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Publication Details

Adler and the Debate on Revelation in Golden Age Denmark

(Original title: Adler and the Debate on Revelation in Golden Age Denmark)
Filozofia, 78 (2023), 10, 821 - 833.
Type of work: Original Articles
Publication language: English
In 1843, Adolph Peter Adler, a pastor of the Danish Church, claimed that he had received a supernatural revelation in which Christ spoke to him. The event triggered a religious controversy. In this article, I would like to offer an analysis of the episode of Adler’s alleged revelation by taking as a frame of reference the philosophical and theological debates of the time, the reaction of the ecclesiastical authorities to the incident, and Søren Kierkegaard’s own proposed diagnosis of the case. Such an analysis will allow us to reach a conclusion regarding the discussion of the time surrounding Adler’s episode, namely, that a contemporary revelation seems to present insurmountable difficulties within the margin of the orthodoxy defended by the Danish Church in the first half of the nineteenth century. A rationalist view, such as that adopted by the Danish Church in this period, holds that any discussion of Christian doctrine and its sources must be rationally explicable. The Scriptures, from this point of view, can and should be interpreted from the free, rational, and scientific perspective of the professional theologian. That said, if by “revelation” is meant a supernatural and subjective phenomenon, it follows that there can be no rational reflection on such a revelation. Therefore, it seems that a revelation – especially a contemporary revelation – cannot coexist with a rationalist theology.

Revelation, Philosophy of religion, Theological rationalism, Super-naturalism, Adler, Kierkegaard, Reason and faith

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