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Wilhelm Martin Leberecht De Wette

berlin, testament, professor and basel

DE WETTE, WILHELM MARTIN LEBERECHT, one of the ablest theologians of modern Germany, was b. 14th Jan., 1780, at Ulla, near Weimar, and studied at the university of Jena. In 1807, he was appointed extraordinary professor of philosophy at Heidel berg; in 1809, professor of theology; and in 1810, was called to Berlin. By his popular ity as a teacher, as also by his writings, De W. soon acquired a great reputation. In 1819, on account of a letter which he wrote addressed to the mother of the assassin of Kotzebue, he was deprived of his chair. Not long after, however, he was appointed professor of theology in the university of Basel, where his prelections and sermons in a short time secured him universal esteem and applause. In 1829, the grand council of Basel made him a member of the council of education, and granted him the freedom of the city. In 1849, he was elected rector of the university, but died the same year, on the 16th of June.

De W. was a man of comprehensive learning, and acute philosophic discernment. His antipathy to the shackles of dogmatic theology gave keenness and vigor to his criticism. let he formed no school, and followed no master, so that it is difficult to describe his position. He cannot be classed either with Paulus, Strauss, or Baur. A.

temperate but very decided historical rationalism, on a broad basis of moral reverence, would perhaps best express his biblical stand-point. His principal works are: Ileitrage cur Einleitung in das Alte Testament (Contributions to an Introduction to the Old Testa ment), 2 vols. (Halle, 1806-7); Commentar fiber die Psalmen (Commentary on the Psalms), Heidelberg, 1811; Lehrbuch der historisch-Rritischen Einleitung in die Bibel Alien 'end .Neuen Testaments (Historico-Critical Introduction to the Books of the Old and New Testament), 2 vols. (Berlin, 1817-26); Lehrbuch der Christliehen Dogmata:, (Compendium of Christian Dogmatics), 2 vols. (Berlin, Clnristliehe (Christian Ethics); Vorlesungen fiber die Religion, ihr Wesen, and ihrer Erseheinungsformen (Lec tures on Religion, its Essence, and Forms of Manifestation), Berlin, 1827; Das Il'osen des Christlichen Glaubens (The Nature of the Christian Faith), Basel, 1846; and Ezeget isches Handbuch rum Hellen Testament (Exegetical Handbook of. the New Testament). Besides these, De W. published a critical edition of the entire works of Luther.