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FRIEDRICH DANIEL ERNST SCHLEIERMACHER...

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 330 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRIEDRICH DANIEL ERNST SCHLEIERMACHER (1768-1834), theologian and philosopher, was the son of a Prussian army chaplain of the Reformed confession, and was born on the 21st of November 1768 at Breslau. He was educated in a Moravian school at Niesky in upper Lusatia, and at Barby near Halle. Moravian theology, however, soon ceased to satisfy him, and his doubts rapidly took definite shape. Reluctantly his father gave him permission to leave Barby for the university of Halle, which had already (1787) abandoned pietism and adopted the rationalist spirit of Wolf and Semler (see RATIONAL-1sm). As a student he pursued an independent course of reading and neglected to his permanent loss the study of the Old Testament and the Oriental languages. But he frequented the lectures of Semler and of J. A. Eberhard, acquiring from the former the principles of an independent criticism of the New Testament and from the latter his love of Plato and Aristotle. At the same time he studied with great earnestness the writings of Kant and Jacobi. He acquired thus early his characteristic habit of forming his opinions by the process of patiently examining and weighing the positions of all thinkers and parties. But with the receptivity of a great eclectic he combined the reconstructive power of a profoundly original thinker. While yet a student he began to apply ideas gathered from the Greek philosophers in a reconstruction of Kant's system. At the completion of his three years' course at Halle he was for two years private tutor in the family of Count Dohna-Schlobitten, developing in a cultivated and aristocratic household his deep love of family and social life. In 1796 he became chaplain to the Charite Hospital in Berlin. Having no scope for the development of his powers as a preacher, he sought mental and spiritual satisfaction in the cultivated society of Berlin, and in profound philosophical studies. This was the period in which he was constructing the framework of his philosophical and religious system. It was the period, too, when he made himself widely acquainted with art, literature, science and general culture. He was at that time profoundly affected by German Romanticism, as represented by his friend Friedrich Schlegel. Of this his Confidential Letters on Schlegel's Lucinde (Vertrauten Briefe fiber Schlegel's " Lucinde," 18o1; ed. 1835; by Jonas Frankel, 1907; R. Frank, 1907), as well as his perilous relation to Eleonore Grunow, the wife of a Berlin clergyman, are proof and illustration. Though his ultimate principles were unchanged he gained much from the struggle. It showed him much of the inner truth of human feeling and emotion, and enriched his imagination and life with ideals ancient and modern, which gave elevation, depth and colour to all his thought. Meantime he studied Spinoza and Plato, and was profoundly influenced by both, though he was never a Spinozist; he made Kant more and more his master, though he departed on fundamental points from him, and finally re-modelled his philosophy; with some of Jacobi's positions he was in sympathy, and from Fichte and Schelling he accepted ideas, which in their place in his system, however, received another value and import. The literary fruit of this period of intense fermentation and of rapid development was his "epoch-making " book, Reden uber die Religion (1799; ed. Gottingen, 1906), and his " new year's gift to the new century, the Monologen (1800; ed. 1902). In the first book he vindicated for religion an eternal place amongst the divine mysteries of human nature, distinguished it from all current caricatures of it and allied phenomena, and described the perennial forms of its manifestation and life in men and society, giving thereby the programme of his 'subsequent theological system. In the Monologen he threw out his ethical manifesto, in which he proclaimed his ideas as to the freedom and independence of the spirit, and as to the relation of the mind to the world of sense and imperfect social organizations, and sketched his ideal of the future of the individual and society. From 1802 to r8o4, Schleiermacher was pastor in the little Pomeranian town of Stolpe. These years were full of literary 1825); a second edition (1846) in 15 vols. His Prosatsche Jugendschriften (1794—1802) have been edited by J. Minor (1882, 2nd ed. 1906); there are also reprints of Lucinde, and F. Schleiermacher's Vertraute. Briefe fiber Lucinde, 1800 (19o7). See R. Haym, Die romantische Schule (187o); I. Rouge, F. Schlegel et la genese du romantisme allemand (1904); by the same, Erlauterungen zu F. Schlegels Lucinde (1905); M. Joachimi, Die Weltanschauung der Romantik (19o5); W. Glawe, Die Religion F. Schlegels (1906); E. Kircher, Philosophie der Romantik (1906). On Dorothea Schlegel see J. M. Raich, Dorothea von Schlegel and deren Sohne (1881); F. Diebel, Dorothea Schlegel als Schriftsteller im Zusammenhang mit der romantischen Schule (1905).
End of Article: FRIEDRICH DANIEL ERNST SCHLEIERMACHER (1768-1834)
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