Schleiermacher, Friedrich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schleiermacher, Friedrich


Born Nov. 21, 1768, in Breslau; died Feb. 12, 1834, in Berlin. German Protestant theologian and philosopher. Member of the Pietistic Herrnhut communal movement.

Schleiermacher studied at the University of Halle. He became a preacher in 1794 and served in Berlin from 1796 to 1802. He was a professor at the University of Halle from 1804 to 1806. Returning to Berlin in 1807, Schleiermacher became a professor at the University of Berlin in 1810, and he was made secretary of the philosophy section of the Academy of Sciences in 1814. In the early 1800’s he was close to the circle of Jena romantics, and in his Confidential Writings About Schlegel’s “Lucinde” (1800) he defended F. von Schlegel’s novel Lucinde for its depiction of feeling based on total inner freedom. In the rhapsodically enthusiastic On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultural Despisers (1799) and Soliloquies (1800), Schleiermacher presented an integrated religious and aesthetic ideology in a spirit of early romanticism; personal inner experience was posited as the basis of religion, which Schleiermacher defined as “contemplation of the universe,” later as a feeling of “absolute dependence” on the eternal. He subsequently published a series of systematic works on philosophy (Dialectics, 1804), ethics, and Protestant dogmatics. Schleiermacher produced a classic translation of Plato into German.

Schleiermacher’s psychologism, his belief in the preeminent role of inner feeling in knowledge and in the inscrutability of the highest source (god) for reason, in which regard he was influenced by Pietism and F. H. Jacobi, were sharply criticized by Hegel. Schleiermacher had a great influence on liberal Protestantism of the 19th century and on the development of philosophical hermeneutics and of the history of philosophy and pedagogy in Germany.


Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1–30. Berlin, 1835–64.
Ästhetik. Edited by R. Odebrecht. Leipzig-Berlin, 1931.
Hermeneutik, 2nd ed. Edited by H. Kimmerle. Heidelberg, 1974.
In Russian translation:
Rechi o religii k obrazovannym liudiam, ee preziraiushchim. Monologi. Moscow, 1911.


Ornatskii, F. Uchenie Shleiermakhera o religii. Kiev, 1884.
Haym, R. Romanticheskaia shkoIa. Moscow, 1891. (Translated from German.)
Dilthey, W. Leben Schleiermachers, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1922.
Odebrecht, R. Schleiermachers System der Ästhetik. Berlin, 1932.
Kantzenbach, F. W. F. D. E. Schleiermacher in Sebstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten. Reinbek, 1967.
Redeker, M. Friedrich Schleiermacher: Leben und Werke. Berlin, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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