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Karl Heim

1874-1959. Lutheran theologian. Native of Württemberg and of Pietistic background, he studied at Tübingen, was for some years pastor and schoolmaster, taught at Halle (from 1907), at Münster (1914), and returned in 1920 to Tübingen as professor of theology. While fully appreciating the achievements of recent scientific civilization, he was anxious to restate faith in a transcendent God in a manner intelligible to modern minds. In his early writings he stressed the Ritschlian contrast between faith and reason, but later under the influence of existentialist thinkers, and especially of Martin Buber,* he developed his notion of spaces: impersonal relations of an I-It character and personal ones of the I-Thou sort can only subsist within an archetypal or suprapolar space where the very presence of God is to be found. Recognized as one of Germany's leading postwar theologians, he defended his theological system against both scientific secularists and Nazi perversions of the Christian faith. His monumental work is Der evangelische Glaube und das Denken der Gegenwart, two sections of which were translated into English as God Transcendent (1935) and Christian Faith and Natural Science (1953).