Bruno Bauer

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Bruno Bauer (September 6, 1809 – April 13, 1882) was a German theologian, philosopher and historian. Bauer investigated the sources of the New Testament and concluded that early Christianity owed more to ancient Greek philosophy (Stoicism) than to Judaism.[1] Starting in 1840, he began a series of works arguing that Jesus was a myth, a 2nd-century fusion of Jewish, Greek, and Roman theology.[2]



Bauer was the son of a painter in a porcelain factory and his wife at Eisenberg in Saxe-Altenburg.

Bauer studied at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin from Spring 1828 to Spring 1832. He became associated with the so-called Right Hegelians under Philip Marheineke, for whom he was allowed to edit the second edition of Hegel's lectures on the philosophy of religion. In 1834 he began to teach in Berlin as a licentiate of theology, and in 1839 was transferred to the University of Bonn.

In 1838 he published his Kritische Darstellung der Religion des Alten Testaments (2 vols.), a work that shows he was still faithful to the Hegelian Right. Soon afterward his opinions underwent a change to the Hegelian left. In three works, one on the Fourth Gospel, Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte des Johannes (1840), and the other on the Synoptics, Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker (1841), as well as in his Herr Dr. Hengstenberg. Kritische Briefe über den Gegensatz des Gesetzes und des Evangeliums (1839), he declared rejection of his earlier orthodoxy.

That explains why Bauer was first called a "Right Hegelian" (cf. David Strauss, In Defense of My 'Life of Jesus' Against the Hegelians, 1838) but later is associated with the radical Young Hegelians or "Left Hegelians". From 1839-1841, Bauer was a teacher, mentor and close friend of Karl Marx, but in 1841 they came to a break. Marx began to reject Bauer from a position even more leftist, as expressed in two books he wrote along with Friedrich Engels in the 1840s: German Ideology and Holy Family.

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