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Pfleiderer, Otto

PFLEIDERER, OTTO (1839-1908), German Protestant theologian, was born at Stetten near Cannstadt in Wiirttemberg on the 1st of September 1839. From 1857 to 1861 he studied at Tubingen under F. C. Baur; and afterwards in England and Scotland. He then entered the ministry, became repetent at Tubingen, and for a short time held a pastorate at Heilbronn (1868). In 1870 he became chief pastor and superintendent at Jena and soon afterwards professor ordinarius of theology, but in 1875 he was called to the chair of systematic theology at Berlin, having made his name by a series of articles on New Testament criticism and Johannine and Pauline theology, which appeared in Adolf Hilgenfeld's Zeitschrift fur wissenschafttiche Theologie, and by his Der Paulinismus, published in 1873 (2nd ed., 1890; Eng. trans., Paulinism: a Contribution to the History of Primitive Christian Theology, 2 vols., 1873, etc.). Das Urchristenlum, seine Schriften und Lehren, in geschichtlichem Zusammenhang beschrieben was published in 1878 and considerably enlarged for a second edition in 1902 (Eng. trans., 1906). In 1890 appeared The Development of Theology since Kant, and its Progress in Great Britain since 1823, which was written for publication in England. A more elaborate work was his Religionsphilosophie auf geschichtlichen Grundlage (1878; 2nd ed., enlarged, 1883-1884; Eng. trans., from 2nd German ed., The Philosophy of Religion on the Basis of its History, 4 vols., 1886- 1888). " The Influence of the Apostle Paul on the Development of Christianity " was the title of a course of Hibbert Lectures given in London in 1885. In 1894 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh, the subject being " The Philosophy and Development of Religion." His later publications included: The Early Christian Conception of Christ (1905), Die Entstehung des Christentums ( 1 905 ; Eng. trans. , 1 906) , Religion und Religionen (1906; Eng. trans., 1907), and Die Entwicklung des Christentums (1907). He died on the 18th of July 1908, at Gross Lichterfelde, near Berlin. In New Testament criticism Pfleiderer belonged to the critical school which grew out of the impulse given by F. C. Baur. But, like other modern German theologians, he showed a greater disposition to compromise. All his work shows a judicial tone of mind, and is remarkable for the charm of its style.

Pfleiderer's younger brother EDMUND (1842-1902) distinguished himself both in philosophy and theology. He too entered the ministry (1864) and during the Franco-German War served as army chaplain, an experience described in his Erlebnisse eines Feldgeistlichen (1890). He was afterwards appointed professor ordinarius of philosophy at Kiel (1873), and in 1878 he was elected to the philosophical chair at Tubingen. He published works on Leibnitz, empiricism and scepticism in Hume's philosophy, modern pessimism, Kantic criticism, English philosophy, Heraclitus of Ephesus and many other subjects.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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