David Friedrich Strauss
Translated by George Eliot
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2010
Online Publication Date:May 2011
Original Publication Year:1846
Subjects: Biblical studies - New testament , History of philosophy
The German theologian David Friedrich Strauss (1808–1874) published his highly controversial The Life of Jesus in three volumes between 1835 and 1836. This translation by George Eliot is based on the fourth German edition (1840). Strauss applied strict historical method to the gospel narratives and caused scandal across the Protestant world by concluding that all miraculous elements were mythical and ahistorical. Strauss introduces Volume 1 with a survey of 'de-mythology' in Western thought. He applies modern historical and scientific criticism to the annunciation and birth narratives; the Davidic descent and genealogies of Jesus; Jesus' visit to the temple; Jesus' baptism and temptation and his relationship with John the Baptist. The volume ends with a chapter on chronology and locality in the life of Jesus. This is a key text of nineteenth-century theology that pioneered the application of historical and scientific methods to the study of religious texts.