Harnack’s classic lecture on the relationship between history and Christianity has stood the test of time. Both the concepts of personality and history are closely examined. Harnack asserts that historical criticism causes no real damage to authentic Christianity.
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Harnack’s classic study of the relationship between history and Christianity asks the difficult question of just how much Christianity relies on historical veracity for its basis. His approach to this question incorporates the concept of personality and how it relates to an understanding of history. Boldly addressing the objections that history is tied to development or principle, Harnack argues that the personality of Jesus, and thus Christianity, survives despite the necessity of historical criticism. The impact of Harnack’s logic during the period of the first quest for the historical Jesus would be hard to exaggerate.
Adolf Harnack(1851-1930) was a noted theologian and church historian. A prolific writer with a distinguished academic career at the universities of Leipzig, Giessen, Marburg, and Berlin, Harnack addressed the difficult issues in German Christianity in his day. A champion of Protestantism, he authored a multi-volume history of the rise of dogma, which continues to be a staple of theological debates.