Hermes, Georg

Hermes, Georg a distinguished modem Romanist theologian and philosopher. He was born at Dreierwalde, near Muster, April 22, 1775, became gymnasial teacher in 1798, priest in 1799, and professor of theology at Minster in 1807. The bent of his mind was towards philosophy, and his theological studies were all through his life conducted on philosophical methods. His first publication of this class was the Innere Wahrheit des Christenthums (Münst. 1805, 8vo). In 1819 he published his Philosophische Einleitung in die Christ Katholische Theologie, which passed to a second edition in 1831. In 1819 he was appointed professor of theology in the new University of Bonn, where he soon added greatly to his reputation, and his system, before his death, had found its way into most of the Roman Catholic schools of Prussia. He died at Bonn May 26,1831. His followers have since been called Hermesians. The writings of Hermes published in his lifetime have been mentioned above. After his death appeared his Christliche-Katholische Dogmatik (Münst. 1834-5, 3 vols. 8vo). In 1832 the Hermesians established a journal at Cologne as their organ. During the lifetime of Hermes there had been many complaints of the heretical tendencies of his system, which, in fact, demanded philosophy, rather than faith, as the basis of theology. Hermes admitted all the dogmas of the Church, but held that the ground of belief in these dogmas could only be laid in a philosophical proof, first, of a divine revelation; and, secondly, that the Roman Church is the medium of that revelation. At Rome the question was put into Perrone's hands, whose report strongly condemned Hermes and his doctrines. On the 26th of September. 1835, a papal brief was issued against them. The Hermesians, however, maintained that the doctrines censured were not contained in the system of Hermes. In accordance with their request to be allowed to present in Rome a Latin translation of the works of Hermes, and to plead their orthodoxy, in 1837 two of their prominent spokesmen, professor Braun, of Bonn, and professor Elvenich, of Breslau, arrived in Rome, but, finding that they would not get an impartial hearing, soon returned. In consequence of the pressure brought upon the Hermesians by the bishops, most of them now gradually submitted; two professors of the University of Bonn who refused to submit, Braun and Achterfeld, were in 1845 forbidden by the archbishop of Cologne to continue their theological lectures. In 1847, Pius IX again sanctioned the, condemnatory brief of 1835, and Hermesianism gradually died out. A sketch of the controversy from the Hermesian side may be found in Elvenich, Der Hermnesianismus unl sein Rdmischer Gegner Perrone (Breslau, 1844, 8vo). Perrone's refutation of Hermes is given in Migne's Demonstrationes Evangeliques, 2, 945 sq.

See also Stupp, Die letzten Hermnesianer (Cologne, 18445); Hagenbach, History of 18th and 19th Centuries, tr by Hurst, 2, 444; and art. SEE GUNTHER.

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