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Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von

(1749–1832). B. Frankfurt am Main, Ger.; poet. In early life instructed in the Bible by his mother; later inclined toward pantheistic (see Pantheism) view of nature; his high regard for classical antiquity resulted mainly from his It. journey 1786–88. He had no true conception of the character of sin, no appreciation of the Christian doctrine of redemption. Self-redemption is achieved by striving to comprehend the secrets of nature and penetrating the essence of things. That is salvation by works, as he says in Faust (II, v., 11936–7): “Whoe'er aspires unendingly is not beyond redeeming” (“Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den können wir erlösen”). Goethe was essentially a rationalist given to syncretism* in religion. See also Schiller, Johann Christoph Friedrich von.


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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