ROTHE, RICHARD (1799-1867), Lutheran theologian, was born at Posen on Jan. 28, 1799. He studied theology in the uni versities of Heidelberg and Berlin (1817-2o) under Karl Daub (1765-1836), Schleiermacher and Neander. In the autumn of 1823 he was appointed chaplain to the Prussian embassy in Rome, of which Baron Bunsen was the head. This post he exchanged in 1828 for a professorship in the Wittenberg theological seminary, of which in 1832 he became also second director and ephorus. In 1837 he became professor and director of a new clerical semi nary at Heidelberg; in 1849 he was professor and university preacher at Bonn, but in 1854 he returned to Heidelberg as pro fessor of theology, and afterwards became member of the Ober kirchenrath, a position he held until his death on Aug. 20, 1867. His removal to Heidelberg and the publication of his Die Anfange der christlichen Kirche and ihrer Verfassung (1837), coincide with the attainment of the principal theological positions with which his name is associated.
Rothe's most important work is his Theologische Ethik (3 vols., 1845-1848; znd ed., 5 vols. 1867-71). The Theologische Ethik be gins with a general sketch of the author's system of speculative theology in its two divisions, theology proper and cosmology, cos mology falling into the two subdivisions of Physik (the world of nature) and Ethik (the world of spirit). It is the last subdivision
with which the body of the work is occupied. After an analysis of the religious consciousness, which yields the doctrine of an abso lute personal and spiritual God, Rothe proceeds to deduce from his idea of God the process and history of creative development, which is eternally proceeding and bringing forth, as its unending purpose, worlds of spirits, partially self-creative and sharing the absolute personality of the Creator. The third section of his work —the generally most highly valued ; there full strength as an ethical thinker is displayed, without any mixture of theosophic speculation.
See F. Nippold, Richard Rothe, ein christliches Lebensbild (2 vols., Wittenberg, ; W. Honig, Richard Rothe, rein Charakter, Leben and Denken (1898) ; Adolf Hausrath, Richard Rothe and seine Freunde (1902).