Strauss, David Friedrich

Strauss, David Friedrich

Strauss, David Friedrich, 1808-74, German theologian and philosopher. In Berlin he studied (1831-32) Hegelian philosophy. As tutor at Tübingen he lectured on Hegel, modern philosophy, and Plato. His Das Leben Jesu (2 vol., 1835-36) aroused much interest because it applied the "myth theory" to the life of Jesus, treated the Gospel narrative like any other historical work, and denied all supernatural elements in the Gospels. It was translated into English in 1846 by George Eliot. In 1839, Strauss was appointed to a post at the Univ. of Zürich, but public opposition prevented him from taking it. His other theological writings include Die Christliche Glaubenslehre (2 vol., 1840-41) and Der alte und der neue Glaube (1872; tr. The Old Faith and the New, 1873). His writings mark a turning point in the critical study of the life of Jesus. Strauss was also the author of critical biographies of Ulrich von Hutten (3 vol., 1858-60) and Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1862).

See study by H. Harris (1974).

Strauss or Strauß is a common German surname. It occurs in the spellings Strauß, Strauss, Straus, Strouse (an English transliteration), or Štraus (a Czech or Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian transliteration). In Switzerland, and outside the German-speaking countries, Strauß is usually spelled Strauss, since the letter ß exists only in the German alphabet, but is not used in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Possible misspellings include Straub and Stras. Commonly misinterpreted as Straße or Strasse, the German word for street, many emigrants to America or England were renamed Street.

The origin of the name lies possibly in the Middle High German word strûz, meaning "fight". Alternatively, it may have been adopted for individuals with a long neck, in allusion to "straussenvogel", i.e. an "ostrich".



  • Isidor Straus (aka Isador Straus), owner of R.H. Macy Co. and US Representative; he and his wife Ida, died when the RMS Titanic sank.
  • Levi (Loeb) Strauss (1829–1902), Bavaria-born American entrepreneur known for blue jeans.
  • Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss (1896-1974) American businessman and chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.
  • Harry L. Straus, American electrical engineer, horse and cattle breeder, sportsman, entrepreneur and computer pioneer.
  • Nathan Straus, German-American Jewish merchant and philanthropist. Brother of Isador Straus
  • Roger W. Straus, Jr., co-founder of New York book publishing company Farrar, Straus and Giroux.



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Austrian family of composers associated with the Viennese waltz:


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