Staudenmaier, Franz Anton

Staudenmaier, Franz Anton, an eminent theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, was born Sept. 11, 1800, at Donzdorf, in Wurtemberg. He was consecrated to the priesthood in 1827, and entered on his vocation as a teacher in the following year, when he became tutor in the theological seminary at Tübingen. In 1828 he was appointed to the chair of theology at Giessen, in consequence of the publication of a work by him on the History of Bishops' Elections (Tüb. 1830), which had already been awarded a prize offered by the Tübingen University in 1825. He developed an uncommonly fruitful activity as a professor while at Giessen, and was no less busy as a writer. In 1834 he founded, in conjunction with several of his colleagues, a journal bearing the name Jahrbucher fur Theologie u. christl. Philosophie. He was transferred in 1837 to the University of Freiburg, and in 1839 aided in founding another theological journal. Honors now began to pour in upon him; he became canon of the cathedral of the archdiocese of Freiburg, a spiritual and then privy councilor to the grand duke of Baden, and obtained a seat in the legislative chambers. He was also made an honorary member of the University of Prague. Severe application had, however, destroyed his health and exhausted the strength of his mind. In 1855 he was obliged to apply for dismissal from his professorship, and on Jan. 19, 1856, he found his death in the canal at Freiburg. Staudenmaier ranks among the most eminent, scholars of his Church, and may in some respects be brought into comparison even with Mohler (q.v.). His culture was universal because he was convinced that theology has relations towards all sciences, being as it were their sun, from which they derive light, life, and beauty (comp. his essay Ueber das Wesen der Universitat [Freib. 1839]). He lived in a world of ideas. Through protracted and zealous study of the old and new philosophies, of the fathers, the schoolmen, etc., he entered more fully into the realm of ideas which he regarded as the originals and the ground forms of all existences. Several unfinished works show how profound were his inquiries in this field (comp. J. Scot. Erigena u. d. Wissenschaft seiner Zeit [Frankf. 1834]: — Die Philosophie d. Christenthums, etc. [Giessen, 1840]: — and Darstellung u. Kritik d. hegel. Systems [Mayence, 1844]). It is evident, however, that Staudenmaier could in no case have solved the problem he had set himself, because he had no apprehension of the relation of the doctrine of the divine ideas to the world of nature. He did not even observe what Erigena has to say upon this subject, and thoroughly misapprehended the principle upon which the system of Jacob Boehme (q.v.) rests. The broad comprehensiveness of his studies of doctrine was already apparent in his Encykl. d. theol. Wissenschaften, etc. (Mayence, 1834): — Pragmatism. d. Geistesgaben, etc. (Tüb. 1835): — and Geist d. gottl. Offenbarung. Upon these works followed his Christl. Dogmatik (1844-48). We have also to mention in this connection the popular works Bildercyklus fur katholische Christen, in nine pamphlets (Carlsruhe, 1843- 44): — and Geist d. Christenthums, dargestellt in d. heil. Zeiten, Handlungen u. Kunst (Mayence, 1834, 2 vols.; 5th ed. 1852). Staudenmaier's miscellaneous writings form an extensive group. They generally discuss questions of the time, and are pervaded by a liberal tone, though the author is utterly unable to appreciate Protestantism or its results.

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