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Creative Grace

Faith and History in the Theology of Adolf Schlatter


Stephen F. Dintaman

In this first major English language study of Adolf Schlatter (1852-1938), Stephen F. Dintaman convincingly demonstrates that this enigmatic Swiss New Testament interpreter offers us a unique and compelling answer to the central methodological question of his era; the question of faith and history. A prolific writer and remarkably comprehensive theologican, Schlatter set out to «heal» the «methodological sickness» that he thought had crippled modern biblical scholarship. His penetrating criticisms of the rationalist philosophical assumptions behind a purely skeptical historical criticism - and his insistence on a living relationship between the «life story» of the interpreter and the «life act» of Jesus as mediated through the language of the biblical text, marked Schlatter as an «unscientific» pietist in the minds of many of his contemporaries. Yet at the end of the 20th century we can look back through Dintaman's work and see that Schlatter anticipated many of the themes of post-modernity, and had developed an original narrative approach to theology almost a century before the concept came in vogue.