Christian Hermann Weisse

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Christian Hermann Weisse (August 10, 1801September 19 1866), was a German Protestant religious philosopher.

He was born at Leipzig, and studied at the university there, at first adhering to the Hegelian school of philosophy. In course of time, his ideas changed, and became close to those of Friedrich von Schelling in his later years. He developed (along with IHV Fichte) a new speculative theism, and became an opponent of Hegel's pantheistic idealism. In his addresses on the future of the Protestant Church (Reden über die Zukunft der evangelischen Kirche, 1849), he finds the essence of Christianity in Jesus' conceptions of the heavenly Father, the Son of Man and the kingdom of Heaven. In his work on philosophical dogmatics (Philosophische Dogmatik oder Philosophie des Christentums, 3 vols. 1855-1862) he seeks, by idealizing all the Christian dogmas, to reduce them to natural postulates of reason or conscience.

Weisse was the first theologian to propose the two-source hypothesis (1838), which is still held by a majority of biblical scholars today. In the two-source hypothesis, the Gospel of Mark was the first gospel to be written and was one of two sources to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, the other source being the Q document, a lost collection of Jesus's sayings.

His other works include:

  • Die Idee der Gottheit (1833)
  • Die philosophische Geheimlehre von der Unsterblichkeit des inenschlichen Individuums (1834)
  • Bitchlein von der Auferstehung (1836)
  • Die evangelische Geschichte, kritisch und philosophisch bearbeitet (2 vols., 1838)
  • Die Evangelienfrage in ihrem gegenwärtigen Stadium (1856)
  • Psychologie und Unsterblichkeitslehre (edited by R Seydel, 1869).

See Otto Pfleiderer, Development of Theology (1890); and cf. R Seydel, Christ. Herm. Weisse (1866), and Religion und Wissenschaft (1887).


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