Paulus, Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob
Paulus, Heinrich Eberhard Gottlob a German theologian of great note in his day, and one of the leaders of the Rationalists at the close of the last and the first quarter of the present century, was born at Leonberg, near Stuttgard, Sept. 1, 1761. He at first intended devoting himself to the study of medicine, but becoming interested in the Pietistic movement, he soon turned all his attention to the study of theology, and proceeded to Tubingen, to devote himself to studies preparatory to entering the ministry. He also spent some time traveling in Franconia and Saxony. Next he gave himself to the study of Oriental languages at Gottingen, and afterwards went to London and Paris to continue his researches. In 1789 he was called to the professorship of Oriental languages at Jena, and in 1793, on the death of Doderlein, became professor of theology. Here he especially signalized himself by the critical elucidation of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in so far as they present Oriental characteristics. The results of his labors may be seen in his Philologisch-kritischer und historischer Commentar uber das Neue Testament (Lubeck, 1800-1804, 4 vols.): — Clavis uber die Psalnen (Jena, 1791): — Clavis uber den Jesaias, and other writings belonging to this period of his literary activity. In 1803 he removed to Wurzburg; in 1808, to Bamberg; in 1809, to Nuremberg; and in 1811 to Ansbach. During these various changes he had ceased to be a professor, and became a director of ecclesiastical and educational affairs; but in 1811 he accepted the professorship of exegesis and ecclesiastical history at Heidelberg, and was thus once more given the opportunities of academical life. In 1819 he started a kind of historico-political journal entitled Sophronizon, in which he continued to write for about ten years. His contributions were marked by weighty sense, moderation, and knowledge of his various subjects, and won him great renown at the time. His essays upon passing important subjects, such as proselytizing, the influence of the popish government on the national Roman Catholic Church of Germany, and others, gained great applause. As a theological writer he was anxious to warn his readers equally against a one-sided nationality and a speculative deviation from the original doctrines of Christianity, as from mysticism and Jesuitism. With these ideas he began in 1825 a theological year-book, called Der Denkylaubige, published from 1825 to 1829, and another journal called Kirchenbeleuchtungen, published in 1827. From his numerous writings we select for mention the following: Memorabilien (Leips. 1791-1796): — Sammlung der merkwiirdigsten Reisen in den Orient (Jena, 1792-1803, 7
vols.): — Leben Jesu, als Grundlage einer reinen Geschichte des Urchristenthuns (Heidelb. 1828, 2 vols.): — Aufklrende Beitrege zur Doymnen Kitchen und Religions geschichte (Bremen, 1830): — and Exegetisches handbuch uber die drei ersten Evangelien (Heidelb. 1830- 1833, 3 vols.). His services to Oriental literature are numerous and important. While at Jena he edited the "Repertory of Biblical and Oriental Literature," the Arabic version of Isaiah by Saadias, and Abdollatif's "Compendium Memorabil. Egypti," etc. As a theologian, he is generally looked upon as the type of pure, unmitigated rationalism — a man who sat down to examine the Bible with the profound conviction that everything in it represented as supernatural was only natural or fabulous, and that true criticism consisted in endeavoring to prove this. Perhaps none of the German Rationalists have done more to spread the infection of neological opinions and modes of thinking than Paulus. Under the imposing pretense of superior deference to the reasoning power in man, he, with others, had great success in weakening the hold of salutary divine truth on the educated mind of Germany, and bred great skepticism, not only as to the doctrines, but the authority of revelation. Paulus died Aug. 10, 1851, having lived long enough to see his own rationalistic theory of Scripture give place to the "mythical" theory of Strauss, and that in its turn to be shaken to its foundations partly by the efforts of the Tubingen school, and partly by those of Neander and the "Broad Church" divines of Germany. See his Skizzen aus meiner Bildungs- und Lebensgeschichte zum A ndenken an meinninfzigjahrige Jubilaum (Heidelb. 1839); Meldegg, Paulus u.s.Zeit (Stuttg. 1853, 2 vols. 8vo); Kahnis, Hist. of German Protestantism, p. 171; Hurst, Hist. of Rationalism, p. 36; Hurst's Hagenbach, Church Hist. of the 18th and 19th Centuries; Ebrard, Kitchenu. Dogmengesch. vol. iv.