When Strauss and his student friends entered on their duties as clergymen, the others found great difficulty in bringing their theological views into line with the popular beliefs which they were expected to preach
|November 22, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter seven||
His first year at the university was uninteresting, as it was only in the following year that the reorganisation of the theological faculty took place, in consequence of the appointment of Baur. The instruction in the philosophical faculty was almost equally unsatisfactory, so that the friends would have gained little from the two years of philosophical propaedeutic which formed part of the course prescribed for theological students, if they had not combined to prosecute their philosophical studies for themselves. The writings of Hegel began to exercise a power ful influence upon them. For the philosophical faculty, Hegel’s philosophy was as yet non-existent.
These student friends were much addicted to poetry. Two journeys which Strauss made along with his fellow-student Binder to Weinsberg to see Justinus Kerner made a deep impression upon him. He had to make a deliberate effort to escape from the dream-world of the “Prophetess of Prevorst.” Some years later, in a Latin note to Binder, he speaks of Weinsberg as “Mecca nostra.”
According to Vischer’s picture of him, the tall stripling made an impression of great charm, though he was rather shy except with intimates. He attended lectures with pedantic regularity.
Baur was at that time still immersed in the prolegomena to his system; but Strauss already suspected the direction which the thoughts of his young teacher were to take.
When Strauss and his student friends entered on their duties as clergymen, the others found great difficulty in bringing their theological views into line with the popular beliefs which they were expected to preach. Strauss alone remained free from inner struggles. In a letter to Binder of the year 1831, he explains that in his sermons—he was then assistant at Klein-Ingersheim near Ludwigsburg—he did not use “representative notions” (Vorstellungen, used as a philosophical technicality) such as that of the Devil, which the people were already prepared to dispense with; but others which still appeared to be indispensable, such as those of an eschatological character, he merely endeavoured to present in such a way that the “intellectual concept” (Begriff) which lay behind, might so far as possible shine through. “When I considered,” he continues, “how far even in intellectual preaching the expression is inadequate to the true essence of the concept, it does not seem to me to matter much if one goes even a step further. I at least go about the matter without the least scruple, and cannot ascribe this to a mere want of sincerity in myself.”
That is Hegelian logic.
After being for a short time Deputy-professor at Maulbronn, he took his doctor’s degree with a dissertation on the ?pok?tastasiV p?ntwn (restoration of all things. Acts iii. 21). This work is lost. From his letters it appears that he treated the subject chiefly from the religious-historical point of view.
When Binder took his doctorate with a philosophical thesis on the immortality of the soul, Strauss, in 1832, wrote to him expressing the opinion that the belief in personal immortality could not properly be regarded as a consequence of the Hegelian system, since, according to Hegel, it was not the subjective spirit of the individual person, but only the objective Spirit, the self-realising Idea which constantly embodies itself in new creations, to which immortality belongs.
 See Theobald Ziegler, “Zur Biographie von David Friedrich Strauss.” (Materials for the Biography of D. F. S.), in the Deutsche Revue, May, June, July 1905. The hitherto unpublished letters to Binder throw some light on the development of Strauss during the formative years before the publication of the Life of Jesus.
Binder, later Director of the Board of Studies at Stuttgart, was the friend who delivered the funeral allocution at the grave of Strauss. This last act of friendship exposed him to enmity and calumny of all kinds. For the text of his short address, see the Deutsche Revue, 1905, p. 107.
 Deutsche Revue, May 1905, p. 199.
 Ibid., p. 201.
 Deutsche Revue, p. 203.
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