The second chapter in Is This Not the Carpenter? is an interesting discussion by fellow Aussie Roland Boer titled “The German Pestilence: Re-assessing Feuerbach, Strauss and Bauer”. (The link is to Australia’s University of Newcastle tribute page to Roland Boer as one of their “research achievers”.) It is easy to see where Leftie Red Roland is coming from with a quick glance at his blog, Stalin’s Moustache. There he has a most informative page, Marxism and Religion: Annotated Reading List, in which readers can survey the relationship between Karl Marx and Bruno Bauer and Ludwig Feuerbach — two persons at the heart of his chapter in Is This Not the Carpenter? One also learns of his penchant for “arresting titles” (beside words like “Lenin nudist” and “psychic terror”, “German pestilence” is right at home), and that he enjoys occasional sparring with Jim West, author of the first chapter of this book that I discussed in the previous post.
So what is Roland Boer’s essay about?
- Why German philosophy and public debates about human, political and economic justice were so entwined with theology and especially the Gospels in the early decades of the nineteenth century;
- What was the importance of
- Ludwig’s Feuerbach‘s theory that God and religion were “mere” projections of the best in human beings;
- David Strauss‘s demolition of the orthodox understanding of the Gospels and argument that they were really mythical stories;
- and Bruno Bauer‘s radical sceptical approach to the New Testament along with his radical politics and militant atheism.
- What messages from all of the above might be found relevant today.
So let’s begin. I outline the core of Boer’s argument as I understand it. Continue reading “The German Radical Theologians: Why did they happen and what is their relevance today?”