Strauss, David Friedrich
( 1808-1874 )
   German theologian and historian
   David Friedrich Strauss was born on January 27, 1808, in Ludwigsburg (near Stuttgart), Germany. He attended a seminary (1821-25) at Blaubeuren, where he met Ferdinand Christian Baur, the most important influence on his life. Strauss completed his studies at the University of Tübingen and became a Lutheran pastor at Kleiningersheim.
   In 1832, Strauss became an assistant lecturer in the theological college at Tübingen, but ceased lecturing the next year in order to concentrate on a biographical study of Jesus. His book, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, appeared in the fall of 1835 and immediately turned him into one of the most controversial persons in Germany. The negative response destroyed his academic career. He moved back to Stuttgart as a freelance writer. In the third edition of his book, he made a number of concessions to his critics, but these were removed in the fourth edition.
   Strauss's Life tried to find a third way of understanding biblical miracles, especially the stories that are so integral to the Gospel accounts of Jesus. Strauss rejected what he termed the literal supernatural approach, but also rejected the rationalist approach, which saw the miracle stories as misunderstandings of mundane events, such as Jesus appearing to walk on water but actually walking on rocks just beneath the surface.
   For Strauss, the events described in the miracle stories never really happened. Instead, they are messages about the spiritual significance of Jesus, using imagery from the cultural milieu of the time and place. Thus, one could point to the account of God feeding the children of Israel with manna in the desert (Exodus 16:13-36) to make a claim that Jesus is the bread of life who regularly feeds his people with spiritual food. While Strauss seemed to retain some spiritual value for the text, his approach was unacceptable to traditional believers. It undercut Christianity as a faith in an incarnate Jesus whose actions provide salvation for humanity. At the time, while widely read, Strauss proved too extreme even for liberal Protestants, who, led by Friedrich Schleiermacher, were trying to redefine Christianity as something other than a salvation-oriented religion.
   Strauss's writings were later viewed as an important step in pushing forward the critical study of Gospel texts as other than simple historical accounts. While subsequent biblical scholars continued to disagree on just how historical the Gospels are, after Strauss it was impossible ever again to approach the text with the former naiveté.
   In the early 1840s, Strauss withdrew from the theological arena and wrote on various biographical and historical topics. He tried to make a comeback in 1864 with his Life of Jesus for the German People, somewhat in the vein of popular pious books on the subject. It was attacked by the reviewers as was his next book, The Old Faith and the New (1872). He died in February 1874.
   See also biblical criticism.
   Further reading:
   ■ Edwina G. Lawler, David Friedrich Strauss and His Critics: The Life of Jesus Debate in Early Nineteenth-Century German Journals. American University Studies, series VII, Theology and Religion, vol. 16 (New York: Peter Lang, 1986)
   ■ Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (New York: Macmillan, 1968)
   ■ David F. Strauss, The Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History: A Critique of Schleier-marcher's Life and Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977); , The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1972)
   ■ ----, The Old Faith and the New: A Confession, (London: Asher, 1873).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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  • Strauss, David Friedrich — (1808–74)    Theologian.    Strauss was born in Ludwigsburg, Germany. He was a student of F.C. baur in Blaubeuren and he also studied in Tübingen and Berlin. He is primarily remembered for his Leben Jesu, in which he argued that the supernatural… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Strauss, David Friedrich — ▪ German philosopher born Jan. 27, 1808, Ludwigsburg, Württemberg [Germany] died Feb. 8, 1874, Ludwigsburg       controversial German Protestant philosopher, theologian, and biographer whose use of dialectical philosophy, emphasizing social… …   Universalium

  • STRAUSS, DAVID FRIEDRICH —    German theological and biblical critic, born at Ludwigsburg, in Würtemberg; studied in the Theological Institute of Tübingen under Baur, was ordained in 1830, and went in 1834 to Berlin to attend the lectures of Hegel and Schleiermacher, and… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Strauss, David Friedrich — ► (1808 74) Teólogo y filósofo alemán. Perteneció a la escuela hegeliana. Autor de Vida de Jesús …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Strauss, David Friedrich — (1808–74) German theologian, pupil of F. C. Baur [[➝ Baur, Ferdinand Christian]] in Tübingen. His Life of Jesus, translated into English by the novelist George Eliot, suggested that there was little of historical value in the gospels, which were… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • STRAUSS, David Friedrich — (1808 1874)    radical German theologian and one of the founders of BIBLICAL CRITICISM. His book The Life of Jesus (1835) caused a storm by its denial of the supernatural and his use of MYTH, which he defined as a story contrary to the laws of… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • David Friedrich Strauss — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda David Friedrich Strauss David Friedrich Strauss (Ludwigsburg, 27 de enero de 1808 8 de febrero de 1874). Teólogo y filósofo alemán. Discípulo de Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel y Ferdinand Christian Baur …   Wikipedia Español

  • David Friedrich Strauss — David Strauss Pour les articles homonymes, voir Strauss. David Strauss David Friedrich Strauss, né à Ludwigsburg, près de Stuttgart le 27 janvier 1808 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • David Friedrich Strauß — David Strauss Pour les articles homonymes, voir Strauss. David Strauss David Friedrich Strauss, né à Ludwigsburg, près de Stuttgart le 27 janvier 1808 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • David Friedrich Strauss — David Strauß David Friedrich Strauß (* 27. Januar 1808 in Ludwigsburg; † 8. Februar 1874 ebendort) war ein deutscher Schriftsteller, Philosoph und Theologe. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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