On D.F. Strauß and the 1839 Revolution in Zurich

Perhaps no other individual theologian served as a lightening rod for the explosive energy of the theological world of the 19th century than did David Friedrich Strauß. As author of the controversial The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, he came to be seen as the representative of the liberal attack on the sacred scriptures because of his conclusion that the gospel narratives are myth. The theological right applauded the dismissal of Strauß from the university in Tübingen in 1835, and they were mortified with the announcement of his appointment in 1839 to the university in Zurich. Nowhere was the destructive power of religious conviction unleashed with such political consequences in the 19th century than in Zurich with this appointment. As consequential and deadly as the events surrounding Strauß' appointment and the subsequent political revolution in the canton of Zurich were, their details have not been told in English.2 What follows seeks to fill that lacuna.


“David Friedrich Strauss and the 1839 Revolution in Zürich” at the Pacific Northwest Regional AAR/SBL Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon: April 30, 1994

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