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Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872)
German philosopher and moralist remembered for his influence on Karl Marx and for his humanistic theologizing.
Ludwig Feuerbach abandoned theological studies to become a student of philosophy under G.W.F. Hegel for two years at Berlin. In 1828 he went to Erlangen to study natural science, and two years later his first book, "Thoughts on Death and Immortality", was published anonymously. In this work Feuerbach attacked the concept of personal immortality and proposed a type of immortality by which human qualities are reabsorbed into nature. His "On Philosophy and Christianity", in which he claimed "that Christianity has in fact long vanished not only from the reason but from the life of mankind, that it is nothing more than a fixed idea." Continuing this view in his most important work, "The Essence of Christianity", Feuerbach posited the notion that man is to himself his own object of thought and religion nothing more than a consciousness of the infinite. The result of this view is the notion that God is merely the outward projection of man's inward nature.
Although Feuerbach denied that he was an atheist, he nevertheless contended that the God of Christianity is an illusion. As he expanded his discussion to other disciplines, including philosophy, he came to see Hegel's principles as quasi-religious and embraced instead a form of materialism that Marx subsequently criticized in his Thesen über Feuerbach (written 1845). Attacking religious orthodoxy during the politically turbulent years of 1848–49, Feuerbach was seen as a hero by many of the revolutionaries. His influence was greatest on such anti-Christian publicists as David Friedrich Strauss, author of the skeptical "The Life of Jesus Critically Examined", and Bruno Bauer, who, like Feuerbach, had abandoned Hegelianism for naturalism.

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