1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Martensen, Hans Lassen

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MARTENSEN, HANS LASSEN (1808–1884), Danish divine, was born at Flensburg on the 19th of August 1808. He studied in Copenhagen, and was ordained in the Danish Church. At Copenhagen he was lektor in theology in 1838, professor extraordinarius in 1840, court preacher also in 1845, and professor ordinarius in 1850. In 1854 he was made bishop of Seeland. In his studies he had come under the influence of Schleiermacher, Hegel and Franz Baader; but he was a man of independent mind, and developed a peculiar speculative theology which showed a disposition towards mysticism and theosophy. His contributions to theological literature included treatises on Christian ethics and dogmatics, on moral philosophy, on baptism, and a sketch of the life of Jakob Boehme, who exercised so marked an influence on the mind of the great English theologian of the 18th century, William Law. Martensen was a distinguished preacher, and his works were translated into various languages. The “official” eulogy he pronounced upon Bishop Jakob P. Mynster (1775–1854) in 1854, brought down upon his head the invectives of the philosopher Sören Kierkegaard. He died at Copenhagen on the 3rd of February 1884.

Amongst his works are: Grundriss des Systems der Moralphilosophie (1841; 3rd ed., 1879; German, 1845), Die christl. Taufe und die baptistische Frage (2nd ed., 1847; German, 2nd ed., 1860), Den Christelige Dogmatik (4th ed., 1883; Eng. trans., 1866; German by himself, 4th ed., 1897); Christliche Ethik (1871; Eng. trans., Part I. 1873, Part II. 1881 seq.); Hirtenspiegel (1870–1872); Katholizismus und Protestantismus (1874); Jacob Böhme (1882; Eng. trans., 1885). An autobiography, Aus meinem Leben, appeared in 1883, and after his death the Briefwechsel zwischen Martensen und Dorner (1888).