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Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

1749-1832. German poet, novelist, and scientist. As a student of law at Leipzig and Strasbourg he became interested in occult philosophy and mysticism. In 1775 he was appointed to the court at Weimar and had at this time an increasing interest in scientific questions. In 1794 he became friendly with Schiller, which friendship lasted until Schiller's death in 1804. Goethe died in Weimar and was buried beside his friend. To summarize his career and work briefly is impossible. The central philosophical influences on him were Spinoza, Jacobi, and Kant. He was attracted by Spinoza's pantheism and his ethics; like Kant, he held that God is unknowable. Man, a part of nature, has a natural impulse to develop and fulfil ideals inherent in himself. Goethe's religious views were ambiguous, for he was a pantheist when studying nature, a polytheist when poetizing, and a monotheist in morality.