Johann Georg Hamann

1730-1788. German religious thinker. Born in Königsberg, he had an irregular education, became a private tutor, and underwent a religious experience in 1758 during a business trip to London. Returning to Königsberg, he secured a minor customs post and in his spare time began to study as extensively as possible. Soon, despite his eccentric, angular style of writing, he was an acknowledged leader of the literary Sturm und Drang movement. The most evangelical of this school, Hamann rediscovered in Luther's work a spontaneous personal faith, a universal concern, and a vastly widened field of religious experience which rose superior to Protestant scholasticism, pietistic subjectivism, and rationalistic philosophy, and which in a series of notable works, particularly Golgotha und Scheblimini (1784), he strove to commend to his countrymen. As a self- appointed rejuvenator of German Christianity he exercised an important influence on Herder, Schleiermacher, and Kierkegaard.