Feeling

Feeling The relation of feeling to religion is a subject of importance both from a religious and philosophical point of view. It has been viewed is very different ways, and has led to long and animated controversies.

In Greek, the word αἴσθησις denoted every kind of perception, sensuous and spiritual, mediate and immediate; consequently, also what we call feeling. Plato referred to a sensuous spiritual feeling, though he did not call it by this names; for, according to his-a, the understanding (νοῦς) communes with the affections (ἐπιθυμητικὁν), and the seat of this communion is the liver, from which proceed the power of divination (μαντεία) and enthusiasm (ἐνθουσιασμός). Connected with this view is the opinion of Plato, that virtue cannot be taught, and that what is substantially good breaks forth in the soul as an immediate light.

The extensive -usage of the Latin word sensus embraces also the natural moral feeling, senses comnunis, senses hominum.

Definition of feeling

In the Septuagint the word αἴσθησις frequently occurs, and is generally rendered by "knowledge" or "wisdom," as Pr 1:7; Pr 12:23. In the New Testament it occurs only once, Php 1:9, where it is coupled with ἐπίγνωσις (English version: and this I pray that your love may abound yet more and score in knowledge and in all judgment).

The psychological meaning of the words αἴσθησις and sensus in the Greek and Latin fathers is not fully settled, but in general they use them to denote a knowledge, or insight obtained by means of feeling. Origen (contra Celsum, i, 48) speaks of a "divine insight" (θεία αἴσθησις) of the soul by means of which enlightened men perceive supernatural things just as others perceive natural objects by means of their senses. Clement (Stromat. iv, p. 333, ed. Potter) ascribes to the scientific man a συναίσθησις, a faculty of inventing and understanding, analogous to the faculty of taste possessed by the sculptor, and the sense of hearing possessed by the musician. To denote a feeling accompanying the will, the Latin fathers used the word mcivsace. Among the Latin fathers, Tertullian (De anima, chap. ii) spoke of a publicus sensus which leads the soul to a knowledge of God. Augustin introduced the expression inner sense (interior sensus), which become of great importance in the writings of the mystics. The common expressions in the mystics to denote subjective and objective feeling are sensus, sentimentum affectus, gustus. Affectus always embraces a practical impulse. Gustus, which is identified with senses, does not exclude the practical impulse, but properly denotes feeling viewed in its relation to its own contents, and therefore designated as a modes cognoscendi, a kind of cognition. The immediateness of this sensus, which words cannot fully express, is therefore, in the opinion of the mystics, greatly superior to an intellectual insight. Mystic theology, according to Gerson, because it rests on feeling, is widely different from all other sciences. Thomas Aquinas regards not only mystical theology, but theology and faith in general, as founded in the pia affectio (pious or religious feeling), because faith supposes a movement of the will towards the first. truth and the highest good which produces assent (Summa Theol. ii, 2, 9, 4, 5).

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

The mystical writers of Germany is the Middle Ages, writing on practical more than speculative subjects, spoke of feeling in particulars as a subjective consciousness, and demanded its renunciation. The spiritual man, they urged, should emancipate himself from all emotions and sever his connection with everything created, that God might become present to him, and eternity might be felt by him and tasted. The objective feeling of the supernatural God appears to these writers as the final result of the renunciation of the subjective feeling of personal and individual existence.

Luther warned against a reliance upon "feeling" instead of clinging to the " word." At the same time, however, he demands that the soul feel the call of the Lord, and the "spirit of adoption, whereby ''we cry Abba, father" (Ro 8:15), he defines as a feeling of the fatherly love of God. The testimony of the Holy Ghost he finds in the religious experience, and this experience he identifies with the religious feeling. Similar are the views of the other reformers and the early writers of the Reformed churches.

A greater stress was laid on feeling as an element of religion by the Pietists, who regarded its very inexpressibility as an argument for its truth. The same was done by the Moravians, who reduced religion to the feeling of truth. Opposition to the Pietists made most of the later dogmatic writers of the Lutheran Church suspicious of feeling as an element of religion; but some recognised its importance, as M. Pfaff (Instit. Theol. and Moral.), who did not hesitate to apply (like the society of Friends) to the "spiritual feeling" (sensus or gustus spiritualas) the expression " spiritual light" (lumen spirituale).

About the middle of the 18th century arose the system of Utilitarianism. Bread and butter were now more valuable than metaphysics. In the same proportion as confidence in the truth of thought vanished, confidence in - the objective contents of feeling was also weakened. But gradually philosophy prepared the way for a more correct appreciation of feeling. Until Wolf, philosophy had only recognised two faculties of the soul, intellect and will (or desire). Tetens added feeling as " the inner sense for the pleasant and the unpleasant." Kant, also, in his Kritik der Urtheilskrsaft, reduced all faculties of the soul to three, one of which was the Gefuhl der Lust und Unlust (feeling of the pleasant and unpleasant). Kant also called attention to the fact that in aesthetics the beautiful and sublime is felt, and the infinite is seen in the finite appearance. Here, therefore, an objective feeling was found. This idea of Kant's aesthetics was further developed by Fries, who based upon feeling an aesthetico- religious system which taught that the highest ideas must be divined by faith. Jacobi taught an immediate faculty of the divine, which he first called the faculty of faith; later, of reason; finally-adopting the terms of Fries--of feeling.

These philosophical speculations greatly influenced the various systems of Rationalism. After the times of Wolf, only a few, as Rohr, adhered to an exclusive intellectualism. Most of the important representatives of Rationalism accept the theories of Fries and Jacobi. Thus Wegscheider refers chiefly to the philosophical works of-the disciples of Jacobi-Gerlach, Bouterweck, and Salat. And Gabler, one of the keenest of the early Rationalists, defines religion as a ' feeling of dependence upon the infinite." Among the adherents of Supranaturalism, Bretschneider and Reinhard recognised only a subjective feeling, but De Wette introduced the theory of Fries into systematic theology. Unlike Fries, however, in whose system there still was some obscurity as regards the relation of feeling and will to religion, De Wette based religion altogether on feeling or an esthetic view of the world, in which all difference between religion and art disappeared.

The system of Jacobi and of Spinoza, together with the spirit prevailing among the Moravians, worked together to produce the new doctrine of feeling which constituted the basis of the theology of Schleiermacher, and which still influences most theological systems of modern times. For Schleiermacher, religion is "'the feeling of absolute dependence ;" that to which our reflection traces our individual existence is called God; and thus, in feeling, God is given to us in an original manner. SEE SCHLEIERMACHER. This theory of feeling was defended and keenly developed by Twesten, and in particular by Nitzsch. Hegel severely attacked the views of Schleiermacher, but his own views considerably changed with the gradual development of his system. See Tholuck, in Herzog's Real-Encyklopadie, 4:703.

 
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