Church, Sect, Mysticism: Writing the History of Christianity

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    The chapter introduces Troeltsch’s famous typology ‘Church, Sect, Mysticism’. The typology as it has been developed by Troeltsch and his colleague and friend Max Weber in the first decade of the twentieth century has had an enormous impact, foremost in the sociology of religious organizations. Here Molendijk focuses on its role in Troeltsch’s thought and in his writing of the history of Christianity in particular. The three types were crucial to address the issue of the ‘intrinsic sociological idea of Christianity, and its structure and organization’ in his major work The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches (1912, English translation 1931). The heavily contested mystical type covers individualistic and experiential forms of Christian religiosity. The typology brings along a particular approach to the history of Christianity, which focuses on the role of religious ideas and their interplay with economic and social developments. It enabled Troeltsch too to formulate his ecclesiastical ideal of the flexible German Volkskirche, which integrates a broad variety of Christians under the same roof.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Anthem Companion to Ernst Troeltsch
    EditorsChristopher Adair-Toteff
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherAnthem Press
    ISBN (Print)978-1-78308-277-3
    Publication statusPublished - 15-Dec-2017

    Publication series

    NameAnthem Companions to Sociology


    • Ernst Troeltsch, Typology Church, Sect, Mysticism

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