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Die stil van my verlange na God: Oor Johann Wihelm Herrmann se verstaan van die ervaring van God

D.P. Veldsman

Verbum et Ecclesia; Skrif en Kerk: Vol 17, No 2 (1996), 456-472. doi: 10.4102/ve.v17i2.531

Submitted: 21 April 1996
Published:  21 April 1996


Quenching  my  thirst  for  God:  On  Johann  Wilhelm  Herrmann's understanding of  the experience of God This  article,  which  is divided into  two parts, focusses on  the concept of  the "experience  of God"  as  understood by  the  German  systematic  theologian Wilhelm  Herrmann  (1846  - 1922)  of Marburg  in  his  "Der  Verkehr  des Christen  mit  Gott"  (1886).  The  first  part  of  the  article  explains  the historical and theological context of Herrmann's  "Der Verkehr  ... n  as well as  the  theological  frontiers  over  against  which  he  responded  in  his understanding  of the  experience  of God.  For  Herrmann,  this  experience can  not  be  justified  by  means  of historical  investigation.  Neither  is  this experience a  "holding for true" of  doctrines nor has  it its origin  in humans themselves,  but  is  rather  a  "search-find-experience"  of  the  overwhelming "image  of  Jesus"  in  God's  revelatory  engagement with  humanity.  If,  and only  if,  we search for the  gracious God wholeheartedly,  can he himself  be found and not one or other doctrine  or gift of God.  The  second part of  the article  elaborates  on  this  "search-find-experience"  by  humans  of God as understood by Herrmann,  and indicates the  influence it had on Herrmann's two greatest pupils,  namely Karl Barth  and Rudolf Bultmann.  It  is argued that  Herrmann's  understanding  of the  experience  of God  makes  up  the kernel of  their  theological  vantage points,  and in  this  respect,  is  critically evaluated.

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