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Bruno Bauer

1809-1882. German radical scholar. He reacted from his early right-wing Hegelian Christian position to become one of the most negative NT and theological critics of his day. Deprived of his license as a university teacher in 1842 (he had taught at Berlin and Bonn), he retired from the academic theological world, and through engaging in politics became known as the “Hermit of Rixdorf.” His bitterness against “the theologians” influenced his criticism. Against D.F. Strauss's view that the gospels came out of the mythopoeic imagination of the community, Bauer argued that they were creations of individual artists, Mark's gospel being the source. He came to believe that there never was a historical Jesus, and that Christianity originated from Greco-Roman civilization in the second century a.d., when all the NT writings were composed. He thought too that Christianity was “the misfortune of the world” standing in the way of free full humanity. Neglected by theologians of his day, Bauer has received more attention recently; Schweitzer* believed the value of his questions for gospel criticism outweighed the inadequacy of his own answers.

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