In this book, Paths not Taken Lutheran Theologian Paul Hinckley shows how the direction of early Modern Protestant Theology, beginning with the Kantian destruction of the Cartesian epistemology and running through Schleiermacher and onto Barth, has left theology in a "sad state". This has been noted both by Anglo-Catholics (John Milbank Theology and Social Theory), and Catholics (Michael J. Buckley At the Origins of Modern Atheism) alike, and is now becoming more obvious with the postmodern suspicion of Kantian metaphysics and hermeneutics. Hinckley argues that antecedent to Kant, Spinoza and Leibniz attempted to root the epistemological suppositions of the adolescent Protestant Theology in Augustine but were dwarfed by Kant's revolutionary objectivism. The direction of Protestant theology, therefore, was oriented towards human empiricism, not towards historical divine revelation which Luther would have endorsed. Accordingly, Hinckley asserts that if Protestant Theology would have built on Luther with Leibniz, it would have found firmer ground to stand on, and would still have the attention of the public square and quite possibly would have been spared the modern descent into disillusionment. In this analysis, Hinckley presents his argument in conversation with Karl Barth, the most influential theologian of the 20th Century, who openly and deliberately challenged the theology that emerged from Kant and Schleiermacher, and who claimed to carry the torch of a theology of revelation.
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