Pylaev Maxim

The absoluteness of Christianity in E. Trelch’s works in connection with the metaphysical and non-metaphysical justification of historicism

Pylaev Maxim (2020) "The absoluteness of Christianity in E. Trelch’s works in connection with the metaphysical and non-metaphysical justification of historicism ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2020, vol. 88, pp. 30-42 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202088.30-42


This article is intended to answer the question of the possible coherence of the principles of historicism developed by the Neo-Kantian tradition (V. Windelband, G. Rickert) in their refl ection in philosophical theology of E. Trelch and in the conception of absoluteness of Christianity. The article studies the metamorphoses of historical thinking in the post-Hegel philosophy of history of the 19th century in their determining infl uence on the liberal theology of Trelch. The article also discusses the possibility of building a non-metaphysical philosophy of history and its relationship with Christian theology. The metaphysical substantiation of historicism in the context of the concept of absoluteness of Christianity uses the example of the projects of G. Hegel and F. Schleiermacher. A characteristic feature of the metaphysical form of historicism is its inextricable connection with dialectics. According to Hegel, historical life has a logical structure; substance (spirit) realises itself in history. According to Schleiermacher, the absolute reveals itself in historical forms of religious consciousness. Comparative historical religious studies allow Trelch to give a new answer to the question of the absoluteness of Christianity. Absoluteness loses its metaphysical nature and is determined by the uniqueness and specifi city of any historical event. Trelch preserves the transcendent in history not in form of a metaphysical absolute, but in form of religious values. Developing the concept of Rickert’s historicism, Trelch highlights three aspects of a historical setting. This is a method of historical criticism, correlation and analogy. Trelch, following Rickert, actualises the meaning of a historical event through feeling. Thus, for Trelch, the religious feeling combines the possibility of cognition of the transcendental with the help of the religious a priori and the ability to empirically explicate this knowledge. Trelch adopts the personality-oriented concept of Windelband’s history and extrapolates it to Christianity as the bearer of the values of personalism. A comparative and historical study of religion reveals, according to Trelch, the absoluteness (uniqueness) of Christianity in ethical personalism. Trelch sees the historical uniqueness of Christianity in the humanism of the Sermon on the Mount. This implies sacrifi cial love for one’s fellow men, including love for enemies. Relativism of the principles of historicism presupposes various forms of non-historical substantiation of historicism. Thus, it acts as a source of various concepts of the absoluteness of Christianity.


Neocantianism, liberal theology, absoluteness of Christianity, historicism, Trelch, Rickert, Windelband


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Information about the author

Pylaev Maxim

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Russian State University for the Humanities, 6 Miusskaya Sq., Moscow 125993, GSP-3, Russian Federation;
Post: Professor;
ORCID: 0000-0003-0110-8366;
Email: maximpylajew@mail.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.