Arthur Drews

Arthur Drews

Arthur Drews [pronounced "drefs"] (November 1, 1865-July 19, 1935) was a German philosopher, writer and important representative of German Monist thought. He was born in Uetersen, Holstein, present day Germany.

Drews became professor of philosophy and German at the University of Karlsruhe. During his career he wrote widely on a variety of subjects, often provoking controversy, in part because of his unorthodox ideas on religion, and in part because of his repeated attacks on the philosophy of Nietzsche. Though never an open supporter of the Nazis, some of Drews' essays suggest a sympathy for some of their ideas, though he rejected Antisemitism. He implied sympathy for the German Faith Movement in his book "Deutsche Religion" (1934). [ [ Arthur Drews (1865 – 1935) Professor der Philosophie an der Technischen Hochschule Karlsruhe, Vortrag von Dr. Bernhard Hoffers, Lehrte, im Geschichtssalon Karlsruhe, 24. April 2003] ]

Christ Myth

Along with Bruno Bauer and Albert Kalthoff, Arthur Drews is the best known representative of the Jesus-Myth school of thought, which disputes the existence of a historical Jesus. His work "The Christ Myth" expounded this theory, arguing that the figure of "Christ" arose from mystical and apocalyptic ideas of the period. The book caused considerable controversy, drawing Drews into many public debates which often became emotionally charged. Even Albert Schweitzer dedicated a whole chapter to Drews's thesis in his "Life of Jesus" (1913). Today "The Christ Myth" is largely unknown in Drews's native Germany, but remains important in English speaking countries, in which translations are still available.

On Nietzsche and Nazism

Drews also offered a critique of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche in his article "Nietzsche als Philosoph des Nationalsozialismus?" ("Nietzsche as philosopher of Nazism?") in the journal "Nordische Stimmen 4" (1934: 172-79). There Drews describes Nietzsche as an "enemy of everything German", an out an out individualist whose philosophy was completely antithetical to the National Socialist principle that the common good comes before personal advantage.

Drews laments that "most people today who make statements about Nietzsche are only picking the 'raisins' out of the cake of his 'philosophy' and, given his aphoristic way of writing, have no clear idea at all about the context of his thoughts." The 20th-century Nietzschean scholar Walter Kaufman offers much the same assessment (albeit in a sense much more sympathetic to Nietzsche) of the incompatibility between National Socialism and Nietzsche's thought in "Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, AntiChrist."

Drews died on 19 July, 1935 in Illenau bei Bühl, Baden at the age of 70.

Literary works

* "Die deutsche Spekulation seit Kant", 2 vols., 1893
* "Die Petruslegende", 1910
* "Das Markusevangelium", 1921
* "Einfuehrung in die Philosophie", 1922
* "Psychologie des Unbewussten", 1924
* "Deutsche Religion", 1934


External links

* Klaus Schilling's summary in English of Arthur Drews' article [ "The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus in Past and Present"] , Karlsruhe, 1926
* Klaus Schilling's summary in English of Bernhard Hoffers' [ April 2003 Lecture about Arthur Drews]
* Wolfgang Mueller-Lauter's reference to the critique of Nietzsche by Drews in his [,M1 "Nietzsche, Godfather of fascism? on the uses and abuses of a philosophy" (Google Books)]

* [ Arthur Drews, „Die Petruslegende“ (complete german text)] ::

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