« ZurückWeiter »
disquisitions put forth by the more eminent of our living theologians and divines—viz. De Wette, Gesenius, Winer, Ammon, Bretsohneider, Van Ess, Eichhorn, Lucre, Ewaijj, Hagenrach, Umrreit, Twesten, GfroRer—is, upon the whole, decidedly favourable to a liberality of thought and feeling. Two justly celebrated polemics, viz. Schleiermacher and Marheineke, more especially form connecting links between the two contrasted parties of the critical orthodox and the critical heterodox theologians.
Of this ultra liberal section of biblical writers, Dr. David Friedrich Strauss, with his " Leben Jesu," stands forth as the Coryphaeus. Bruno Bauer and Feuerrach are his fellow-labourers in the same latitudinarian school.
We should not feel that we had adequately discharged our task, were we to omit to notice in this place certain distinguished writers of the Jewish persuasion, who at this juncture have acquired no inconsiderable share of the notice of the learned world. We can do little more than name the acute inquirer Zunz, and his fellow-labourers of somewhat less eminence, Furst and Jost, Mannheimer, Salomon, Biesser, &c. Yet even the spirit of Judaism, in consonance with the genius and tendency of much of the divinity of other denominations, partakes of the tendency to the ultra liberality of idea, that would seem to be the distinguishing feature of the present age. This dawning spirit and temperament in matters religious is strenuously defended by the learned Dr. Geiger.
Historical investigation and research have also broken new ground. An enlarged contemplation of the annals of pristine ages has become a favoured study. Never before has Germany evinced such varied talents for history, and never before has she displayed them in so striking a . degree.
The reigning literature includes, in its historiography, many names of the first eminence in point of talent.
242 THE PRESENT AGE.
Schlosser, Ranks, Luden, K. A. Menzel, Leo, RauMer, Dahlmann, Rehm, Rotteck, &c. and many others, are stars of the first magnitude. The present age may, therefore, with reason be styled historico-critical in its literary tendencies.
It is a common remark, that the Germans are no politicians,—that they take no interest in matters of government. This, to a certain extent, is only the misrepresentation of a fact. The Germans are decided politicians; but, alas! not of their own country;—they are universal politicians. The state interests are sedulously kept from them, as if indeed " deutsche Biederkeit" were no longer trustworthy. The movements of their statesmen are matters of mystery,—a fact that is either a poor or a great compliment to the intellect of the nation. The public press is heavily fettered; and by this means, among others, are they prevented from talking over or inquiring into the condition of public affairs. The one thing wanting to circulate an unbroken vein of patriotism through the entire German community, to complete the prosperity of its literature, and render that prosperity permanent, is the deliverance of the press from the disabilities that have hitherto weighed upon it, and its exalture into a state of perfect and unconditional freedom. This done, and Germany, admitted by all Europe to have long outgrown her pupillage, will attain a pinnacle of civilization and enlightenment as yet unknown.
Savigny, Stahl, Gans, Hullmann, Welcker, SchuRert, are political philosophers and elaborate jurists, who have established their fame in the walk of jurisprudence.
In Natural Philosophy the most eminent writers are: Alex. v. Humboldt, L. v. Buch, L. Oken, Link, H. G. Bronn, W. E. Erichson, Nees von Esenbeck, G. H. von Schubert, H. Steffens, K. F. Gauss, Littrow, Encke, Bessel, Madler. In Geography: K. Ritter, Berghaus, Stein, Streit, &c. Distinguished in Chemistry: Liebig, Poggendorff, Rose, Erdmann, Gmelin, Wohler, Wackenroder, Gehler, Geiger, E. Mitscherlich. In Medicine: Burdach, Miiller, Wagner, Ehrenberg, Hecker, Carns, Blasius, Froriep, Dieffenbach, &c. &c.
In polite learning, Germany may safely boast of a goodly number of works that need fear no comparison, if placed in juxta-position with kindred compositions of an earlier date. There are German poets now living who may even compete with the most distinguished of their predecessors; and some of them no doubt are destined to win a place in the classical temple of their country's literature. The form chiefly taken by the German poetry of the present day is the lyrical,—a style that has been, at all times, eminently characteristic of Germany. It may now boast a considerable number of lyric bards, of whom, while some have greatly distinguished themselves, others have begun and terminated their labours in a state of only partial perfection.
If we glance at the achievements in Fine Arts, names no less celebrated than Winckelmann, C. H. Heyne, Goethe, start up in our path, whom we must regard as the "Ecksteine" of criticism on the arts. Archaeology has been prosecuted with great zeal of investigation and constancy by well and scientifically instructed men, such as Karl Ottfried Miiller, in his " Handbuch der Archaologie der Kunst"; and Fr. Thiersch, in his profoundly critical elaboration, "Ueber die Epochen der bildenden Kunst unter den Griechen." Ed. Gerhard, Prof. Welcker of Bonn, C. A. Bottiger, Th. Panofka, O. von Stakelberg, Chevalier Bunsen, and E. Planner, are also distinguished in this branch of writing; whilst we must furthermore point to Lessing, Eckhel, Creuzer, Kannegiesser, Zahn, and J. J. Eschenburg.
In the literary history and development of Architecture, we must acknowledge A. L. Hirt, C. L. Stieglitz, R. F. v. Rumohr, J. Popp, Th. Biilau, L. Puttrich, Minutoli, &c. to be men of great genius; and in critical disquisitions on
244 IHE PRESENT AGE.
Sculpture, Lessing and Schorn have greatly distinguished themselves. Painting has been explored with a considerable share of persevering diligence by Schorn, v. Rumour, F. J. Riepenhausen, Fernow, J. D. Passavant, Fiorillo, Franz Kugler (" Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte"), G. F. Waagen (" Kunstwerke und Kiinstler in England und Paris"), Graf A. v. Ratzynski (" Geschichte der neuern deutschen Kunst," a highly praiseworthy production). The best Lexica on Art have been furnished by Fiissli, G. K. Nagler (" Kiinstlerlexicon"), J. C. Stellwag (" Monogrammenlexicon"), and D. Heller. For the history and criticism of Engraving, praise is due to A. Bartsch (" Le Peintre Graveur") J. G. von Quandt (" Gesch. d. Kupferstechkunst"), J. Heller, and Henrici ("Die Kupferstechk.") Inquiries into Xylography have been made by the correct J. D. F. Sotzmann ("JElteste Gesch. d. Xylographie"), Breitkopf, J. Heller (" Gesch. d. Holzschneidekunst"), G. K. Nagler (" Albrecht Diirer u. seine Kunst"), &c. &c. Before proceeding further, however, with our present section, a short digression must be permitted us, in order to mark, by a special notice, the rise of that one illustrious author who, by his own profuse genius, struck out a new and wonderful path in the human mind. We mean—
GEORG WILHELM FRD3DRICH HEGEL,* This celebrated man was born on the 27th of August 1770, in the city of Stuttgart; but from and after the year 1818, he became professor of philosophy at the university of Berlin, where he continued for thirteen years, having during this time had ample opportunities for arranging his philosophy
* Dr. Gabler, "Die Hegelsche Philosophie," 1st vol. K. Roscnkranz, "Kritische Erlauterungen des Hegelschen Systems," 1840.
into a complete system. But in the year 1831 he was
seized with an attack of cholera, and died on the 14th of
November, the same day on which Leibnitz also breathed
his last . Hegel is buried in a churchyard close to the
"Oranienburger Thor," near the philosopher Solger, and
within a short distance also of Fichte.
The most esteemed of his disciples, viz.: K. L. Mi
Chelet, P. Marheineke, H. Hoiho, Ed. Gans, Fr.
Schulze, Fr. Forster, and L. Boumann, undertook the
editorship and publication of his collective works.
We can scarcely, indeed, open the topic of " The Present Age," without feeling ourselves imperatively called upon to set Hegel at its head, — the man whose philosophy has mainly influenced the generation now upon the stage.
Lingering for a moment, to bestow a cursory glance upon the shape which philosophy—or man's mental history—las assumed in its representatives in by-gone times, we are impressed with the belief, that Hegel's system could scarcely adopt any other form than the one it has taken, which is only an historical sequel of anterior schemes. To revert: Spinoza (1632-1677), by his profound conceptions, unfolded to us a " Theosophy," or a knowledge of God. The transition-path from the ancient to the modern school, was first successfully explored in the latter half of the last century. On the one hand arises modern materialism, on the other modern idealism. G. F. Leirnitz (1746-1716) started from the school of Des Cartes, assuming individualism as the principle of his system, while, eventually, he happily coalesced the idealistic and realistic doctrines; on which account, his theory is designated "der Harmonismus." The basis of the philosophical creed of Leibnitz was a pure idealism;—his "Monadenlehre" (/lovac), which has asserted such a wide-spread influence. After Leibnitz, we encounter Ch. Von Wolf, who came forward with his mathematically-constructed system, which obtained no little consideration and currency, simply because it was written