The Objective Issue

In order to distinguish the subjective issue of the individual's relation to Christianity as clearly as possible from the objective issue of the truth of Christianity, Climacus begins with a brief characterization of how the latter is determined in the modern age. Reflecting Leibniz's famous distinction between contingent and necessary truths, or truths of fact and truths of reason, he points out that, objectively viewed, truth can be understood as being either historical or philosophical in nature (CUP i. 21).5 Viewed as a historical truth, the truth of Christianity is determined in the same way as any other historical truth, namely through a critical examination of the historical documents, reports, etc. pertaining to it in order to verify its historicity. Viewed as a philosophical or metaphysical truth, the truth of Christianity is determined by a rational examination of the relation of its historically given and verified doctrines to eternal truth. As examples of these two ways of establishing the truth of Christianity in the modern age, Climacus cites the historical point of view of modern biblical scholarship, Grundtvigian church theory, and orthodoxy's 'proof of the centuries', and the speculative point of view of Hegelian philosophy and theology. It is primarily against the latter perspective that Climacus takes aim in this book, as he rather quickly dismisses the historical point of view because

it provides only an approximation to truth, which in his view is not enough on which to base eternal happiness (23-49).

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