Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Ritschl contributed to the liberalizing of nineteenth century Protestant theology by moving its concerns away from the speculative, neo-Scholastic abstractions that the faithful could not understand toward a renewal of a practical examination of the life of Jesus Christ as revealed in the New Testament. Since Christ was the perfect manifestation of the love of God, believers could have a model upon which to make proper value judgments.
Albrecht Ritschl came from a solid religious background. His father, Carl Ritschl, was a bishop and general superintendent of the Lutheran church in Pomerania, and the boy grew up in the town of Stettin. He was an excellent student throughout his preuniversity career, excelling in languages and science. His mind welcomed complex information, because it gave him an opportunity to see how complexity grew and came together to formulate antithetical arguments that endlessly repeated the process. It was no doubt his penchant for synthesis that drew him early to the revolutionary work of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the leading professor at the University of Berlin during the first part of the nineteenth century.
Ritschl pursued his education at a number of prestigious universities during the years from 1839 to 1846. He studied at the University of Bonn and Halle, where he received his Ph.D. in 1843 and then pursued postdoctoral work at Heidelburg and...
(The entire section is 2348 words.)
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