The 1839 political revolution in Zurich, Switzerland, provides a view not only of an early, yet still relevant, clash between the natural sciences and populist religion but also of the value of distinguishing between a so-called, empirical history of theology and a Kantian theology of history. Despite all the developments in New Testament criticism since 1835, David Friedrich Strauß’ The Life of Jesus Critically Examined continues to be valuable for insights into the gospel narratives — particularly, the issue of the understanding of miracles in the gospels. Furthermore, Strauß’ shift from a far-Left-Wing Hegelian Speculative Theology to a Kantian Practical Religion indicates the value of the Copernican Turn in theology even for today.
This book-length project includes the translation of two historical accounts (one official, the other partisan), street pamphlets, newspaper articles, official governmental reports, and public letters pro and con as well as an overview of the political, religious, and scientific context, and presentation of the shift in David Friedrich Strauß’ theological understanding between the 1835 The Life of Jesus Critically Examined and 1864 The Life of Jesus Prepared for the German People that allow the identification of a Copernican Turn in his theological understanding. The final chapters are samples of the significance for today of the theology of history for the understanding of humanity, the interface between religion and science, and the general study of religion. The project ends with the “Report on the Activity of the Aid Society for the Good of the Victims of 6 September 1839” that documents the lasting effects of the uprising.
Original German Materials in the Order of Their Appearance (List in Table of Contents):