Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher


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German absolute idealist and theologian. Schleiermacher was born in Breslau, and educated at the university of Halle. He worked mainly in Berlin, and his philosophy represents many of the early themes of absolute idealism. In theology he is notable for associating religion not with the attempt to achieve knowledge of the transcendental, which, following Kant, he regarded as impossible, but with emotions such as the pious feeling of absolute dependency. His early work Über die Religion. Reden an die Gebildeten unter ihren Verächtern (1799, trs. as On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers, 1894) was an instant success in the repressive climate of the Prussia of his time (see also Kant). It was followed by other monumental contributions to theology, although his translations of Plato's Dialogues into German also became a landmark of 19th-century scholarship. Schleiermacher is generally credited with being the first German philosopher to reflect seriously on questions of hermeneutics, and influenced successors in this tradition such as Weber and Dilthey.

Subjects: Religion.

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