The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Strauss, David Friedrich

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1546874The Encyclopedia Americana — Strauss, David Friedrich

STRAUSS, David Friedrich, German theologian: b. Ludwigsburg, Württemberg, 27 Jan. 1808; d. there, 8 Feb. 1874. He studied in Tübingen University; became assistant to a country clergyman in 1830; was appointed temporary professor in the seminary at Maulbronn; resigned this position and went to Berlin in 1831 to study under Schleiermacher and Hegel. He returned to Tübingen and lectured on logic and philosophy; and published in 1835 his famous ‘Life of Jesus,’ in which he attempted to prove that the gospel narratives had a mythical origin and growth. To his numerous critics he replied in ‘Streitschriften’ and ‘Zwei friedliche Blätter.’ Appointed in 1839 to the chair of dogmatic theology in Zürich he was prevented from entering upon his duties by a storm of popular indignation, but received a small pension in recompense. In 1848 he was elected a member of the Württemberg Diet; a position he resigned because he found it uncongenial. His subsequent writings were ‘Christliche Glaubenslehre’ (1839-41); ‘Life of Schubart’ (1849); ‘Life of Christian Märklin’ (1851); ‘Life of Ulrich von Hutten’ (1858-60); ‘Leben Jesu für das Deutsche Volk’ (‘Life of Jesus for the German People,’ 1877); ‘Der Christus des Glaubens und der Jesus der Geschichte’ (‘The Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History,’ 1865), and ‘Der alte und der neue Glaube’ (‘The Old and the New Faith,’ 1872), in which he defines his final attitude to Christianity, that being now entirely hostile. His more important works have been translated into English. He also gave much attention to literary criticism and wrote critical biographies of Schubart.