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Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) Julian Gotobed, 2004 Albert Schweitzer was born on 14th January 1875 at Kaysersberg in Upper

Alsace, Germany, a region that is now part of France. Louis Schweitzer, Alberts father, was pastor to a Lutheran congregation at Kaysersberg, a Protestant church located in a predominantly Catholic place. Schweitzer, by his own admission, enjoyed a happy childhood. He demonstrated an aptitude for music from the age of five. Schweitzer studied under some of Europes premier organists and became an authority on the life and music of J.S.Bach. Schweitzers passion for organ music paralleled his fascination with theology. Remarkably, he made major scholarly contributions to both fields of study. An article in a Paris Missionary Society publication in 1904 set Schweitzer on a road to study medicine and offer his services as a medical doctor. Despite reservations about his theology the Paris Missionary Society accepted Schweitzer, on condition that he kept his theological views to himself, and sent him and his wife to the French colony of Gabon in 1913. Schweitzer built a hospital and served as a medical missionary until his death in 1965. His service to humanity was recognized in 1953, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1952. Schweitzers participation in academic theology commenced when he entered Strassburg University in October 1893 to study for theology and philosophy. In April 1894 he began a year of military service. Schweitzer packed a Greek New Testament in his haversack as he set out on autumn maneuvers with the intention of acquiring knowledge of the text. A detailed reading of Matthew chapters ten and eleven in his spare time during military service prompted Schweitzer to reach very different conclusions to those that had been advocated in a series of lectures on the Synoptic Gospels at Strassburg University by his professor, Heinrich Julius Holtzmann. Holtzmann dismissed any notion that eschatological views on the lips of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels could possibly be original to Jesus. The sayings of Jesus about the future coming of the Son of Man must have been made up by the Early Church and imposed upon the historical Jesus. Schweitzer, however, saw no grounds for regarding the eschatological passages in the Synoptic Gospels as extraneous. He also disputed the spiritualized interpretation placed upon the eschatological passages. Furthermore, Schweitzer thought it unlikely that the Early Church would have attributed to Jesus words about future events that never occurred. He felt it was more probable that the Early Christians had accurately preserved words spoken by Jesus and incorporated them in the Gospels even though they posed serious difficulties because of the non-occurrence of the events foretold: The bare text compelled me to assume that Jesus really announced persecutions for the disciples and, as a sequel to them, the immediate appearance of the celestial Son of Man, and that His announcement was shown by subsequent events to be wrong. But how came He to entertain such an expectation, and what must His feelings have been when events turned out otherwise than He had assumed they would? (Schweitzer, 1933, 18) By the end of his first year of theological studies Schweitzer found himself in disagreement with the conventional wisdom about what was considered to be historically correct in connection with the words and actions of Jesus. Schweitzer appealed to the plain meaning of the text. He believed that Jesus had announced the imminent arrival of a supernatural Kingdom of God. Spiritual reinterpretations of the Kingdom of God divorced Jesus from his historical context. Schweitzer pursued independent study of the Synoptic Gospels and problems associated with the life of Jesus, often neglecting other subjects from his first year in university onwards. He submitted a dissertation on the philosophy of Kant to earn the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in July 1899. Schweitzer spent the summer of 1899 in Berlin and availed himself of the citys intellectual and cultural riches. He attended the lectures of several prominent scholars including Harnack. Friends introduced Schweitzer to Harnack and the young student visited the elder statesman of historical scholarship in his home, but confessed, in later life, to shyness in the presence of the great man. Schweitzer next turned his attention to study for the Licentiate in Theology. He wrote a dissertation on the Last Supper to earn the degree in July 1900. A second work The Secret of the Messiahship and the Passion: A Sketch of the Life of Jesus published in 1901 secured a teaching post for Schweitzer at the University. This latter piece of scholarship articulated Schweitzers understanding of the historical Jesus. Schweitzer identified four presuppositions upon which the modern-historical view of Jesus is based. First, Jesus was portrayed as enjoying an initial period of success followed by a period of failure. Second, Jesus rejected a supernatural Messianic Kingdom and in its place announced an ethical Kingdom of God. Third, Pauline theory of Atonement influenced the formation of the Synoptic traditions of the prediction of the Passion.

Fourth, the prediction of the Passion was expressed in the form of an ethical reflection. Schweitzer rejected these presuppositions and put forward an alternative understanding of the historical Jesus that he called the eschatological-historical: Like his contemporaries he [Jesus] identifies the Messiah with the Son of Man, who is spoken of in the Book of Daniel, and speaks of his coming on the clouds of heaven. The Kingdom of God which he preaches is the heavenly, Messianic Kingdom, which will be set up on earth when the Son of Man comes at the end of the natural worlds existence. He continually exhorts his hearers to be ready at any moment for judgment, as a result of which some will enter into the glory of the Messianic Kingdom, while others will depart to damnation In no way does He attempt to spiritualize it. But He fills it with His own powerful ethical spirit, in that, passing beyond the Law and the scribes, He demands from men the practice of the absolute ethic of love (Schweitzer, 1933, 49-50) Jesus combined an expectation of a supernatural appearance of the Kingdom of God with an ethical religion of love. He expected a dramatic and decisive end to the world. The Kingdom of God is an entirely future reality. Jesus believed that with the manifestation of the Messianic Kingdom he would be revealed as the Messiah. His Messianic identity is a secret to be maintained until the supernatural appearing of the Kingdom of God. On March 1st, 1902 Schweitzer delivered his first lecture before the Theology Faculty at Strassburg. His initial lectures were on the Fourth Gospel and the Pastoral Epistles. However, a conversation with students about a lecture series they had attended on the Life of Jesus in which very little had been mentioned about previous studies inspired Schweitzer to offer a series of lectures in the summer term of 1905 on the history of research into the Life of Jesus. The subject captured his imagination and Schweitzer devoured the vast collection of Lives of Jesus held by the University Library at Strassburg. His study was cluttered for months with books as he pursued his inquiry. Each individual Life of Jesus was categorized and stacked up in an appropriate pile. Visitors had to wind their way in between the mountains of books. His findings were published in 1906 in the book that would be presented in English under the title The Quest of the Historical Jesus. The Quest of the Historical Jesus reviewed the development of Life of Jesus Research in German scholarship from Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) in the eighteenth century to William Wrede at the turn of the twentieth century. Schweitzer characterized the quest of the historical Jesus as German scholarships search for the truth whatever it may be and wherever it may lead. The Quest of the Historical Jesus is narrated in heroic terms as a splendid endeavor that has made a major contribution to the sum of human knowledge. Schweitzer noted that Luther was not interested in comprehending Jesus within his first- century Jewish context or resolving difficulties and inconsistencies such as the place of the cleansing of the Temple in the ministry of Jesus. The Enlightenment created the climate within which Reimarus might question the New Testament tradition about Jesus of Nazareth. Reimarus was not an objective observer. He sought to discredit Christianity by demonstrating that it rested upon flawed historical foundations. According to Reimarus Jesus expected the people of Israel to rise up under his leadership, but his fellow countrymen did not. Jesus died as a failure. The disciples responded to the failure of Jesus mission by reinterpreting their Messianic hope in future supernatural terms and proclaiming that he had been raised, and waited for the Messiah to appear. In the hands of Reimarus history erodes traditional theology. Schweitzer commended Reimarus for recognizing that Jesus lived in an apocalyptic environment. Schweitzer portrayed Reimarus as initiating The Quest of the Historical Jesus. The work of David Friedrich Strauss effected a decisive turning point in Life of Jesus research. The Life of Jesus Critically Examined appeared in 1835 and strove to reinterpret Christianity in line with rationalism and speculative Hegelian philosophy. Miracles were ruled out on a priori grounds. Strauss was especially effective in dismantling rationalized accounts of miracles. Strauss applied mythological explanations to the Gospels. He thus followed in the footsteps of biblical scholars that had applied mythological explanations to the Old Testament. A generation elapsed between the death of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels. Enough time passed for historical material to get mixed up with myth. Schweitzer concurred with Strauss, in part, No sooner is a great man dead than legend is busy with his life (Schweitzer, 1998, 79). No doubt, according to Schweitzer, mythical material ended up in such stories as the feeding of the multitudes. However, the existence of such stories in the Synoptic tradition cannot simply be explained by reference to Old Testament stories such as the manna in the desert. Such episodes in the life of Jesus must have been based on some kind of fact even if it is obscure to us now. Identifying the source of the form in which a story is

told in the New Testament, for example, under the influence of an Old Testament narrative, does not account for the origin of the event. Strauss overstated his case. Ernest Renans Life of Jesus (1865) portrayed Jesus as a timeless figure devoid of vitality. His account was a classic expression of the liberal Lives of Jesus that Schweitzer reacted against so strongly in his reading of the Synoptic Gospels. Schweitzer contended that the liberal Lives of Jesus made Jesus approximate to the psychology, values, and outlook of the authors that wrote about him. Jesus simply became a reflection of the scholars examining his life. Schweitzer believed Reimarus had been correct to locate Jesus in the context of first-century Judaism. The liberal Lives of Jesus were essentially unhistorical accounts of Jesus. A truly historic understanding of Jesus had to see him in the context he inhabited. From this perspective Schweitzer sketched out his own distinctive understanding of the historical Jesus. Schweitzers outline of Jesus stressed the distance between the historical Jesus and Schweitzers own generation. Jesus believed he was the Messiah and expected God to intervene in history and bring the world to an end in the course of his ministry. The expected end did not materialize, but Jesus bore the suffering destined to sweep over Israel and the world. The personality of Jesus is the link between the historical life of Jesus and Christianity. Jesus summons people to follow him in changing the world. Ironically, the failure of Jesus hopes when God did not intervene ultimately freed Jesus from the constraints of a Jewish worldview. The Quest of the Historical Jesus appeared in an English translation in 1910. Schweitzers earlier work The Messiahship and the Passion was not published in English until 1914. The Quest of the Historical Jesus incorporated the substance of the earlier work in dialogue with William Wredes The Messianic Secret, which also appeared in 1901. The response in Germany and England to Schweitzers work was mixed. The English edition included an appreciative forward by F.C. Burkitt of Cambridge. Burkitt was instrumental in getting Schweitzers book translated and published in England. He recognized the significance of the issues Schweitzer had raised in his study and admired the technical skill demonstrated in the work. William Sanday of Oxford initially embraced The Quest of the Historical Jesus enthusiastically and subsequently moderated his stance towards Schweitzers solution. Schweitzer believed Sandays enthusiasm for his work stemmed from his Anglo-Catholic sensibilities. Sanday warmed to the irony of a Protestant demolishing the Life of Jesus research that challenged the orthodox belief about Jesus that his Anglo-Catholic faith adhered to. Schweitzer was invited to lecture at both Oxford and Cambridge, but circumstances prevented him from doing so. Schweitzers achievement was remarkable. He reviewed, summarized, and critiqued a vast corpus of research into the Life of Jesus. The Quest of the Historical Jesus is significant for several reasons. First, Schweitzer exposed the unhistorical character of a great deal of the Life of Jesus research. Too often the views of modern men had been imposed upon the thinking of a first-century Palestinian Jew. Second, Schweitzer located Jesus in his first-century context in Judaism. Schweitzer believed that the historical Jesus could only be properly understood within the world of apocalyptic Judaism. Third, he rescued eschatology, the doctrine of the last things, from the margins of theological discourse and placed it in the center of the theological landscape. Fourth, Schweitzer illustrates that what we believe to be true historically shapes the content of the faith we profess. The Jesus of history misinterpreted the signs of the times and failed according to Schweitzer. What role can such a Jesus play in the construction of theology? If the example of Schweitzer is anything to go by, the answer is none. The Jesus of history disappears from Schweitzers theology. Schweitzer eventually advocated Christ mysticism. He never clearly defines the nature of Christ mysticism; it is an elusive and nebulous experience. Christ mysticism seems to function as a compensating strategy in Schweitzers theology. The Jesus of history is trapped in the past. Christ mysticism is a way of engaging faith in the present. Yet, for all Schweitzers notable success in The Quest of the Historical Jesus, there are aspects of the work that are less than convincing. Schweitzer presses for the plain meaning of the text in the Synoptic Gospels to be heard. Hence the eschatological passages that point to a future manifestation of the Kingdom of God are to be taken seriously. Yet, it seems that an inner need for absolute consistency in Schweitzer causes him to press all the evidence into one mould. The Kingdom of God is entirely future, in accordance with Schweitzers understanding of Jewish conceptions of the Kingdom of God. No allowance is made for those passages that reflect the presence of the Kingdom of God in the here and now. C.H.Dodd in The Parables of the Kingdom would subsequently make the case for realized eschatology, the presence of the Kingdom of God here and now in the life and ministry of Jesus. Nor does Schweitzer escape from the very kind of rhetoric that he condemns so effectively on page after page in The Quest of the Historical Jesus:

The Baptist appears and cries: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Soon after that comes Jesus, and in the knowledge that He is the coming Son of Man lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which is to bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and He throws Himself upon it. Then it does turn; and crushes Him. Instead of bringing in the eschatological conditions, He has destroyed them. The wheel rolls onward, and the mangled body of the one immeasurably great Man, who was strong enough to think of Himself as the spiritual ruler of mankind and to bend history to His purpose, is hanging upon it still. That is His victory and His reign. (Schweitzer, 1998, 370-71) Schweitzer portrayed Jesus as trying to force the hand of history to usher in the Messianic Kingdom. Such an effort is entirely out of keeping with the Hebrew understanding of God at work in history. As Stephen Neil has pointed out, a servant of God in the biblical tradition does not attempt to bend history to serve his desired ends and there is no evidence that Jesus tried to do this (Neil, 1964, 199-200). Schweitzer made a speculative assertion without providing evidence for his claim. Historically, Christians have believed that God raised Jesus from the dead and in so doing vindicated Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a victory over sin, death, and evil. According to Schweitzer Jesus mangled body is still hanging on the implacable wheel of history. Somehow this constitutes a victory and a reign, but, again, Schweitzer makes a claim with no evidence to substantiate it. The image is one of an irresistible force that overwhelmed Jesus of Nazareth in history and still holds him in its power. http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/WeirdWildWeb/courses/mwt/dictionary/mwt_themes_710_schweitzer.htm

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) Trevor S. Maloney, 2002 Biography (The biographical information presented here is based on the English version of the biography provided at the International Albert Schweitzer Associations website, http://www.schweitzer.org/english/aseind.htm.) Albert Schweitzer was born on January 14th, 1875, the son of a Lutheran pastor in the village of Alsace, Germany (now part of France). Early on, he showed an interest in playing the organ, studying under some of Europes finest organists. Eventually he became an expert on the life and music of J.S. Bach, writing an authoritative biography, and he was also recognized as the worlds leading expert in organ building. Schweitzer received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Strasbourg, and he also studies at the Sorbonne and the University of Berlin. In 1899, after receiving his doctorate, he was appointed to the staff of St. Nicholais church in Strasbourg. In the two years after receiving a degree in theology in 1900, Schweitzer was appointed principal of St. Thomas College in Strasbourg Curate at St. Nicholai, and to the faculty in both theology and philosophy at the University of Strasbourg. In 1906, he published The Quest for the Historical Jesus. In 1904, Schweitzer happened upon an article in the Paris Missionary Societys publication that would totally change the course of his life. The article was about the urgent need for medical doctors in the French colony of Gabon in Africa. Schweitzer came to the conclusion that missionary activity must now take on the task of making atonement for the brutality European colonialism, for the oppression of the African races by the Europe. On October 13th, 1905, Schweitzer wrote a few letters to family and close friends, informing them of his plans to enroll as a medical student in the winter semester, all but giving up the study of philosophy, theology, and music. He told his friends and family that he planned to become a medical doctor and go to Africa. Schweitzers father was very disappointed, his professional colleagues thought he was making a huge mistake, and his family thought his plans foolish. One friend suggested that he could do more for Africa by lecturing on the need for doctors in Africa. Even the dean of the medical faculty thought he was making a mistake. The only person who seemed to understand and support him was Helene Bresslau, who later became his wife. Despite all the criticism and protest, Schweitzer received his medical degree, with a specialization in tropical medicine and surgery. But more problems awaited him! When Schweitzer applied to the Paris Missionary Society, they rejected him, this man who had rearranged his comfortable life as a world-famous philosopher, theologian, and

musician to serve as a doctor in the jungles. The Paris Missionary Society did not want this intellectual confusing the newly-converted Africans with his liberal theology. Schweitzer and his wife, a trained nurse, raised funds to build and maintain a hospital in Gabon for two years. Finally the Paris Mission Society accepted Schweitzer, on the condition that he would avoid bothering the missionaries and the converts with his theological positions. One member of the appointment committee resigned. The Schweitzers went to Gabon in 1913 where they founded the hospital that came to be known as Lambarn. During World War I, they were therefore held as prisoners of war in the southern France, being German citizens in a French colony. In 1918, the Schweitzers went to Alsace. When the time came to go back to Lamberene, Helene was not healthy enough to go back. She remained in Alsace with their daughter, Rhena. Growing up, Rhena saw little of her father, but once her own children were grown, she went to Africa and served with her father. After Schweitzers death, she took over as administrator of the hospital. In 1953, Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the year 1952. This award inspired him to get more involved in politics. Shocked by the use of atomic bombs against Japan in 1945, he began a campaign against the nuclear arms race. In 1957, he issued a public, worldwide appeal called A Declaration of Conscience. The Declaration came to be published with other writings against nuclear weapons in the little volume Peace or Atomic War? Schweitzers service to the people of Gabon continued up until his death in 1965. Today, his hospital is still running, examining forty thousand patients a year and researching malaria and other tropical diseases. Schweitzer on Paul Schweitzer wrote two books on the apostle Paul, the first being Paul and His Interpreters, and the second, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle. Schweitzer wanted these two books to form the second volume of a trilogy on the history of early Christianity. The first volume would have been The Quest of the Historical Jesus, and the third would have traced the development of the Hellenization of Christian thought, starting from the Johns gospel and going on to the Church Fathers. Unfortunately for those of us who study theology and church history, time constraints did not allow for the completion of this project. For Schweitzer, Pauls thought is best understood in the context of mysticism. Paul held a unique form of mysticism. It does not deal with God as the ultimate ground of being, nor with human union with God. For Paul, those who believe the gospel of Christ are sons of God, but this relationship with God is only through the mediation of a mystical union with Christ. The fundamental thought of Pauline mysticism runs thus: I am in Christ; in him I know myself as a being who is raised above this sensuous, sinful, transient world and already belongs to the transcendent; in Him I am assured of resurrection; in Him I am a child of God. Another distinctive characteristic of this mysticism is that being in Christ is conceived as a having died and risen again with Him, in consequence of which the participant has been freed from sin and from the Law, possesses the Spirit of Christ, and is assured of resurrection. This being-in-Christ is the prime enigma of the Pauline teaching: once it is grasped it gives the clue to the whole. (Schweitzer 1931, 3). Schweitzer rejects Pauls speech in the book of Acts as non-historical, since it seems to advocate a kind of Stoic pantheism. In this rejection of pantheism, Paul is wholly Jewish. The pantheism of Stoic thought is static, but Paul sees the world as moving towards a consummation. History is a movement from, through, and unto God but never, until the final consummation, in God (Rom. 11:36) (Seaver 238). Likewise, Pauls Christmysticism is not static, but is rather a co-experiencing of Christs death and resurrection. The original and central idea of the Pauline mysticism is therefore that the elect share with one another and with Christ a corporiety which is in a special way susceptible to the action of the powers of death and resurrection, and in consequence capable of acquiring the resurrection state of existence before the general resurrection of the dead takes place. (Schweitzer 1931, 115). Redemption is accomplished by Jesus resurrection, which changes the character of the world from perishable to imperishable. This perishable world is a theater for battle between angels and demons. By his resurrection, Jesus becomes a Messianic king with command over angels and is therefore able to defeat all that opposes God. For Jesus, this was salvation: deliverance from the coming tribulation of the eschaton. For the early Christians, though, sins were forgiven through the death of Jesus. It is this second type of redemption that Paul adopts. Paul explains his concept of justification by faith alone in the epistle to the Romans. Here, Christs death is seen as a Levitical sin offering, which erases sin and makes Gods forgiveness possible. Redemption is an

act of ascent, not mystical experience. This righteousness by faith is individualistic, detached from participation in the mystical Body of Christ, and it does not lead to an ethical theory. That is an unnatural construction of thought is clear from the fact that by means of it Paul arrives at the idea of faith which rejects not only the works of the Law, but works in general. He thus closes the pathway to a theory of ethics. This is the price which he pays for the possibility of finding the doctrine of freedom from the Law in the doctrine of the atoning death of Jesus. (Schweitzer 1931, 225) But Paul does have an ethical theory. By participating in Christs death and resurrection, the believer becomes a new creation. In principle, the believer is no longer able to sin. However, this participation proceeds gradually making ethics necessary. It is only in so far as a man is purified and liberated from the world that he becomes capable of truly ethical action (Schweitzer 1931, 302). Paul describes ethical action in many ways, including sanctification, giving up the service of sin, and living for God. Love is the highest manifestation of this ethical life. Love is for him not a ray which flashes from one point to another point, but one which is constantly vibrating to and fro [between the believer and God] (Schweitzer 1931, 307). For Schweitzer, there is nothing Hellenistic about belief in the coming of the kingdom of God, Jesus as Messiah, the atoning death, the resurrection, and the saving effect of baptism. However, as Paul worked with these ideas, they became more susceptible to Hellenistic influences, although the Pauls actual ideas especially redemption as resurrection to participation in the kingdom of God themselves are not Hellenistic. After Paul, Christian thought became increasingly Hellenized, reaching a culmination in the gospel of John. For Schweitzer, this Hellenized version of Paul pales in comparison to the original. Pauls thought is deeper and more complex than the Hellenized version: By giving up the conception of dying and rising again with Christ, which has its roots in eschatology, it [the Hellenized version] has become a logical doctrine, immediately apprehensible by Greek thought, of the redemptive work of the Spirit of Christ. [The] original doctrine conceals within it a greater value than the derivative one. In a quite general sense the Pauline mysticism is superior to the Ignatian-Johannine, in that it expresses the relation with Christ experienced by a great personality, whereas the Ignatian-Johannine is the outcome of a theory. The Pauline mysticism possesses an immediacy which the other lacks. (Schweitzer 1931, 372). The Quest of the Historical Jesus Schweitzers Quest of the Historical Jesus is a rejection of the non-historical (according to him) studies of Jesus that were published during his time. For Schweitzer, these interpretations of Jesus projected the authors nineteenth century worldview onto a first century Palestinian man. As a historian, Schweitzer sought to place Jesus his own time period, with all the motivations and agendas that he would have held, regardless of their applicability to the nineteenth century, or their agreement with his personal theology. It is worth quoting Schweitzer at length here: The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb. This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came to the surface on after another, and in spite of all the artifice, art, artificiality, and violence which was applied to them, refused to be planed down to for the design on which the Jesus of theology of the last hundred and thirty years has been constructed [The historical Jesus] will not be a Jesus Christi to whom the religion of the present can ascribe, according to its long-cherished custom, its own thoughts and ideas, as it did with the Jesus of its own making. Nor will He be a figure which can be made by a popular hisotorical treatment so sympathetic and universally intelligible to the multitude. The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma. (Schweitzer 1954, 398ff). Jesus was a product of his time, specifically of the apocalyptic eschatology that was so prevalent, and this Jesus is therefore someone alien to modern humanity. The authors of the canonical gospels projected their communitys ideas of Jesus onto the historical elements of Jesus life, leaving the historian with the task of separating objective fact from other elements. For Schweitzer, this means disregarding the fourth gospel, infancy narratives, and resurrection accounts, leaving us with the three synoptic gospels accounts of Jesus life from the beginning of his ministry to his crucifixion.

In his voluminous study Albert Schweitzer: The Man and His Mind, George Seaver summarizes some of Schweitzers thought on the historical Jesus. Below is a explication of some of the themes of Schweitzers thoughts on Jesus based on Seavers summary of The Quest of The Historical Jesus and The Mystery (not available in English). Messianic Consciousness (Seaver 1959, 196): Regarding the eschatological question, Schweitzer follows the hypothesis known as thoroughgoing eschatology. From his baptism, Jesus knew himself to be the prophesied Messiah, but he kept this a secret until the supernatural confession of Peter. For Schweitzer, Jesus expected the eschaton as a sudden and catastrophic end to come imminently, within his own lifetime. For his fellow-eschatologists, the end was something that would come about supernaturally. For Jesus, though, the end would come about only through a moral restoration, through repentance. The Son of Man (Seaver 1959, 203): Christ made the disciples keep his Messiahship a secret because he was technically not yet the Messiah, but rather the Messiah-to-be. Only with the coming of the eschaton and the Kingdom could Jesus properly be called the Messiah. Until the eschaton, it was Jesus mission to point to the nearness of the Kingdom. Hence, the disciples were not asked to have faith in Jesus, but rather in the coming Kingdom of God. To guarantee their acceptance in the Kingdom, Jesus taught the ethics of love. Jesus used the title Son of Man to describe his role as Messiah. For Jesus, Son of Man refers to himself as the cosmic deliverer that will come on the clouds at the eschaton. Whenever he speaks of the Son of Man, he speaks of him in the third person, to be expected in the future, and always in conjunction with his resurrection or appearance on the clouds. This Son of Man will save those who have sided with Jesus, following his ethic of love. Any Gospel passages that make Son of Man out to be a regular selfdesignation are later additions, not useful to Schweitzers historical study. The Teaching (Seaver 1959, 207): For Schweitzer, the ethical teaching of Jesus was an interim-ethic, specifically applicable to the time immediately preceding the eschaton. Teachings about marriage, property, social reform, and founding a church were read into Jesus original teachings once it became apparent that Jesus was mistaken about the immanence of the Kingdom. The nature parables expressed that the ethical condition of the tiny group of people surrounding Jesus would bring about something as huge as the Kingdom of God. Jesus did not preach that the Kingdom of God would be universalistic. He tells his disciples to preach only to Jews, but the Kingdom would be universalistic in its consummation, with membership in the Kingdom based on spiritual requirements. The Eschatological Perspective (Seaver 1959, 215): Schweitzer uses the metaphor of a sunrise to distinguish between the eternal and temporal aspects of Jesus. Before the sun gets above the horizon, the clouds glow with color. This is how Jesus contemporaries saw his personality. When the clouds are colored most intensely, the sun rises above the horizon, burning away the clouds and diminishing the colors. This is how the primitive church saw Jesus in its eschatological expectation. The sun at noon is a brilliant white that illuminates everything, and the colors of the sunrise are no more. The fact that we view the sun at noon does not mean that we should paint the light of sunrise as we would the light of day. Likewise, the modern views of Jesus death are true in so far as they express Jesus ethical and religious personality in the modes of modern thought, but to project these modern views back to the historical Jesus is fallacious. The historical Jesus cannot be separated from his historical background, and we must view him against this foreign background in order to understand him. The closer we get to understanding the historical Jesus, the more details we must fill in (using our own modern ideas), and the historical Jesus consequently moves away from us. Fortunately, faith in Jesus is not based on any historical knowledge, but rather on contact with the spirit of Jesus. It was in this foreign apocalyptic world-view that eternal truth became incarnate. Indeed, it is because of this world-view that Jesus teachings are true: [That] which is eternal in the words of Jesus is due to the very fact that they are based on an eschatological world-view, and contain the expression of a mind for which the contemporary world with its historical and social circumstances no longer had any existence. They are appropriate, therefore, to any world, for in every world they raise the man who dares to meet their challenge, and does not turn and twist them into meaninglessness, above his world and his time, making him inwardly free, so that he is fitted to be, in his own world and in his own time, a simple channel of the power of Jesus. (Schweitzer as quoted in Seaver 1959, 217) Titles given to Jesus are now archaic, particular to their specific time, at the time expressing the highest concepts of the personality of Jesus. We must remember, though, that Jesus is more than we are able to understand, and a recognition of our inability to comprehend is more reverent than dogmatic expressions of Jesus nature. Schweitzer on Culture and Ethics

For Schweitzer, the question of ethics and the question of culture are inseparable. Culture consists First of all in a lessening of the strain imposed on individuals and on the mass by the struggle for existence. The establishment of as favorable conditions of living as possible for all is a demand which must be made partly for its own sake, partly with a view to the spiritual and moral perfecting of individuals, which is the ultimate object of civilization. (Schweitzer as quoted in Ennslin 23) Culture is necessary for ethical development. Schweitzer offers a critique of culture, though, writing that it has progressed materially, yet lags in values of mind and spirit. The equilibrium between the material and spiritual that is so essential to a positive culture has been destroyed (Ennslin 23). Culture is founded on a world-view (Weltanschauung) which must be restored through ethical volition if the equilibrium between the material and spiritual is to be reinstated. Schweitzer defines world-view as the content of thoughts of society and the individuals which compose it about the nature and object of the world in which they live, and the position and the destiny of mankind and of individual men within it (Scweitzer as quoted in Ennslin 27). While the unethical, materialist view says that there is no hope for the repair of culture, the ethical view maintains the possibility of a rebirth of culture. Even if there never has been such a rebirth in all of history, the ethical spirit must maintain that such a rebirth is possible (Ennslin 26). For Schweitzer, this rebirth is possible through a re-application of past ideals (Ennslin 28). Schweitzers ethic of Reverence for Life is a resolution of the tension between the ethic of self-perfection and the ethic of self-devotion. Self-perfection must look not only inwards (subjectively and passively) to the Source of its being, but also outwards (actively and purposefully) to all the manifestations of Being in the world of sense, in order that man may come into his true relation to the Being that is in him and outside him. Self-devotion must concern itself not only with the relations of the self to his fellows and to society, but also to the whole cosmos of creation of which he forms a part. Ethics are responsibility without limit towards all that lives. (Seaver 1955, 86) The synthesis of self-perfection and self-devotion results in a practical mysticism that justifies a worldaffirming and life-affirming point of view (Seaver 1955, 86). For Schweitzer, Reverence for Life is the concrete living out of piety. By devoting oneself to the beings with which one comes into contact, one devotes oneself to infinite Being, to God. The power behind this Reverence for Life is pity. Schweitzer first thought of Reverence for Life while traveling on a river through a jungle. As he watched the shore pass by, he brooded over the seeming-endless cycle of life feeding on life, giving birth to more life feeding on life, and then dying. Suddenly, he writes, the idea of Reverence for Life struck me like a flash (Schweitzer 1965, 57). The fundamental fact of human awareness is this: I am life that wants to live in the midst of other life that wants to live. A thinking man feels compelled to approach all life with the same reverence he has for his own. Thus all life becomes part of his own experience. From such a point of view, good means to maintain life, to further life, to bring developing life to its highest value. Evil means to destroy life, to hurt life, to keep life from developing. This, then, is the rational, universal, and basic principle of ethics. (Schweitzer 1965, 59) Practically, Reverence for Life dictates the same behaviors as the ethical principle of love. On another level, though, Reverence for Life makes the ethical principle of love rational, and calls for a widening of the circle of compassion to include all life (Schweitzer 1965, 26). Conclusion Schweitzer is known as a theologian, humanitarian, philosopher, musician, musical scholar, historian, ethicist, even a fore-runner of the animal-welfare movement, and truly one of the worlds great souls. In the words of his friend Albert Einstein, Schweitzer did not preach and did not warn and did not dream that his example would be an ideal and comfort to innumerable people. He simply acted out of inner necessity.

http://home.pcisys.net/~jnf/schauth/rq15.html http://home.pcisys.net/~jnf/index.html Reviews of and Quotes From Dr. Schweitzer's Books Here are my reviews of some of Albert Schweitzer's books. It is far from a comprehensive list of Schweitzer's books. All are English translations from French or German. Some of them are out of print, but

generally can be found in a good research library or by a book search from a good used-book dealer. Also included here are reviews of compilations of his writings. See The Albert Schweitzer Page for reviews of books about Dr. Schweitzer and related information. The Quest of the Historical Jesus Written By: Albert Schweitzer Translated By: F. C. Burkitt Reviewed Edition: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998 Paperback, 413 Pages ISBN 0-8018-5934-4 Note: A different translation of The Quest of the Historical Jesus than is reviewed below is available in its entirety online at an Early Christian Writings Page. Quotes This is Dr. Schweitzer's opus on the history of the search for the historical Jesus. Subtitled A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede, the book describes each significant step towards--and many wrong turns away from--an understanding of the historical Jesus (apart from the Christ of faith). Originally published in 1901 when Schweitzer was a young man, the book established his reputation as a theologian. The first 300 pages or so follow a pattern of a summarization of the work of a particular author followed by a critical examination of the work and its influence. The work of well over 50 authors is discussed, with special attention paid to the work of Hermann Samuel Reimarus, David Friedrich Strauss, Christian Hermann Weisse, Bruno Bauer, and Ernest Renan. While heaping praise on those who produced cogent, internally consistent work, Schweitzer does not hesitate to lambast inferior work. Schweitzer's own views come forth in the final 100 pages, where he presents what he calls Thoroughgoing Eschatology. As usual, Schweitzer's writing is clear and concise. However, I found the lengthy discussion of 18th and 19th Century works--none of which I had ever heard of before--rather dry. While experts in the field will no doubt be gratified to finally have this work available again in English, most lay readers interested in the historical Jesus would likely be more interested in The Mystery of the Kingdom of God, which presents Schweitzer's view more forcefully and without the full background material. Quotes from The Quest of the Historical Jesus "But the others, those who tried to bring Jesus to life at the call of love, found it a cruel task to be honest. The critical study of the life of Jesus has been for theology a school of honesty. The world had never seen before, and will never see again, a struggle for truth so full of pain and renunciation as that of which the Lives of Jesus of the last hundred years contain the cryptic record." "When we have once made up our minds that we have not the materials for a complete Life of Jesus, but only for a picture of His public ministry, it must be admitted that there are few characters of antiquity about whom we possess so much indubitably historical information, of whom we have so many authentic discourses." "To say that the fragment on [Reimarus'] The Aims of Jesus and His Disciples is a magnificent piece of work is barely to do it justice. This essay is not only one of the greatest events in the history of criticism, it is also a masterpiece of general literature. ... At times ... it rises to heights of passionate feeling, and then it is as though the fires of a volcano were painting lurid pictures upon dark clouds. Seldom has there been a hate so eloquent, so lofty a scorn; but then it is seldom that a work has been written in the just consciousness of so absolute a superiority to contemporary opinion." "There is silence all around. The Baptist appears, and cries: 'Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' Soon after that comes Jesus, and in the knowledge that He is the coming Son of Man lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which is to bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and He throws Himself upon it. Then it does turn; and crushes Him. Instead of bringing in the eschatological conditions, He has destroyed them. The wheel rolls onward, and the mangled body of the one immeasurably great Man, who was strong enough to think of Himself as the spiritual ruler of mankind and to bend history to His purpose, is hanging upon it still. That is His victory and His reign."

"For a hundred and fifty years the question has been historically discussed why Judas betrayed his Master. That the main question for history was what he betrayed was suspected by few and they touched on it only in a timid kind of way ... The traitorous act of Judas cannot of consisted in informing the Sanhedrin where Jesus was to be found at a suitable place for an arrest. ... The betrayal by which he brought his Master to death, in consequence of which the rulers decided upon the arrest, knowing that their cause was safe in any case, was the betrayal of the Messianic secret. Jesus died because two of His disciples had broken His command of silence; Peter when he made known the secret of the Messiahship to the Twelve at Caesarea Philippi; Judas Iscariot by communicating it to the High Priest. But the difficulty was that Judas was the sole witness. Therefore the betrayal was useless so far as the actual trial was concerned unless Jesus admitted the charge. So they first tried to secure His condemnation on other grounds, and only when these attempts broke down did the High Priest put, in the form of a question, the charge in support of which he could have brought no witnesses. But Jesus immediately admitted it, and strengthened the admission by an allusion to His Parousia in the near future as the Son of Man. The betrayal and the trial can be rightly understood when it is realized that the public knew nothing whatever of the secret of the Messiahship." "The study of the Life of Jesus has had a curious history. It set out in quest of the historical Jesus, believing that when it had found Him it could bring Him straight into our time as a Teacher and Saviour. ... But He does not stay; He passes by our time and returns to His own. ... He returned to His own time, not owing to the application of any historical ingenuity, but by the same inevitable necessity by which the liberated pendulum returns to its original position. ... Jesus means something to our world because a mighty spiritual force streams forth from Him and flows through our time also. This fact can neither be shaken nor confirmed by any historical discovery. It is the solid foundation of Christianity." "He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: 'Follow thou me!' and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is." http://singinginthereign.blogspot.com/2008/03/brown-on-schweitzer-ironies-nietzsche.html Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Brown on Schweitzer: Ironies, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard Colin Brown, my dissertation supervisor, has an amazing encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Jesus research. I highly recommend his work, Jesus in European Protestant Thought, 1778-1860 (Studies in Historical Theology, Vol. 1; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988). Here I want to excerpt a section on Albert Schweitzer in his article "Historical Jesus, Quest of," in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (ed., J. B. Green, et. al.; Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 326-41: ___________________________________________ There were certain ironies in Schweitzer's position. Although Schweitzer was concerned with critical history, he made no attempt to deal critically with sources. He accepted the Synoptic narrative more or less at face value (though with a preference for Mark supplemented by Matthew, understood in a nonsupernatural way). Consistent eschatology was the connecting theme which gave the story credibility as history, though not as something to be believed in the twentieth century. Schweitzer himself did not accept the eschatological views of Jesus and the Gospels any more than did Johannes Weiss or the the liberal scholars who treated them as a husk to be discarded. The Quest [for the Historical Jesus] (403) concludes by remarking on how good it was that the 'true historical Jesus should overthrow the modern Jesus.' Jesus was not a teacher, but 'an imperious rule,' as can be seen from his belief in himself as the Son of man. However, titles like Messiah, Son of man, Son of God, are merely 'historical parables.' 'We can find no designation which expresses what He is for us.' Jesus comes to us 'as One unknown,' summoning followers and setting new tasks in each generation. Those who

follow shall learn 'as an ineffable mystery' in their own experience 'Who He is.' For Schweitzer himself, this meant life as a medical missionary in West Africa, guided by a philosophy based on 'reverence for life.' If Harnack's historical Jesus was a reflection of the liberal Protestant scholar, Schweitzer's had an element of the heroic 'superman' of Nietzsche, a philosopher whom Schweitzer admired... The monumental character of Schweitzer's Quest is apt to conceal its omissions and apologetic character. It is no clear that the enterprise did not begin with Reimarus, but with the English deists on whom Reimarus had heavily drawn and whose ideas were already well known in Germany. Among the British writers cited by Reimarus in his Apology were Toland, Shaftesbury, Collins, Tindal, Morgan and Middleton. His personal library included most of the English deists. Hobbes, Spinoza, and Hume were among the philosophers who had already raised doubts about the historical reliability of the NT picture of Jesus. Schweitzer's work took little account of the interplay between philosophy and theology, especially the influence of Kant, though Schweitzer himself had already written a dissertation on Kant's Philosophy of Religion from the Critique of Pure Reason to Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone (1899). Schweitzer confined his attention largely to works in German, plus a few in French. Having adopted the methodological principle, allegedly forced upon him by Strauss, of working strictly with the 'historical' which was juxtaposed to the 'supernatural,' the work of systematic theologians could safely be left out of the account. Consequently, scant attention was paid to the Mediating School of theologians like I. A. Dorner (1809-94) whose History of the Development of Doctrine of the Person of Christ (ET 5 vols., 186163) concluded with an attempt to restate christology drawing on contemporary philosophy. Also ignored were the confessional theologians, like J. C. K. von Hofmann (1810-77) and Gottfried Thomasius (180275)... It was perhaps inevitable that not only Schweitzer but also nineteenth-century theologians in general ignored the thought of the Danish philosopher Sren Kierkegaard (1813-55) whose works remained largely inaccessible until the twentieth century. Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments (1844) provided a counterpart to the Fragments of Reimarus. Kierkegaard asked what conditions would have to be fulfilled if God intended to save human beings. He replied that God might communicate with human beings by becoming human and thus utterly like them. This entaills the paradoxical conclusion that, in reaching out to human beings in history, God remains incognito in Christ... Posted by Michael Barber at 1:41 PM Labels: Colin Brown, Historical Jesus, Schweitzer http://www.nobleworld.biz/images/Hull.pdf