Strauss, David Friedrich

Strauss, David Friedrich

Strauss, David Friedrich (däˈvēt frēˈdrĭkh shtrous), 1808–74, German theologian and philosopher. In Berlin he studied (1831–32) Hegelian philosophy. As tutor at Tübingen he lectured on Hegel, modern philosophy, and Plato. His Das Leben Jesu (2 vol., 1835–36) aroused much interest because it applied the “myth theory” to the life of Jesus, treated the Gospel narrative like any other historical work, and denied all supernatural elements in the Gospels. It was translated into English in 1846 by George Eliot. In 1839, Strauss was appointed to a post at the Univ. of Zürich, but public opposition prevented him from taking it. His other theological writings include Die Christliche Glaubenslehre (2 vol., 1840–41) and Der alte und der neue Glaube (1872; tr. The Old Faith and the New, 1873). His writings mark a turning point in the critical study of the life of Jesus. Strauss was also the author of critical biographies of Ulrich von Hutten (3 vol., 1858–60) and Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1862).


See study by H. Harris (1974).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Strauss, David Friedrich


Born Jan. 27, 1808, in Ludwigsburg; died there Feb. 8, 1874. German philosopher, a Young Hegelian.

Strauss studied in Tübingen from 1825 to 1831 and was influenced by F. C. Baur (see alsoTÜBINGEN SCHOOL). In his The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (vols. 1–2, 1835–36; Russian translation, books 1–2, 1907), which began the “process of the decomposition of the Hegelian system” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 15), Strauss rejected the historical reliability of the evangelical legends and examined them as myths created by the spiritual substance of the era. Strauss regarded Jesus Christ as a historical person and separated him from the “eternal” idea of god-man as a foundation of Christian faith. In the second edition of The Life of Jesus (1864) and in The Old Faith and the New (1872; Russian translation, 1906), Strauss followed L. Feuerbach in preaching a pantheistic religion based on the feeling of human dependence on universal law.


Gesammelte Schriften, vols. 1–12. Bonn, 1876–78.
In Russian translation:
“Perepiska mezhdu E. Renanom i D. Shtrausom.” In E. Lavele, Sovremennaia Prussiia v politicheskom i ekonomichesk̂om omosheniiakh. St. Petersburg, 1870.
Ul’rikhfon Gutten. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Chudesa Khrista. St. Petersburg [1907].
Vol’ter. St. Petersburg, 1909.


Zeller, E. D. F. Strauss in seinem Leben und seinen Schriften geschildert. Bonn, 1874.
Hausrath, A. D. F. Strauss und Theologie seiner Zeil, vols. 1–2. Heidelberg, 1876–78.
Ziegler, T. D. F. Strauss, parts 1–2. Strassburg, 1908.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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