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Georg Friedrich Daumer

Georg Friedrich Daumer

*  1800 Nürnberg
† 1875 Würzburg

Georg Friedrich Daumer was born on March 5, 1800, in Nuremberg. In 1817, Daumer began studying theology in Erlangen, where he joined a pietistic circle of students, to which the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach later belonged. Because his preaching concept was criticized as either too rationalistic or too mystical by his professors, he quit his theological studies and began studying philology in Leipzig; he finished his studies there in 1823. Daumer then began working as a professor at the Gymnasium in Nuremberg and taught the famous foundling Kaspar Hauser from 1828 to 1831. Daumer wrote four essays on the obscure origin and development of Hauser, assuming that this mysterious boy could be the son of Grand Duke Karl of Baden, who was born in 1812. Following several mysterious attacks, Hauser was relocated to Ansbach in 1831. Daumer, who worked as a private scholar in Würzburg until his death on December 13, 1875, began publishing his religious-philosopical writings in 1832. He was mainly influenced by the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and sharply criticized Protestant Christianity and especially Pietism. In contrast to Friedrich Nietzsche to come later, Daumer even criticized the person of Jesus Christ in his main work "Die Geheimnisse des christlichen Alterthums" (The Secrets of Christian Antiquity), which appeared in 1847. In addition to his criticisms of Christianity, he presented his own very Romantic world view, which he called "theistic naturalism" or "theistic materialism." Although he is usually regarded as an opponent of the theologist and philosopher David Friedrich Strauß, Daumer can be seen as his precursor in consideration of Strauß' method of Biblical criticism. Besides his religious-philosophical writings, he is also an important poet and translator of oriental poetry, including "Hafis. Eine Sammlung persischer Gedichte," in which he (quite freely) translated the poetry of Hafez, a Persian poet and mystic from the 14th century. Many of Daumer's poems and translations were set to music by Johannes Brahms, keeping them alive into the present day.