explore in this lecture. By delving into Immanuel Kant's influential response, we witness how he overcomes Hume's challenges, salvaging Enlightenment philosophy from the clutches of all-encompassing skepticism and propelling its enduring relevance in Western thought.


An Introduction to Immanuel Kant

Within the rhetoric of Kant's writings, we uncover the embodiment of both Prussian sensibilities and the spirit of the Enlightenment. This lecture closely examines how Kant's philosophical discourse seamlessly weaves together these elements, encapsulating the intellectual climate of Prussia while simultaneously reflecting the ideals and aspirations of the Enlightenment era.

Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

This enlightening lecture explores Immanuel Kant's classification of propositions into analytic a priori, synthetic a priori, and synthetic a posteriori types. We delve into the profound implications of these distinctions in Kant's theory of knowledge alongside the revolutionary "Copernican shift" that transformed our understanding of epistemology today.

Kant’s Ethics

In this thought-provoking lecture, our focus turns to Kantian ethics. We will explore Kant's intriguing approach of reintroducing God as a postulate of ethical reasoning, unpacking the implications of this unique perspective. We will conclude by reflecting on the factors that contributed to the enduring popularity of Kant's philosophy, tracing the enduring relevance that continues to captivate scholars today.

Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason Part I

This captivating lecture explores Immanuel Kant's views on religion, epistemology, and moral philosophy, examining the limits of reason and his reinterpretation of belief in God. Through a careful analysis of Kant's works, we navigate the complex interplay between faith and reason, shedding light on his unique philosophical synthesis.

Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason Part II

Immanuel Kant introduces us to his unconventional portrayal of Jesus Christ, deviating from standard Trinitarian theology. Furthermore, he presents the distinct four marks that characterize the Church of the Enlightenment, offering a profound insight into its nature and purpose. In this captivating lecture, we step into Kant's thought-provoking perspectives, unraveling the theological landscape he constructs with intellectual rigor and depth.

Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason Part III

Immanuel Kant's conclusion in "Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason" outlines the incompatible beliefs and behaviors with enlightened faith, identifies what can remain in an enlightened Christianity, and specifies what must be discarded. This lecture immerses itself into Kant's discerning vision for the future of enlightened religious thought.

Friedrich Schleiermacher, the Forefather of Liberal Protestant Theology

Within the Enlightenment context, we examine Friedrich Schleiermacher's theological perspective, focusing on his concept of the "Promethean Man." This lecture studies the implications of Schleiermacher's ideas, exploring how they shed light on the intricate interplay between religion, philosophy, and human agency during this significant period of intellectual history.

Schleiermacher’s On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers

Friedrich Schleiermacher's innovative approach to Christianity and religion unfolds as we examine his incorporation of Kantian influences. We get a glimpse into Schleiermacher's Theory of religious sentiment or religious intuition, which lies at the heart of his theology, shedding light on the nature of religious experience and its implications for understanding Christianity.

Schleiermacher’s On Religion: Fourth and Fifth Speeches

Friedrich Schleiermacher's vision of the church, its future, organization, and leadership unfolds, alongside his intrinsically pluralist view of religion. This lecture introduces us to Schleiermacher's perspectives, exploring the implications of his ideas for understanding the dynamic nature of the church and the coexistence of diverse religious traditions.

Divine Revelation and the Church’s Response

Examining the influence of the Franco-Prussian War, this lecture highlights its role in shaping the three major dogmatic schemata of the First Vatican Council. We explore the historical context and its impact on the Council's proceedings, revealing how this significant event shaped the formulation of important dogmatic pronouncements.

An Examination of Dei Filius

This lecture explores how the document Dei Filius addresses the impact of contemporary intellectual movements that led Catholic thinking astray, providing a reaffirmation of essential truths. We analyze the document's robust defense against these influences, emphasizing its guidance in preserving core Catholic doctrines for believers.

Pope St. Pius X and Pascendi Dominici Gregis

Diving into the measures implemented by the Vatican, we explore how they addressed this formidable challenge to Catholic orthodoxy called “The Modernist Crisis.” Through a comprehensive analysis of the theological and doctrinal implications, we gain valuable insights into the Vatican's efforts to preserve the integrity of Catholic teachings amidst the influence of modernist ideologies.

The Modernist as a Biblical Theologian

Uncovering the principles of biblical interpretation, we study Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Providentissimus Deus. This encyclical sheds light on the potential errors in interpreting the Bible and highlights the encyclical's guidance for a proper approach to understanding sacred scripture.

Conclusion and Response

Professor Eric Jenislawski concludes the course by discussing supplementary works that contribute to a deeper understanding of Divine Revelation, strengthening both faith and knowledge. This final lecture offers valuable insights into resources that enhance our comprehension of the profound mysteries encapsulated within Divine Revelation.

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Eric J. Jenislawski, PhD
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Revelation and Enlightenment
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