Neither Neo- nor Post-

Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 56 (2):160-180 (2014)
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Abstract

SummaryA liberal theology that values the individual, the person or the subject, is required to defend itself for its ally with individualism and human-centered philosophies, since the concept of the individual or the person has become problematic, as it is radicalized in neoliberalism and sharply criticized by postmodernism. After the First World War Ernst Troeltsch distinguished a German from a Western perspective at the basis of a liberal view of humanity, which he wanted to synthesize in order to secure human dignity and advance the acceptance of universal human rights. Even though our situation has changed profoundly, Troeltsch’s distinction is still very helpful, since both neoliberalism and postmodernism can be described as one-sided radicalizations of what he labeled as ‘German’ and ‘Western’ ways of thought. Analysis shows that both neoliberalism and postmodernism fail to formulate the commonalities of a common human nature due to their radicalization. In contrast to neoliberalism and postmodernism, a liberal theology is challenged to value the individual within the bond of a common human nature and to describe this nature without the restrictions or prescriptions of an essentialist definition of what is human. The concept of a common humanity without essentials is defended with reference to Foucault and Hegel and supported by the classical notion of the image of God.

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