Hans-Georg Drescher, Ernst Troeltsch: His Life and Work (Fortress, 1993), 202.
When in 1900 the publishing house Mohr/Siebeck in Tübingen was considering whether to found a new journal for systematic theology, Troeltsch was also asked for his opinion. He wrote: “Systematic theology belongs in general journals. . . I do not believe that anyone will have the courage to devote a special journal to it at a time when dogmatic theology is falling apart.” The fact that Troeltsch had always had the intention to publish a collection of his “positive” views does not contradict these thoughts.
The idea of the dissolution of dogmatic theology is to be seen against the background of Troeltsch’s distinction between dogmatics and the doctrine of faith (Glaubenslehre). In the history of religion Troeltsch sees dogmatics as a distinctive feature of Christianity which emerged in connection with the formation of a community, an exclusivist view of history and a speculative development of ideas. The concept of “the doctrine of faith” resulted from the Protestant criticism of the idea of the authoritative laying down of teaching by the church and the assumption of universal normative validity in matters of faith. According to Troeltsch, modern Protestantism fundamentally overcame the domination of dogma and dogmatics by the destruction of the supernaturalist way of thinking and an understanding of revelation extending to the whole of Christianity. The summary description of ideas of Christian faith and the life of faith resting on personal conviction is aimed at handing down insights of faith to others, with the goal of evoking a corresponding personal resonance in them.