Albert Schwegler

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Albert Schwegler (born February 10, 1819 in Michelbach an der Bilz , † January 6, 1857 in Tübingen) was a theologian , philosopher and historian.

Live and act

Albert Schwegler was born as the eldest son of the Württemberg pastor Matthäus Eberhard Schwegler (1793–1839) and his wife Friederike Henriette. Prestel (1796–1862) was born on February 10, 1819 in Michelbach an der Bilz near Schwäbisch Hall . He had 8 younger siblings and the family was poor. Therefore, a career as a clergyman was planned for him. At first his father taught him, but from 1828 he attended the Latin school in Schwäbisch Hall. From October 1832 to 1836 he then attended the seminar in Schöntal and from 1836 the Tübingen monastery and the University of Tübingen. During this time Schwegler also took part in student union life.

The time of his graduation in 1840 was marked by bitter disputes between the dominant conservative circles of the Evangelical Church in Württemberg on the one hand and the historically critical " Tübingen School " influenced by Hegel around the church historian Ferdinand Christian Baur on the other. Schwegler's most important academic teacher, the theologian and critic of religion David Friedrich Strauss , also emerged from the “Tübingen School”, which is significant in the history of theology . During his studies he met the left Hegelians Friedrich Theodor Vischer (1807-1887) as a lecturer in philosophy, Christian Friedrich Schmid (1794-1852) and Isaak August Dorner (1809-1884) as a lecturer in theology. A scholarship enabled the student to travel extensively to Germany with a longer stay in Berlin. In 1841 Schwegler received his doctorate from the Philosophical Faculty of Berlin University on the basis of a treatise on the philopatris of the ancient philosopher and writer Lucian of Samosata .

In the same year he published his first work on church history, The Montanism and the Christian Church of the 2nd Century (1841), with which he already gained scientific renown. He then returned to Schwäbisch Hall in the fall of 1842, from where he tried in vain for a job. As a supporter of Hegel, he had no prospect of a job in the Württemberg regional church, although he was the best of his year and had won several prizes. As a private lecturer in philosophy and philology, after his habilitation on Plato on the subject of "On the Composition of the Platonic Symposium", he led a poor outsider existence in Tübingen from 1843 onwards. Together with Eduard Zeller (1814–1908) and Karl Christian Planck (1819–1880) , he then founded the “Contemporary Yearbooks”. Until 1848 he edited this well-known literary magazine, for which u. a. Friedrich Theodor Vischer , Ludwig Feuerbach , Johann Gustav Droysen and Jakob Friedrich Reiff wrote. He saw himself, as became clear in his scientific contributions, committed to the ideals of the Vormärz. In 1844 Schwegler published a history of early Christianity that was praised for its "masterful presentation". From theology, in which he had not been able to gain a professional position, he turned to classical studies in 1846 after a trip to Italy. His Outline History of Philosophy, begun in 1846/47 as a kind of side work , developed into a standard work that was translated into several foreign languages ​​and reissued until the 1950s. In between he worked on the metaphysics of Aristotle , which appeared in four volumes by 1848.

But it was not until the March Revolution of 1848 that Schwegler was appointed professor of “Roman Literature and Antiquities” in Tübingen, which took place on July 4th. The work on a monumental “Roman story” became more and more part of his life, the first volume of which he was able to present in 1853 with a length of 800 pages. He completed the second volume in 1856 with a similar size of 755 pages. His private existence, however, remained crisis-ridden: The bachelor got lonely, withdrew from public life, immersed himself completely in his studies and died - probably due to this overload - at the age of thirty-eight on January 6, 1857. He was buried in the Tübingen city cemetery.

In the following year, the third volume of Roman history was made from his estate, already ready for printing, by Dr. FF Baur published. After his untimely death, Schwegler was honored as "a man of very unusual talent who achieved great things wherever he intervened". Nevertheless, it was soon forgotten. His church history work was overshadowed by Ferdinand Christian Baur and David Friedrich Strauss , the "Roman History" by Theodor Mommsen . Apart from the history of philosophy , his works have only found recognition in the specialist field. A History of Greek Philosophy appeared posthumously in 1859 (edited by Karl Reinhold von Köstlin ).


  • Montanism and the Christian Church of the 2nd Century , Tübingen 1841.
  • The main moments of its development after the post-apostolic age , Tübingen 1846.
  • History of Philosophy in Outline , in: New Encyclopedia of Sciences and Arts, 1846–1847
    • History of philosophy in outline. A guide to overview, Stuttgart: Franckh, 1848.
    • Seventh edition: Stuttgart: Conradi, 1870.
    • Fourteenth edition: Stuttgart: Conradi, 1887.
    • History of philosophy in outline. A guide to the overview. New edition, reviewed and supplemented by Jakob Stern (Reclams Universal-Bibliothek. Volume 2541/2545), Leipzig: Reclam, undated [1889].
    • Sixteenth edition, revised from the 15th edition edited by R. Koeber, Stuttgart: Frommann, 1905.
    • Seventeenth edition. Reviewed and supplemented by Hermann Glockner , Stuttgart: Frommann, 1950.
  • The Metaphysics of Aristotle , 1847
  • Roman history
    • Vol. 1 Roman History in the Age of Kings , Abth. 1, Tübingen 1853.
    • Vol. 1 Roman History in the Age of Kings , Abth. 2, Tübingen 1853.
    • Vol. 2 Roman history in the age of the struggle of the classes , 1st half From the founding of the republic to the Decemvirate , Tübingen 1856.
    • Vol. 3 Roman history in the age of the struggle of the classes , 2nd half From the first Decemvirate to the Licinian laws , Tübingen 1858.
  • Mary Magdalene in Gnostic Scriptures
  • History of Greek Philosophy , Tübingen 1859.
    • Third, increased and improved edition, Freiburg / Tübingen: Mohr, 1882.


Web links

Commons : History of Philosophy in Outline  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. He initially joined the royal company Roigel , but later switched to the so-called genius corps, which was absorbed in Normannia .
  2. WSTeuffel, Schwegler Albert, General German Biography, 1891:
  3. Alf Christophersen, Albert Schwegler, Neue Deutsche Biographie, Volume 24, 2010 in: