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David Friedrich Strauss and His Critics:

The Life of Jesus Debate in Early Nineteenth-Century German Journals


Edwina Lawler

Can the Bible be called myth? In his work Das Leben Jesu (1835) David Friedrich Strauss answered this question affirmatively. The present study reviews the work on myth by German scholars before Strauss and places his work within the context of the debate. It approaches Strauss through the criticism leveled against his work in early 19th-century German journals. It identifies and examines the presuppositions of the idealistic critics and their effect on the arguments used against Strauss. While neither Strauss nor his critics freed themselves completely from idealism, Strauss's approach offered a possibility for interpreting the Bible in its historical and religious milieu.
Contents: Strauss's Das Leben Jesu is put into the context of the myth debate - Strauss's presuppositions and those of his idealistic critics are examined to determine the effect on their respective conclusions.