VI THE LAST PHASE OF RATIONALISM – HASE AND SCHLEIERMACHER
|November 22, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter six||
THE LAST PHASE OF RATIONALISM – HASE AND SCHLEIERMACHER
Karl August Hase. Das Leben Jesu zunachst fur akademische Studien. (The Life of Jesus, primarily for the use of students.) 1829. 205 pp. This work contains a bibliography of the earliest literature of the subject. 5th ed., 1865.
Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher. Das Leben Jesu. 1864. Edited by Rütenik. The edition is based upon a student’s note-book of a course of lectures delivered in 1832.
David Friedrich Strauss. Der Christus des Glaubens und der Jesus der Geschichte. Eine Kritik des Schleiermacher’schen Lebens Jesu. (The Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History. A criticism of Schleiermacher’s Life of Jesus.) 1865.
IN THEIR TREATMENT OF THE LIFE OF JESUS, HASE AND SCHLEIERMACHER are in one respect still wholly dominated by rationalism. They still cling to the rationalistic explanation of miracle; although they have no longer the same ingenuous confidence in it as their predecessors, and although at the decisive cases they are content to leave a question-mark instead of offering a solution. They might, in fact, be described as the sceptics of rationalism. In another respect, however, they aim at something beyond the range of rationalism, inasmuch as they endeavour to grasp the inner connexion of the events of Jesus’ ministry, which in Paulus had entirely fallen out of sight. Their Lives of Jesus are transitional, in the good sense of the word as well as in the bad. In respect of progress, Hase shows himself the greater of the two.
Scarcely thirteen years have elapsed since the death of the great Jena professor, his Excellency von Hase, and already we think of him as a man of the past. Theology has voted to inscribe his name upon its records in letters of gold—and has passed on to the order of the day. He was no pioneer like Baur, and he does not meet the present age on the footing of a contemporary, offering it problems raised by him and still unsolved. Even his “Church History,” with its twelve editions, has already had its day, although it is still the most brilliantly written work in this department, and conceals beneath its elegance of form a massive erudition. He was more than a theologian; he was one of the finest monuments of German culture, the living embodiment of a period which for us lies under the sunset glow of the past, in the land of “once upon a time.”
His path in life was unembarrassed; he knew toil, but not disappointment. Born in 1800, he finished his studies at Tübingen, where he qualified as a Privat-Docent in 1823. In 1824-1825 he spent eleven months in the fortress of Hohenasperg, where he was confined for taking the part of the Burschenschaften, and had leisure for meditation and literary plans. In 1830 he went to Jena, where, with a yearly visit to Italy to lay in a store of sunshine and renewed strength, he worked until 1890.
Not without a certain reverence does one take this little textbook of 205 pages into one’s hands. This is the first attempt by a fully equipped scholar to reconstruct the life of Jesus on a purely historical basis. There is more creative power in it than in almost any of his later works. It manifests already the brilliant qualities of style for which he was distinguished—clearness, terseness, elegance. What a contrast with that of Bahrdt, Venturini, or Paulus!
 Associations of students, at that time of a political character.— TRANSLATOR.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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