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Stahl, Friedrich Julius

STAHL, FRIEDRICH JULIUS (1802-1861), German ecclesiastical lawyer and politician, was born at Munich on the 16th of January 1802, of Jewish parentage. Although brought up strictly in the Jewish religion, he was allowed to attend the gymnasium, and, as a result of its influence, was at the age of nineteen baptized into the Lutheran Church. To this faith he clung with earnest devotion and persistence until his death. Having studied law at Wiirzburg, Heidelberg and Erlangen, Stahl, on taking the degree of doctor juris, established himself as privatdozent in Munich, was appointed (1832) ordinary professor of law at Wiirzburg, and in 1840 received the chair of ecclesiastical law and polity at Berlin. Here he immediately made his mark as an ecclesiastical lawyer, and was appointed a member of the first chamber of the synod. Elected in 1850 a member of the short-lived Erfurt parliament, he bitterly opposed the idea of German federation. Stahl early fell under the influence of Schelling, and at the latter's insistence, began in 1827 his great work: Die Philosophic des Rechts nach geschichtticher Ansicht (an historical view of the philosophy of law), in which he bases all law and political science upon Christian revelation, denies rationalistic doctrines, and, as a deduction from this principle, maintains that a state church must be strictly confessional. This position he further elucidated in his Der christliche Staal und sein Verhallniss zum Deismus und Judenthum (The Christian State and its relation to Deism and Judaism; 1874). As Oberkirchenrath (synodal councillor) Stahl used all his influence to weaken the Evangelical Union (i.e. that compromise between the Calvinist and Lutheran doctrines which is the essence of the Prussian Evangelical ^Church) and to strengthen the influence of the Lutheran Church (cf. Die Lutherische Kir die und die Union, 1859). The Prussian minister von Bunsen attacked, while King Frederick William IV. supported, Stahl in his ecclesiastical policy, and the Prussian Evangelical Church would probably have been dissolved had not the regency of Prince William (afterwards the emperor William I.) supervened in 1858. Stahl's influence fell under the new regime, and, resigning his seat on the synod, he retired into private life and died at Briickenau on the loth of August 1 86 1.

See " Biographie von Stahl," in Unsere Zeit, vi. 419-447 ( anonymous, but probably by Gneist) ; Pernice, Savigny, Stahl (anonymous ; Berlin, 1862).

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

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