Could Kant's Jesus be god?

Stephen R. Palmquist*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Although Kant had a high regard for Jesus as a moral teacher, interpreters typically assume that his philosophy disallows belief in Jesus as God. Those who regard Kant as a moral reductionist are especially likely to offer a negative construal of the densely-argued subsection of his 1793 Religion that relates directly to this issue. The recent "affirmative" trend in Kant-scholarship provides the basis for an alternative reading. First, theologians must regard Jesus as human so that belief in Jesus can empower believers to become good. Second, theologians may refer to Jesus as divine by identifying his disposition as exemplifying the "archetype of perfect humanity." Third, Judeo-Christian history poses an empirical problem that theologians can solve by interpreting Jesus's divinity according to the schematism of analogy. While this does not constitute a robust (identifiably Christian) doctrine of Jesus's divinity, it does provide clear guidelines for formulating such a tenet of historical faith.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-437
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy


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