Arthur Drews
Christian Heinrich Arthur Drews [pronounced "drefs"] (November 1, 1865-July 19, 1935) was a German philosopher, writer, and important representative of German Monist
Monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry. Accordingly, some philosophers may hold that the universe is one rather than dualistic or pluralistic...

 thought. He was born in Uetersen
Uetersen ) is a city in the district of Pinneberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated approx. south of Elmshorn, and northwest of Hamburg at the small river Pinnau, close to the Elbe river...

, Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

, present day Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


Drews became professor of philosophy and German at the Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe. During his career he wrote widely on a variety of subjects, often provoking controversy—in part because of his unorthodox ideas on religion, and in part because of his repeated attacks on the philosophy of Nietzsche—and was instrumental in the rise of the German Faith Movement
German Faith Movement
The German Faith Movement was closely associated with Jakob Wilhelm Hauer during the Third Reich and sought to move Germany away from Christianity towards a religion based on "immediate experience" of God...


Christ Myth

Along with Bruno Bauer
Bruno Bauer
Bruno Bauer was a German philosopher and historian. As a student of GWF Hegel, Bauer was a radical Rationalist in philosophy, politics and Biblical criticism...

, Arthur Drews is one of the best known representative of the Christ myth theory, which disputes the existence of a historical Jesus
Historicity of Jesus
The historicity of Jesus concerns how much of what is written about Jesus of Nazareth is historically reliable, and whether the evidence supports the existence of such an historical figure...

. His work Die Christusmythe ("The Christ Myth") (1909) expounded this theory, arguing that the figure of "Christ" arose from mystical and apocalyptic ideas of the period, that indeed everything about the story of Jesus had a mythical character, and that it was therefore not necessary to presuppose that a historical Jesus had ever existed. The book caused considerable controversy, drawing Drews into many public debates which often became emotionally charged. Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer
Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

 dedicated a chapter to Drews's thesis in his Life of Jesus (1913) and Nikolai Berdyaev
Nikolai Berdyaev
Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev was a Russian religious and political philosopher.-Early life and education:Berdyaev was born in Kiev into an aristocratic military family. He spent a solitary childhood at home, where his father's library allowed him to read widely...

 observed that Drews, "in his capacity as a religious anti-Semite", argued against the historical existence of Jesus "for the religious life of Aryanism."

On Nietzsche and Nazism

Drews also offered a critique of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

 in his article "Nietzsche als Philosoph des Nationalsozialismus? ("Nietzsche as philosopher of National Socialism?") in the journal Nordische Stimmen 4 (1934: 172-79). There Drews condemned Nietzsche as an "enemy of everything German", as an individualist whose thought was antithetical to National Socialism, and for granting the Jews a prominent place in his political philosophy.

Drews lamented that "most people today who make statements about Nietzsche are only picking the 'raisins' out of the cake of his 'philosophy' and, given his aphoristic way of writing, have no clear idea at all about the context of his thoughts."

German Faith Movement

Drews ultimately embraced a form of Germanic Neopaganism
Germanic Neopaganism
Germanic neopaganism is the contemporary revival of historical Germanic paganism. Precursor movements appeared in the early 20th century in Germany and Austria. A second wave of revival began in the early 1970s...

 and was instrumental in early attempts during the Nazi era to unite the various German pagan organizations into a unified body. It was in this period that Drews wrote Deutsche Religion, a book that has been described as a "[w]ork on the ‘new’ German religion that mixes faith and Nazi mysticism."

Drews died on 19 July 1935 in Illenau bei Bühl
Bühl (Baden)
The city of Bühl is part of the district of Rastatt in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It has a history reaching back to the twelfth century and was formerly an agricultural town, especially famous for its plums...

, Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

at the age of 70.

Literary works

  • Die deutsche Spekulation seit Kant, 2 vols., 1893
  • Die Christusmythe 1909
  • Die Petruslegende, 1910
  • Das Markusevangelium, 1921
  • Einfuehrung in die Philosophie, 1922
  • Psychologie des Unbewussten, 1924
  • Deutsche Religion, 1934

External links

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