in conjunction with Schiller, busied himself in the study of Kant. He did a particularly meritorious service in preparing an edition of Spinoza’s writings
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The plan failed. Paulus resigned his professorship and became in 1807 a member of the Bavarian educational council (Schulrat). In this capacity he worked at the reorganisation of the Bavarian school system at the time when Hegel was similarly engaged. He gave four years to this task, which he felt to be laid upon him as a duty. Then, in 1811, he went to Heidelberg as professor of theology; and he remained there until his death, in 1851, at the age of ninety. One of his last sayings, a few hours before he died, was, “I am justified before God, through my desire to do right.” His last words were, “There is another world.”
The forty years of his Heidelberg period were remarkably productive; there was no department of knowledge on which he did not write. He expressed his views about homoeopathy, about the freedom of the Press, about academic freedom, and about the duelling nuisance. In 1831, he wrote upon the Jewish Question; and there the veteran rationalist showed himself a bitter anti-Semite, and brought upon himself the scorn of Heine. On politics and constitutional questions he fought for his opinions so openly and manfully that he had to be warned to be more discreet. In philosophy he took an especially keen interest. When in Jena he had, in conjunction with Schiller, busied himself in the study of Kant. He did a particularly meritorious service in preparing an edition of Spinoza’s writings, with a biography of that thinker, in 1803, at the time when neo-Spinozism was making its influence felt in German philosophy. He constituted himself the special guardian of philosophy, and the moment he detected the slightest hint of mysticism, he sounded the alarm. His pet aversion was Schelling, who was born fourteen years later than he, in the very same house at Leonberg, and whom he had met as colleague at Jena and at Würzburg. The works, avowed and anonymous, which he directed against this “charlatan, juggler, swindler, and obscurantist,” as he designated him, fill an entire library.
In 1841, Schelling was called to the chair of philosophy in Berlin, and in the winter of 1841-1842 he gave his lectures on “The Philosophy of Revelation” which caused the Berlin reactionaries to hail him as their great ally. The veteran rationalist—he was eighty years old—was transported with rage. He had had the lectures taken down for him, and he published them with critical remarks under the title “The Philosophy of Revelation at length Revealed, and set forth for General Examination, by Dr. H. E. G. Paulus” (Darmstadt, 1842). Schelling was furious, and dragged “the impudent scoundrel” into a court of law on the charge of illicit publication. In Prussia the book was suppressed. But the courts decided in favour of Paulus, who coolly explained that “the philosophy of Schelling appeared to him an insidious attack upon sound reason, the unmasking of which by every possible means was a work of public utility, nay, even a duty.” He also secured the result at which he aimed; Schelling resigned his lectureship.
In his last days the veteran rationalist was an isolated survival from an earlier age into a period which no longer understood him. The new men reproached him for standing in the old ways; he accused them of a want of honesty. It was just in his immobility and his one-sidedness that his significance lay. By his consistent carrying through of the rationalistic explanation he performed a service to theology more valuable than those who think themselves so vastly his superiors are willing to acknowledge.
His Life of Jesus is awkwardly arranged. The first part gives a historical exposition of the Gospels, section by section. The second part is a synopsis interspersed with supplementary matter. There is no attempt to grasp the life of Jesus as a connected whole. In that respect he is far inferior to Venturini. Strictly regarded, his work is only a harmony of the Gospels with explanatory comments, the ground plan of which is taken from the Fourth Gospel.
 A Life of Jesus which is completely dependent on the Commentaries of Paulus is that of Greiling, superintendent at Aschersleben, Das Leben Jesu van Nazareth, Ein religiöses Handbuch für Geist und Herz der Freunde Jesu unter den Gebildeten, (The Life of Jesus of Nazareth, a religious Handbook for the Minds and Hearts of the Friends of Jesus among the Cultured.) Halle, 1813.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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