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JAKOB FROHSCHAMMER (1821-1893)

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 242 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAKOB FROHSCHAMMER (1821-1893), German theologian and philosopher, was born at Iilkofen, near Regensburg, on the 6th of January 1821. Destined by his parents for the Roman Catholic priesthood, he studied theology at Munich, but felt an ever-growing attraction to philosophy. Nevertheless, after much hesitation, he took what he himself calls the most mistaken step of his life, and in 1847 entered the priesthood. His keenly logical intellect, and his impatience of authority where it clashed with his own convictions, quite unfitted him for that unquestioning obedience which the Church demanded. It was only after open defiance of the bishop of Regensburg that he obtained permission to continue his studies at Munich. He at first devoted himself more especially to the study of the history of dogma, and in 185o published his Beitrage zur Kirchengeschichte, which was placed on the Index Expurgatorius. But he felt that his real vocation was philosophy, and after holding for a short time an extraordinary professorship of theology, he became professor of philosophy in 1855. This appointment he owed chiefly to his work, Uber den Ursprung der menschlichen Seelen (1854), in which he maintained that the human soul was not implanted by a special creative act in each case, but was the result of a secondary creative act on the part of the parents: that soul as well as body, therefore, was subject to the laws of heredity. This was supplemented in 1855 by the controversial Menschenseele and Physiologic. Undeterred by the offence which these works gave to' his ecclesiastical superiors, he published in 1858 the Einleitung in die Philosophic and Grundriss der Metaphysik, in which he assailed the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas, that philosophy was the handmaid of theology. In 1861 appeared Uber die Aufgabe der Naturphilosophie and ihr Verhaltnis zur Naturwissenschaft, which was, he declared, directed against the purely mechanical conception of the universe, and affirmed the necessity of a creative Power. In the same year he published Uber die Freiheit der Wissenschaft, in which he maintained the independence of science, whose goal was truth, against authority, and reproached the excessive respect for the latter in the Roman Church with the insignificant part played by the German Catholics in literature and philosophy. He was denounced by the pope himself in an apostolic brief of the 1th of December 1862, and students of theology were forbidden to attend his lectures. FROISSART seigneurie of Beaumont fell into the hands of Jean, younger soh of the count of Hainaut. With this Jean, sire de Beaumont, lived a certain canon of Liege called Jean le Bel, who fortunately was not content simply to enjoy life. Instigated by his seigneur he set himself to write contemporary history, to tell " la pure veriteit de tout li fait entierement al manire de chroniques." With this view, be compiled two books of chronicles. And the chronicles of Jean le Bel were not the only literary monuments belonging to the castle of Beaumont. A hundred years before him Baldwin d'Avernes, the then seigneur, had caused to be written a book of chronicles or rather genealogies. It must therefore be remembered that when Froissart undertook his own chronicles he was not conceiving a new idea, but only following along familiar lines. Some 20 M. from Beaumont stood the prosperous city of Valenciennes, possessed in the 14th century of important privileges and a flourishing trade, second only to places like Bruges or Ghent in influence, population and wealth. Beaumont, once her rival, now regarded Valenciennes as a place where the ambitious might seek for wealth or advancement, and among those who migrated thither was the father of Foissart. He appears from a single passage in his son's verses to have been a painter of armorial bearings. There was, it may be noted, already what may be called a school of painters at Valenciennes. Among them were Jean and Colin de Valenciennes and Andre Beau-Neveu, of whom Froissart says that he had not his equal in any country. The date generally adopted for his birth is 1338. In after years Froissart pleased himself by recalling in verse the scenes and pursuits of his childhood. These are presented in vague generalities. There is nothing to show that he was unlike any other boys, and, unfortunately, it did not occur to him that a photograph of a schoolboy's life amid bourgeois surroundings would be to posterity quite as interesting as that faithful portraiture of courts and knights which he has drawn up in his Chronicle. As it is, we learn that he loved games of dexterity and skill rather than the sedentary amusements of chess and draughts, that he was beaten when he did not know his lessons, that with his companions he played at tournaments, and that he was always conscious—a statement which must be accepted with suspicion—that 'he was born " Loer Dieu et servir le monde." In any case he was born in a place, as well as at a time, singularly adapted to fill the brain of an imaginative boy. Valenciennes was then a city extremely rich in romantic associations. Not far from its walls was the western fringe of the great forest of Ardennes, sacred to the memory of Pepin, Charlemagne, Roland and Ogier. Along the banks of the Scheldt stood, one after the other, not then in ruins, but bright with banners, the gleam of armour, and the liveries of the men at arms, castles whose seigneurs, now forgotten, were famous in their day for many a gallant feat of arms. The castle of Valenciennes itself was illustrious in the romance of Perceforest. There was born that most glorious and most luckless hero, Baldwin, first emperor of Constantinople: All the splendour of medieval life was to be seen in Froissart's native city: on the walls of the Salle le Comte glittered—perhaps painted by his father—the arms and scutcheons beneath the banners and helmets of Luxembourg, Hainaut and Avesnes; the streets were crowded with knights and soldiers, priests, artisans and merchants; the churches were rich with stained glass, delicate tracery and precious carving; there were libraries full of richly illuminated manuscripts on which the boy could gaze with delight; every year there was the fete of the puy d' Amour de Valenciennes, at which he would hear the verses of the competing poets; there were festivals, masques, mummeries and moralities. And, whatever there might be elsewhere, in this happy city there was only the pomp, and not the misery, of war; the fields without were tilled, and the harvests reaped, in security; the workman within plied his craft unmolested for good wage. But the eyes of the boy were turned upon the castle and not upon the town; it was the splendour of the knights which dazzled him, insomuch that he Public opinion was now keenly excited; he received an ovation from the Munich students, and the king, to whom he owed his appointment, supported him warmly. A conference of Catholic savants, held in 1863 under the presidency of Dellinger, decided that authority must be supreme in the Church. When, however, Dellinger and his school in their turn started the Old Catholic movement, Frohschammer refused to associate himself with their cause, holding that they did not go far enough, and that their declaration of 1863 had cut the ground from under their feet. Meanwhile he had, in 1862, founded the Athendum as the organ of Liberal Catholicism. For this he wrote the first adequate account in German of the Darwinian theory of natural selection, which drew a warm letter of appreciation from Darwin himself. Excommunicated in 1871, he replied with three articles, which were reproduced in thousands as pamphlets in the chief European languages: Der Fels Petri in Rom (1873), Der Primal Petri and des Papstes (1875), and Das Christenthum Christi and das Christenthum des Papstes (1876). In Das neue Wissen and der neue Glaube (1873) he showed himself as vigorous an opponent of the materialism of Strauss as of the doctrine of papal infallibility. His later years were occupied with a series of philosophical works, of which the most important were: Die Phantasie als Grundprincip des Weltprocesses (1877), Ober die Genesis der Menschheit and deren geistige Entwicklung in Religion, Sittlichkeit and Sprache (1883), and Ober die Organisation and Cultur der menschlichen Gesellschaft (1885). His system is based on the unifying principle of imagination (Phantasie), which he extends to the objective creative force of Nature, as well as to the subjective mental phenomena to which the term is usually confined. He died at Bad Kreuth in the Bavarian Highlands on the 14th of June 1893. In addition to other treatises on theological subjects, Frohschammer was also the author of Monaden and Weltphantasie and Ober die Bedeutung der Einbildungskraft in der Philosophie Kants and Spinozas (1879) ; Ober die Principien der Aristotelischen Philosophie and die Bedeutung der Phantasie in derselben (1881); Die Philosophie als Idealwissenschaft and System (1884) ; .Die Philosophie des Thomas von Aquino kritisch gewfirdigt (1889); Uber das Mysterium Magnum des Daseins (1891) ; System der Philosophie im Umriss, pt. i. (1892). His autobiography was published in A. Hinrichsen's Deutsche Denker (1888). See also F. Kirchner, Ober das Grundprincip des Welt-processes (1882), with special reference to F.; E. Reich, Weltanschauung and Menschenleben; Betrachtungen fiber die Philosophie J. Frohschammers (1894); B. Miinz, J. Frohschammer, der Philosoph der Weltphantasie (1894) and Briefe von and fiber J. Frohschammer (1897); J. Friedrich, Jakob Frohschammer (1896) and Systematische and krilische Darstellung der Psychologie J. Frohschammers (1899) A. Attensperger, J. Frohschammers philosophisches System im Grundriss (1899).
End of Article: JAKOB FROHSCHAMMER (1821-1893)
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