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Paul Carus

(1852—1919)


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Paul Carus was born on 18 July 1852 in Ilsenburg, Germany. He was the son of Gustav and Laura Krueger Carus. Gustav rose to high office in the Lutheran Church in East Prussia, and Paul originally intended to follow him into the clergy. However, ‘the more I studied the more that sinful tendency to doubt grew.’ Instead, he obtained a PhD in classical philology at Tübingen in 1876 and a teaching position at the military academy of the Royal Corps of Cadets of Saxony in Dresden. In 1880 he published a pamphlet in which he denied the literal truth of the Bible and described it as a literary work comparable to the Odyssey. His employer considered these views ‘not in harmony with the Christian spirit’ and required him to recant or quit. He quit, and emigrated to England in 1881, and then to the United States in 1884. Carus soon came into contact with Edward C. Hegeler, a successful zinc manufacturer in La Salle, Illinois, who had turned to philosophy. Hegeler espoused what he called ‘the religion of science’ in hopes of resolving the nineteenth-century religious dilemma. His world view was conservative in style, retaining such terms as ‘God’ and ‘immortality’ but attaching non-traditional meanings to them.

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From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.



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