"Schleiermacher, after declaring in his Über die Religion: Reden an die gebildeten unter ihren Verächtern [On Religion: Addresses in Response to Its Cultured Critics] that he would bar no book from becoming a Bible, later- in his theological and ecclesiastical period- developed an interpretation of Christianity as the realization of that essence of religion which is latent in creation and which evolves by means of the elevation of the spirit over the flesh. Yet at the same time he was careful to consider Christianity in its constantly individual and historically limited, hence always changeable, forms. It was he who coined the catchword "individual" (das Individuelle) and made it fruitful for a nondogmatic understanding of Christian history. For this reason it was also he who limited the absolute religion to a single point, to the person of Jesus, whom he then interpreted, in a sense that was actually both historical and dogmatic, as an archetypal redemptive figure of absolute, unconditioned, and unlimited religious knowledge and power, subject to change in appearance but in reality changeless. The effects proceeding from this original figure, however, he at once subsumed again under the category of history, holding that they were always to be understood not only as mperfect because of sin but also as necessarily limited because of their individual character.
Hegel, on the other hand, defined Christianity in its entirety as the absolute religion, for he perceived in it the highest and final stage of religion. In fact, however, it was for him merely the last of the preparatory stages that, though remaining limited to symbols, would lead to the absolute religion. This absolute religion was to evolve out of Christianity as a purely mental construct, but its truth could be demonstrated only by drawing inferences from the absolute principle inhering in the absolute idea that works itself out in history. Accordingly, the idea of the absolute religion was taken not from history but from the concept of the absolute itself. The concept of the absolute was regarded as a rationally necessary concept. It derived from and was utterly dependent on a rationally necessary concept of God, but it appeared in history only as an end product of thought. However, the connection between this concept and historical Christianity- most important, its connection with the person of Jesus taken as exhibiting this concept perfectly in a practical sense- is merely asserted, not demonstrated.
Thus both of these creative thinkers made only cautious, qualified use of the idea of Christianity as the absolute religion..."
Ernst Troeltsch, The Absoluteness of Christianity and the History of Religions, trans. David Reid, (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), pp. 76-77.