Georg Friedrich Daumer 1800 - 1875
September 21, 2008
Georg Friedrich Daumer was a schoolmaster and an expert on the history of religion, and a gifted translator, poet and philosopher.
Georg Friedrich Daumer was born on March 5, 1800, in Nuremberg, Bavaria. Daumer began studying theology in Erlangen in 1817. He joined a pietistic circle of students, to which the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach later belonged.
Because his preaching concept was criticized as either too rationalistic or too mystical by his professors, he quit his theological studies and began studying philology in Leipzig.
From 1823 until 1828, Daumer worked as a professor at the Gymnasium in Nuremberg. He taught the famous foundling Kaspar Hauser from 1828 to 1831. Daumer assumed that this mysterious boy could be the son of Grand Duke Karl of Baden, who was born in 1812, and he wrote four essays on the obscure origin and development of Kaspar Hauser.
He began publishing mainly religious-philosopical writings in 1832. These sharply criticized Protestant Christianity and especially Pietism and were influenced primarily by the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.
In 1847, his main work appeared, Die Geheimnisse des christlichen Alterthums (The Secrets of Christian Antiquity), in which Daumer even criticized the person of Jesus Christ, in contrast to the later Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, who never did. He described his own very Romantic world view as “theistic naturalism” or “theistic materialism.”
Although he is usually regarded as an opponent of the theologist and philosopher David Friedrich Strauss, Daumer can be considered his precursor in relation to David Friedrich Strauss’ method of Bible criticism.
Besides his religious-philosophical writings, he also published love poetry and translations of oriental poetry, including Hafis. Eine Sammlung persischer Gedichte, in which he (quite freely) translated the poetry of Hafez, a Persian poet and mystic from the 14th century.
Many of his poems and translations were set to music by Johannes Brahms, keeping them alive into the present day. In 1856, Daumer moved to Frankfurt am Main, then later to Würzburg, where he worked as a private scholar until his death. Daumer died in Würzburg on December 13, 1875.
In 1817 he entered the University of Erlangen as a student of theology, but abandoned that study for philosophy.
For a number of years Daumer was professor at the gymnasium of Nuremberg; owing to ill-health he was pensioned in 1832 and henceforth devoted himself entirely to literary work.
While at Erlangen he came strongly under the influence of Pietism. Soon, however, he became sceptical and exhibited decided leanings towards pantheism. From an orthodox Protestant he gradually became a bitter enemy of Christianity, which he attacked in a number of writings and for which he strove to substitute a new religion “of love and peace”, formulated in his work Religion des neuen Weltalters (Hamburg, 1850).
Previous to this he had published a number of works, all of a distinctly anti-theological tendency, of which the more important are: “Philosophie, Religion, und Altertum” (Nuremberg, 1833); “Züge zu einer neuen Philosophie der Religion und Religionsgeschichte” (Nuremberg, 1835); “Der Feuer-und Molochdienst der Hebraer” (Brunswick, 1842); “Die Geheimnisse des christlichen Altertums” (Hamburg, 1847).
Shortly after 1850 Daumer left Nuremberg and settled at Frankfort, where a great change soon came over him. In 1858 at Mainz he publicly embraced the Catholic Faith and thenceforth became its zealous defender. Among the works written after his conversion are: “Meine Konversion” (Mainz, 1859); “Aus der Mansarde” (1860-62); “Das Christentum und sein Urheber” (Mainz, 1864); “Das Wunder, seine Bedeutung, Wahrheit und Notwendigkeit” (Ratisbon, 1874). The last mentioned work is directed expressly against the opinions of David Friedrich Strauss.
Undoubtedly the best part of Daumer’s work is his poetry. His “Hafis” (Hamburg, 1846; a second collection, 1852) contains graceful but very free imitations of the songs of the famous Persian poet. In fact, these poems are really original productions, and some of them have become widely known through the musical settings of Johannes Brahms.
This collection, as well as “Mahomed und sein Werk” (Hamburg, 1848), is distinctly directed against the hypocrisy and asceticism which at that time Daumer believed to be inseparable from orthodox Christianity. Among other poems may be mentioned: “Glorie der heiligen Jungfrau Maria” (Nuremberg, 1841); “Frauenbilder und Huldigungen” (Leipzig, 1853); “Marianische Legenden und Gedichte” (Munster, 1859) and “Schone Seelen” (Mainz, 1862).
Kaspar Hauser was given to the care of Friedrich Daumer, a schoolmaster and speculative philosopher, who taught him various subjects and thereby discovered his talent for drawing. He appeared to flourish in this environment.
Daumer also subjected him to homeopathic treatments (which were reported in the British Journal of Homeopathy and in Homeopathy Explained by John Henry Clarke) and magnetic experiments.
As Ludwig Feuerbach told the story, “When Professor Daumer held the north pole towards him, Caspar put his hand to the pit of his stomach, and, drawing his waistcoat in an outward direction, said that it drew him thus; and that a current of air seemed to proceed from him. The south pole affected him less powerfully; and he said that it blew upon him.”
On October 17, 1829, Hauser did not come to the midday meal, but was found bleeding from a cut wound on the forehead, in the cellar of Daumer’s house. He asserted that while sitting on the privy he had been attacked and wounded by a hooded man who had also threatened him with the words: “You still have to die ere you leave the city of Nuremberg.” Hauser said that by the voice he had recognized the man as the one who had brought him to Nuremberg.
As was obvious from his blood trail, Hauser had at first fled to the first floor where his room was, but then instead of moving on to his caretakers, he had returned downstairs, and had climbed through a trap door into the cellar. Alarmed officials called for a police escort and transferred him to the care of Johann Biberbach, one of the municipal authorities.
The alleged attack on Hauser also fueled rumors about his possible descent from the House of Baden. Hauser’s critics are of the opinion that he had inflicted the wound on himself with a razor, which he then had brought back to his room before he betook himself to the cellar. He might have done so to arouse pity and thus escape chiding for a recent quarrel with Daumer, who had come to believe that the boy had a tendency to lie.
[https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com/webcd/app?action=DocumentDisplay&crawlid=1&doctype=cite&docid=29+Legal+Stud.+Forum+923&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=1c673c817e48ba2f6ce98cf71b43866c CRIMES GONE BY: Collected Essays of Albert Borowitz 1966-2005: Music and Crime: SALIERI AND THE “MURDER” OF MOZART 2005, 29 Legal Stud. Forum 923. Copyright (c) 2005 American Legal Studies Association, The Legal Studies Forum] The Masonic murder of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a theory which apparently originated in 1861 by Georg Friedrich Daumer, a researcher of antiquities and religious polemicist… The case against the Freemasons takes a number of lines. Daumer claimed that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had not fully carried out Masonry’s “party line” in The Magic Flute.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in his view, had offended the Masons by his excessive attachment to the figure of the Queen of the Night and by his use of Christian religious music in the chorale of the Men of Armor.
Daumer also believed that the murder thwarted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s plan to establish his own secret lodge, to be called “The Grotto.” Daumer… related Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s death to other murders of famous men in which they likewise see the Masonic hand at work. Daumer’s conviction of the correctness of his view of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s death was reinforced by his belief that the Freemasons had also murdered Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Leopold II, and Gustav III of Sweden (who was assassinated at the famous masked ball only a few months after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s death).
… Karl Marx delivered a speech on the subject:
“We know that the supreme thing in Christianity is human sacrifice. Daumer now proves in a recently published work that Christians really slaughtered men and at the Holy Supper ate human flesh and drank human blood.
“He finds here the explanation why the Romans, who tolerated all religious sects, persecuted the Christians, and why the Christians later destroyed the entire pagan literature directed against Christianity.
“Paul himself zealously argued against the admission to the Holy Supper of people who were not completely initiated into the mysteries.
“It is then also easy to explain where, for example, the relics of the 11,000 virgins came from; there is a document dating from the Middle Ages in which the nuns of a French convent made a contract with the Abbess to the effect that without the consent of all no further relics must be found.
“The occasion for this was given by a monk who was constantly traveling from Cologne to Paris and back and every time left relics behind.
“Everything that happened in this respect has been regarded as a fraud of the priests, but that would be to attribute to them a skill and cleverness far beyond the time in which they lived. Human sacrifice was sacred and has really existed.
“Protestantism merely transferred it to the spiritual man and mitigated the thing a little. Hence there are more madmen among Protestants than in any other sect.
“This story, as presented in Daumer’s work, deals Christianity the last blow; the question now is, what significance this has for us. It gives us the certainty that the old society is coming to an end and that the edifice of fraud and prejudice is collapsing.