Schulz, David, a German rationalist, was born in Lower Silesia, Nov. 29, 1779, and after protracted preliminary studies was admitted to the University of Halle in 1803, where he devoted himself largely to philological studies and became strongly interested in the lectures of Fr. A. Wolf. In 1806 he received the degree of Ph.D. and the position of docent in the philosophical faculty of his alma mater. Soon afterwards the university was suspended, and Schulz followed a call to Leipsic in 1807; but on the restoration of the University of Halle he returned and taught successful courses on the classical writers, the books of the New Test., and Roman antiquities. The government of Westphalia recognized his services in 1809 by conferring on him the position of extraordinary professor in theology and philosophy; but having obtained, through the influence of Wolf and W. von Humboldt, an Ordinary professorship of theology at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, he left Halle for that place. In 1810 he received the theological doctorate. In 1811 the university was transferred to Breslau, and from that period Schulz concentrated his energies wholly on the science of theology. His lectures extended over the greater portion of its field, and discussed encyclopaedia, New Test. introduction, criticism, and hermeneutics, exegesis of nearly the entire New Test. Church history, introduction to systematic theology, dogmatics, and repeatedly, for students of the entire university, the nature of Christianity. He delivered the academical address in connection with the tercentenary of the Reformation in 1817, and that of June 25, 1830, in commemoration of the submission of the Augsburg Confession. In 1819 he was made consistorial councillor, and soon afterwards director of the commission of examiners in science, as also director of the pedagogical seminary for learned schools. In 1845 he imprudently signed a declaration against the efforts of a small party in the evangelical Church, which yet was powerful by reason of support from without, and in consequence was deprived of the position of royal consistorial councillor, though permitted to retain the title and emoluments of that office. His influence declined after 1848, as did also his physical energies. The loss of sight compelled his withdrawal from academical occupations during the last years of his life, and, after protracted sufferings, he died Feb. 17, 1854.
Schulz's theological attitude was that of ordinary rationalism. He considered his mission to be the unifying of Christianity and humanity by more clearly apprehending and presenting the fundamental truths of the former, etc. He was not a pioneer, but a Conservative rationalist, and contributed greatly to protract the rule of the rationalist tendency. His exegetical writings are not without scientific value, but those of a polemical character are immoderately violent. All of his writings suffer from diffuseness and repetition. A certain force of individuality must be conceded to him, since he was able to attract large numbers of students to his lectures, which were entirely without arrangement, and was able to exercise an almost intolerable dominion over the entire Church of Silesia during a protracted period, so that the Lutheran separation in that province is often charged to his overbearing influence. His passionate nature could not brook opposition, and rendered it difficult for him to submit to the decrease of his party, which was apparent in his later years.
The works of Schulz mostly belong to the departments of exegesis and New Test. text criticism, but are occasionally polemical writings. We mention, Brief an die Hebraer, etc. (Bresl. 1818): — Parabel vom Verwalter, Luc. 16, 1 sq. (ibid. 1821): — Christl. Lehre vom heil. Abendmahl (Leips. 1824; 2d ed., with sketch of doctrine of Lord's supper, ibid. 1831): — Was heisst Glauben, u. wer sind die Unglaubigen? etc., with supplement discussing original sin (ibid. 1830, 1834): — Geistesgaben d. ersten Christen, etc. (Bresl. 1836): — Prog. de Codice 4 Evangel. Biblioth. Rhedigerianoe, etc. (Vratisl. 1814): — Novum Test. Groece, Textum ad Fidem Codd., Verss. et Patrum rec. et Lect. Var. Adjecit J.J. Griesbach, vol. 1, Evangelia complectens; ed. tertiam emend. et auct. cur. D.S. (Berol. 1827): — Disputatio de Codice D.
Cantabrigiensi (Vratisl. 1833): — De Doctorum Academ. Officiis (ibid. 1827): — Theol. Lehrfreiheit auf den evangel. Universitaten u. deren Beschrankung durch symbol. Bucher (Bresl. 1830) (Von Colln being joined with Schulz in the authorship of this work).