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Georg Friedrich Daumer

German poet and philosopher, b. at Nuremberg, March 5, 1800; d. at Wurzburg, December 14, 1875

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Daumer, GEORG FRIEDRICII, German poet and philosopher, b. at Nuremberg, March 5, 1800; d. at Wurzburg, December 14, 1875. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native city, at that time directed by the famous philosopher Hegel. In 1817 he entered the University of Erlangen as a student of theology, but abandoned that study for philosophy. For a number of years Daumer was professor at the gymnasium of Nuremberg; owing to ill-health he was pensioned in 1832 and henceforth devoted himself entirely to literary work. While at Erlangen he came strongly under the influence of Pietism. Soon, however, he became sceptical and exhibited decided leanings towards pantheism. From an orthodox Protestant he gradually became a bitter enemy of Christianity, which he attacked in a number of writings and for which he strove to substitute a new religion “of love and peace”, formulated in his work “Religion des neuen Weltalters” (Hamburg, 1850). Previous to this he had published a number of works, all of a distinctly anti-theological tendency, of which the more important are: “Philosophie, Religion, and Altertum” (Nuremberg, 1833); “Zuge zu einer neuen Philosophie der Religion and Religionsgeschichte” (Nuremberg, 1835); “Der Feuer- and Molochdienst der Hebraer” (Brunswick, 1842); “Die Geheimnisse des christlichen Altertums” (Hamburg, 1847). Shortly after 1850 Daumer left Nuremberg and settled at Frankfort, where a great change soon came over him. In 1858 at Mainz he publicly embraced the Catholic Faith and thenceforth became its zealous defender. Among the works written after his conversion are: “Mein Konversion” (Mainz, 1859); “Aus der Mansarde” (1860-62); “Das Christentum and sein Urheber” (Mainz, 1864); “Das Wunder, seine Bedeutung, Wahrheit and Notwendigkeit” (Ratisbon, 1874). The last mentioned work is directed expressly against the opinions of David Strauss.

Undoubtedly the best part of Daumer’s work is his poetry. His “Hafis” (Hamburg, 1846; a second collection, 1852) contains graceful but very free imitations of the songs of the famous Persian poet. In fact, these poems are really original productions, and some of them have become widely known through the musical settings of Brahms. This collection, as well as “Mahomed and sein Werk” (Hamburg, 1848), is distinctly directed against the hypocrisy and asceticism which at that time Daumer believed to be inseparable from orthodox Christianity. Among other poems may be mentioned: “Glorie der heiligen Jungfrau Maria” (Nuremberg, 1841); “Frauenbilder and Huldigungen” (Leipzig, 1853); “Marianische Legenden and Gedichte” (Munster, 1859) and “Schone Seelen” (Mainz, 1862). The autobiographical works cited above; BIRKENBIHL, Georg Friedrich Daumer (Aschaffenburg, 1905).

ARTHUR F. J. REMY.


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