Talk:Bruno Bauer

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His criticism of the New Testament was highly destructive.

I'm not sure what this is intended to mean. The New Testament was not destroyed by his criticism, though perhaps some people's belief in it was.

Perhaps what was intended was deconstructive -- ie following a deconstructionist methodology, which may apply here (I'm no expert on Bauer). For the moment, I've changed "destructive" to "deconstructive". Please correct if you know better. -Anthropos 18:45, 31 Dec 2003 (UTC)

This article is appropriated essentially verbatim from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Public domain, but still, isn't there anyone out there who can write a contemporary article? "His criticism of the New Testament was highly destructive" is accurate enough, since he demonstrated rather convincingly that it is not a work of accurate historical content but an invention written a century after the events purported to take place. We look above all to Bruno Bauer to apprise us that the historical Jesus was a total fiction. See Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, 1905. --David Westling, 28 Sept 2005

David Westling is quite right in his statement on Bruno Bauer’s views. The paragraphs dealing with Otto Pfleiderer and Albert Schweitzer’s reviews of Bruno Bauer convey the idea that they had different interpretations of Bruno Bauer, this is in fact not correct. I have read the 11th chapter on Bruno Bauer in Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historical and it does not deny but actually confirms Otto Pfleiderer’s standpoint that Bauer Bauer considered the new testament to be a work of fiction. I will merge and modify those paragraphs to reflect this if there are no objections. I have already added a link to that chapter in the external links section of the article and anyone can read it if they doubt what I have said. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:42, 18 January 2006
Certainly 'deconstructive', in the sense of analytic breakdown, is better than 'destructive'. Bauer was an analyst of the highest order within historical criticism and textual analysis. However, I must disagree with the authorities that are cited here -- I'm a published author (2002) on the topic of Bruno Bauer and my assessment is that Bauer did not go over to atheism, as most scholars, including Moggach (2004) have maintained consistently throughout the 20th century. A new wave of Bauer studies is emerging from the Hegel Society of America. Bauer's keyword is 'Self-consciousness' and that word comes from Hegel's description of God. It is a radical theology, surely, but it isn't atheism. Neither Hegel nor Bauer were atheists, by my reading, rather, they were critics of ordinary Christianity and reformers in the high sense. The old Jesus Seminar of America was very much in the spirit of Bruno Bauer. Bauer was simply 150 years ahead of his time, as was Hegel. Petrejo 15:59, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Is deconstructive here supposed to be a fancy word for analytic? If so, it is a trivial statement. Most critiques are analyses. When does a "deconstructive" criticism become "highly deconstructive" and who judges it to be so? Lestrade (talk) 00:15, 26 March 2011 (UTC)Lestrade

The question is whether Bauer's work is rightly portrayed as 'destructive' or not. The term 'deconstructive' was somebody's place-holder until the debate was completed. It remains a matter of opinion whether Bauer was entirely hateful of Christianity or whether he only hated certain sects of Christianity (e.g. the one the Prussian monarch touted). My English translation of Bauer's banned-on-publication book, "Christianity Exposed", shows fairly well that Bauer was still friendly to *some* sects of Christianity. This book is so mild that the Prussian government had no good reason to ban it. Petrejo (talk) 01:27, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Religion as the opiate of the masses.[edit]

This quote is famously attributed to Karl Marx in his 1843 'Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right', well it appears Bruno Bauer made the similar quote in 1841 in his "The Christian State & Our Times", two years earlier, and again in "The Good Cause of Freedom & My Own Case" published in 1842, a year earlier. Maybe it is noteworthy enough for the article that, seeing as Karl Marx was under the tutelage of Bruno Bauer, to mention such; that it is highly likely Marx lifted this sentiment from Bauer. Nagelfar (talk) 09:25, 11 April 2008 (UTC)


Hegel died the year that Strauss entered Berlin University, so Strauss got his ideas from other sources. Not familiar with the subject, but there are two points I would make. 1) The second clause does not necessarily follow from the first, as Strauss could have been exposed to Hegel's ideas from another source, a book for example. 2) This discussion of Bauer and Strauss almost certainly does not fit under the subject heading "Personality," and may require its own section. Cesarpermanente (talk) 16:25, 27 April 2008 (UTC)


Where did Bauer earn his degree in history? Or is he considered one because he wrote books on the topic of history? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:17, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

According to Douglas Moggach, p. 21, Bauer was a theology student at the U. of Berlin from Spring 1828 to Spring 1832. If we're going by degrees alone, Bauer is a theologian, but it seems clear that he's regarded as a notable thinker on theology, political philosophy, history, etc. --Akhilleus (talk) 12:34, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, that's Moggach's The Philosophy and Politics of Bruno Bauer (Cambridge 2003). I thought it would have been cited in the article, but apparently it isn't. --Akhilleus (talk) 12:51, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, Bauer was a student of Hegel. Now, Hegel was a philosopher of history, of logic, of natural science, of political science, of metaphysics, of art and of religion. If Bauer signed on as a theology student, then his degree was in theology. However, since he studied under Hegel, and since Hegel's dialectic philosophy has so many integrated facets, Bauer's exposure to one of the greatest historians of all time would offer him some credentials. Petrejo (talk) 01:21, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

September 24, 2008 version, also on the NPOV tags[edit]

Ok folks, I have tried to clean up at least the first part of the article. It could still need some rewrite, e.g. at the moment, the article does not follow completly the chronology , what may confuse people. Also, the complete article read as if significant parts of it were written by Paul Trejo, who is a big fan of Bruno Bauer, but whose interpretation of Bauer is not shared by anyone else, who is openly opposed to the academic consensus about Bruno Bauer, and who does know little about the historical background of Bauer's time and country. He also knows only those few of Bauer's works that have been translated into english. He may still be right, but for a NPOV encyclopedia one needs to take into acount that his position is isolated. I have tried to convert the first part of the article into one more in line with the academic mainstream of Bauer research (also turning its style from journalistic into npov/encyclopedic), but the rest of the article is still partly exhibiting the minor position of PT. Also, that later part of the article seems chaotic in parts and also partly not encyclopedic in its style. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:52, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

For the record, my viewpoint is not as isolated as portrayed here. I'm on good terms with Dr. Douglas Moggach, and we agree on many vital points. I'm also on good terms with Dr. Lawrence Stepelevich, and although we disagreed on the question of whether The Trumpet was a comedy or not, we agreed on much else. Petrejo (talk) 01:23, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Also, I believe that the NPOV tag can be removed from this article. I don't find anything in the section cited (specifically, "Views on Christian Origins") that differs significantly from Bauer's published position in his Christus und die Caesaren. Anyway, that's my vote. Petrejo (talk) 01:32, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Question to P Trejo: Who is the translator named "Frank E. Schacht" in the Alexander Davidonis edition? Is he a real person? a writer who knows German well,including the German jargon of Hegelian philosophy (as Moggach knows very well, in fact so well that he has a hard time coming back to plain English to explain the radical novelties of Bauer's writings.) Does Paul Trejo know about the genuiness of this translator, his competence as a translator, and the validity of this translation? Douglas Moggach does not show this translation in his SEP article. Does it mean that he is not endorsing it as a valid scholarly text? Since he is best qualified to easily give us a trustworthy evaluation of this translation, then why not email him and ask him directly, if you are in such "good terms" with him? He would pay attention to your request for his opinion. It is easy, since he shows his email address in the SEP article: Douglas Moggach <>--ROO BOOKAROO (talk) 18:33, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

The section on the Marx's criticisms of Bauer misses that the German Ideology was never published in Bauer's lifetime. I'd also suggest the section on Der Judenfrage is perhaps being generous and equivocal about Bauer's antisemitism, and misses that Marx's text was an ironical and hostile response. It seems strange (and a suspicious kind of revisionism) to suggest Marx was more antisemitic than Bauer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

removing POV tag with no active discussion per Template:POV[edit]

I've removed an old neutrality tag from this page that appears to have no active discussion per the instructions at Template:POV:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:
  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

Since there's no evidence of ongoing discussion, I'm removing the tag for now. If discussion is continuing and I've failed to see it, however, please feel free to restore the template and continue to address the issues. Thanks to everybody working on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 14:54, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

The anti-Semitism section.[edit]

I have concerns about both the veracity and neutrality of the “anti-Semitism” section, specifically regarding two paragraphs:

In 1843, Bauer wrote The Jewish Question, which was responded to in a pamphlet written by Karl Marx, entitled, On the Jewish Question. This has been traditionally attributed to Bruno Bauer's influence, despite the fact that Bauer and Marx had sharply broken paths. Bauer allegedly argued that the Jews were responsible for their own misfortunes in European society since they had "made their nest in the pores and interstices of bourgeois society".[8] However, this allegation may simply be one of the common attributions from Karl Marx's pen onto Bruno Bauer.

Actually, Bauer's actual words were, 'Jewish citizens should not expect to be free in Germany as long as German citizens were themselves unfree.' It is not as easy to charge this statement with antisemitism, compared with the economic statements about Jewry by Karl Marx himself.

About the first paragraph:

A) Bauer, not Marx, did indeed write the quoted "their nests in pores...." line, a fact easily verifiable. Bauer's The Jewish Question was translated into English in 1958 by Helen Lederer (Hebrew Union-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio), and copies are attainable -- for me, at my local library. Moreover, the introduction & conclusion to Bauer’s The Jewish Question (Lederer’s translation) were included in the more recent The Young Hegelians, an Anthology edited by Lawrence S. Stepelevich & easily attainable. The quoted “made their nests” line was translated by Miriam Kochan; Lederer’s translation is slightly different (“have struck roots” instead of “nests,” ”gaps and crevices,” instead of “pores and interstices”[1]) though the point remains the same.

B) To state that Bauer “allegedly” argued that the Jews were responsible for their own misfortunes is patently untrue. He didn’t “allegedly” argue this--he without question argued this, and was quite clear about it. To wit:

“Of the Jews it will at least be admitted that they suffered for their Law, for their way of life and their nationality, that they were martyrs. They were this themselves to blame for the oppression they have suffered, because they have provoked it by their adherence to their law, their language, to their way of life. A nothing cannot be oppressed. Wherever there is pressure something must have caused it by its existence, its nature.” [2]

“...give the Jews the honor that they were to blame for their oppression which they suffered, that the hardening of their character caused by their oppression was their own fault. Then you admit them to a place in a two-thousand-year-old history, although a subordinate one...” [3]

C) The writer of this section quotes Bauer, offers a source for the quote--then suggests the source was probably mistaken, that likely the quote is something Marx wrote. That this kind of mistaking Marx for Bauer is “common,” as this writer suggests, is unsubstantiated. And the fact the writer here so casually dismisses this *particular* source strikes me as odd--since the source is Leon Poliakov (translator Miriam Kochan), an internationally regarded historian known for his five-volume, meticulously researched series on the history of anti-Semitism. Poliakov cites the original German version of Bauer’s The Jewish Question in his sources. He quotes from it numerous times; he also includes a detailed discussion of Marx’s Die Judenfrage in this same book--Poliakov was well acquainted with work of both.

About the second paragraph:

A) No source is offered for Bauer’s allegedly “actual words." What the writer presents here as a direct quote sounds more like a paraphrase of one of Bauer's points. (A point Bauer made this point in addition to--not instead of--his point about Jews being responsible for their own misfortunes.)

B) The line “Actually, Bauer’s actual words were...” is problematic for a number of reasons. As mentioned, Bauer did indeed write what this wiki-writer seems intent on convincing the reader of otherwise. The writer seems deliberately obfuscating, suggesting again that Bauer did not write something he indeed did, falsely posing as someone with insider knowledge of Bauer's "actual" words.

C) This line -- It is not as easy to charge this statement with antisemitism, compared with the economic statements about Jewry by Karl Marx himself -- is problematic in that it is an opinion presented as fact, makes broad claims about Marx’s “statements” without offering proof/actual quotes, and is, to begin with, prefaced on falsehoods as to what Bauer has and has not written.

RynnJacobs (talk) 08:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

[1] Bauer, Bruno. (1843). "The Jewish Question," excerpts. In Stepelevich, L. S. (Ed.), The Young Hegelians, an Anthology. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press International. (p. 193)
[2] Ibid (p. 189)
[3] Ibid (p. 190)

Bauer's supposed meeting with Nietzsche[edit]

The article reads "For example, when Bauer was middle-aged, a youthful Friedrich Nietzsche came to visit him, seeking advice from a well-known author (because Bruno Bauer did remain well known during his lifetime). Bauer encouraged Nietzsche to criticize David Strauss[...]." I am a PhD student writing my dissertation on Friedrich Nietzsche. My area of general philosophic interest is in 19th century philosophy from Kant to Nietzsche. I have found no evidence to support the claim that the young Nietzsche ever visited Bruno Bauer (also, when? where?). Secondly, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest it was Bauer that encouraged Nietzsche to write on David Strauss for his first "Untimely Meditation," but rather it was Richard Wagner, with whom Nietzsche had a personal relationship, as is well known, that encouraged Nietzsche to write on Strauss, as Wagner disliked Strauss and had several public disputes with him.[1] If there is a source that claims Bauer and Nietzsche had met, and/or that he may have encouraged to write on Strauss, then please cite the passage, as I as well as others would certainly like to see the evidence. If no source is available to confirm this claim, then this section in the article should be removed. Nietzsche does mention in Ecce Homo, though, in the section "Why I Write Such Good Books" under the "Untimely Ones," that Bauer was his "only reading public," or something to that effect. However, this alone does not confirm any personal relationship, and probably more so signifies his awareness that Bauer was a sharp critic of Strauss, but nothing besides. Thank you. Spinks03 (talk) 18:50, 9 July 2014 (UTC) Justin Spinks, University of Kentucky, Department of Philosophy

  1. ^ Breazeale, Daniel, from the editor's introduction to Untimely Meditations by Friedrich Nietzsche (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. xii. (