BAUER Bruno—philosopher, theologian, and publicist, the chief representative of the Hegelian left, b. November 6, 1809 in Eisenberg, d. April 13, 1882 in Rixdorf near Berlin.
Bauer studied in Berlin and attended Hegel’s lectures on the philosophy of religion. From 1834 to 1844 Bauer lectured at universities in Berlin and Bonn.
Bauer’s major works are: Kritik der ewangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker (I–III, 1841–1842); Kritik der ewangelischen Geschichte des Johannes (1840).
In Bauer’s work the Hegelian idea of the development of the absolute idea is changed into the thesis that the absolute spirit develops gradually with the development of humanity. He rejected the Hegelian absolute idea, although he still treated consciousness as an absolute. According to Bauer, the most essential element in Hegel’s thought was the deification of human consciousness, the personification of which is the rational critic. He thought that every political, philosophical, and religious system is the product of a particular epoch, which in the future becomes an irrational system that hinders the development of consciousness. Bauer criticized the Christian religion and denied the credibility and historical veracity of the Gospels. He was the founder of a theological school in Tübingen.
His first work was a critique of D. F. Strauss’ book, Das Leben Jesu. Bauer radicalized his own views to such a degree that he stated that Christ is only a fictional figure. He also presented a critique of social and political institutions, and religious and artistic views. He regarded himself as an antirevolutionary and exhorted others to critical-intellectual activity. In his work The Holy Family against Bruno Bauer and the partnership (1870), he criticized K. Marx and F. Engels.
F. Engels, Bruno B. a wczesne chrześcijaństwo [Bruno B. and early Christianity], Kr 1956; G. Kunze, Bruno B. der Meister der theologischen Kritik [Bruno B. the master of theological critique], Neu-Finkenkrug 1931; Philosophisches Wörterbuch, St 1943, 4; R. Panasiuk, Lewica heglowska [The Hegelian left], Wwa 1969; L. S. Stepelevick, REPh I 664–666.