Die Unterscheidung von Theologie und Religion. Überlegungen zu einer umstrittenen Grundfigur in der protestantischen Theologie des 20. Jahrhunderts
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This essay is predominantly concerned with the distinction between theology and religion. It elucidates how an engagement with this distinction exposes hidden lineages and continuities within 20th century Protestant theology. Ernst Troeltsch used the dynamic potential of this distinction not only to show that religion stands in harmony with modern reason (Zusammenbestehbarkeit), but also to oppose a rationalistic disenchantment of religion. Karl Barth's programmatic dismissal of the distinction between theology and religion may be considered as radicalization of a Troeltschian motif: Barth's intention is to bridge the 'observational gap' between theology and religion in order to preserve forms of theological access to religious experience besides a merely reductionist approach. The post-Barthian renaissance of the term 'religion' eventually reintroduced the distinction between theology and religion. Although admittedly it now seems to have lost its uneasy dynamic, the distinction tends to harden into strict separation, a development with problematic consequences for both theological work and the understanding of religion.