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The Goethezeit and the Metamorphosis of Catholic Theology in the Age of Idealism


Donald J. Dietrich

Rationalism, romanticism, historicism and German idealism formed a multi-dimensional framework within which theological ideas matured. Hegel's German idealism was the most penetrating and influential philosophical synthesis in the first half of the nineteenth century. In particular, Catholic theologians opposed Hegel's emphasis on an organic, developmental reason historically evolving.
While most Catholic theologians opposed German idealism in its subjective, naturalistic, or rationalistic aspects, Hermes, Sailer, those in the Tübinger School and Günther were outstanding in their critical analyses oh this new religio-cultural orientation. Constructive criticism separating «error» from realistic insight and not simple condemnation was their preference.