A Kantian Systematic Theology for the Twenty-First Century

  • PALMQUIST, Stephen R (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Kant’s theory of religion has been among the fastest growing focal areas within the field of Kant scholarship over the past 25 years; publications by the PI have contributed significantly to this discussion. Previously, interpreters typically read Kant as rejecting organized religion and undermining belief in God. Prompted by the PI’s “affirmative” interpretation, increasing numbers of scholars now consult Kant’s texts for insights into specific religious and theological issues. However, nobody has yet explained systematically how Kant’s theology and theory of religion applies to the pragmatic concerns and doctrinal beliefs of real twenty-first century religious believers. This project will fill that gap by producing the first monograph presenting a systematic theology that remains thoroughly Christian--though not necessarily exclusively Christian--while consistently applying insights from Kant’s philosophy of religion.

After an introduction that places Kant into his historical/theological context, the book's four parts will examine basic questions and themes relating to: (I) the nature and existence of God; (II) human nature and Christian anthropology’s understanding of it; (III) the central Christian doctrines; and (IV) the most essential points regarding what it means for a person to serve God. Each part’s chapters will include discussion of areas typically covered by systematic theology in the Christian tradition, including: in Part I, the meaning of “God”, the features of God’s nature, the Trinitarian status of God’s relation to humanity, and the possibility and nature of revelation and miracles; in Part II, hamartiology (sin), soteriology (salvation, including forgiveness, grace, and hope), and Christology (including the hypostatic union, and the status of the incarnation and resurrection); in Part III, ecclesiology (the nature and function of a church), bibliology (the role of Scripture), and eschatology (the history of God’s kingdom manifested on earth, and beyond); and in Part IV, the sacraments, the proper function of ritual, and the status of conscience as authentic religion’s core content.

Unlike the PI’s previous publications that carefully exegete Kant’s theology and theory of religion, this book will focus on constructing a new systematic Christian theology that unpacks in detail what the Kantian revolution in religion entails for contemporary Christians who take up Kant's challenge. Interpreting traditional doctrines more philosophically need not require twenty-first century Christians to abandon their most cherished convictions, so much as to eschew polarizing perspectives by attuning their theological convictions to the moral dimensions of faith, thus also encouraging non- religious philosophers to be more open to (this Kantian-style) Christianity
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/22


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