Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Anton Dereser

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 4
Anton Dereser

by Benedict Zimmerman


(Known also as THADDAEUS A S. ADAMO).

Born at Fahr in Franconia, 3 February, 1757; died at Breslau, 15 or 16 June, 1807. He was a Discalced Carmelite, professed at Cologne 18 Oct., 1777. During his studies at Heidelberg, where he graduated, acquired such renown that contrary to the custom of the order he was allowed to accept a professorship in hermeneutics and oriental languages, first at his own alma mater, then at Bonn (1783-1791). In the last-named year he was sent to Strasburg where he also filled the posts of preacher and of rector at the episcopal seminary. Having refused the Constitutional oath he was imprisoned and sentenced to death, but the capital punishment was commuted into one of deportation. It is not quite clear whether this was put into execution; certain it is that with the fall of Robespierre he regained his liberty and returned with shattered health to the convent at Heidelberg (1796). The Margrave of Baden withholding his consent to Dereser's acceptance of the office of coadjutor to the Bishop of Strasburg, he was transferred with the whole university to Freiburg (1807), but having given offence by a funeral sermon (1810) had to leave suddenly for Constance. Thence he went to Lucerne as professor and rector of the seminary, but was expelled on account of his rationalistic teaching, and turned, on invitation, to Breslau as canon and professor (1815). Dereser's combative character got him in trouble everywhere, and, though believing himself a good Catholic, he was imbued with rationalistic, anti- Roman spirit, and with the shallow Rationalism of his time, explaining away everything supernatural in Scripture and religion. All his writings are thus tainted, thought only one, and that without the name of the author, has been placed on the Index, "Commentario biblica in . . . Tu es Petrus" (Bonn, 1789). His principal work, the continuation of Dominic de Brentano's German Bible (Frankfort, 1815-1828, 16 vols.) received permanent value only through the revision by J. M. A. Scholz (1828-1837, 17 vols.). Other works, chiefly Latin, were on the "Necessity of the Knowledge of Oriental Languages for the Study of Scripture" (Cologne, 1783); Hermeneutics of the Old and New Testament (1784 and 1786); Dissertations on the Destruction of Sodom (1784); on St. John Baptist (1785); on the Power and Duties of the Pope according to St. Bernard (1787); on a number of books and portions of the Old Testament with translations (partly metrical) and annotations; on the "Temptation of Christ (1789); on His Divinity and on Pharisaism" (Strasburg, 1791); on the "Foundation of the University of Bonn (1786); a "German Breviary" (Augsburg, 1793, several times reprinted) and a "German Prayer Book (Rottenburg, 1808). He also edited A. Frenzel's Treatise on Matrimony (Breslau, 1818), in which the indissolubility is denied; the author afterwards retracted it.

B. Zimmerman.