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136 BOOK REVIEWS terns; rather it is precisely through Schelling and through his partner, Franz von Baader, that the specifically Roman Catholic synthesis for Romanticism emerges, namely one drawn from the new natural sciences and from the older medieval and baroque mysticisms. Ten years ago Dietrich's book would have stood alone as a rich and helpful guide in this period of Roman Catholic theology. In ·the past decade there has been considerable growth in interest in the previously unknown terrain of the .centuries of Catholic theology since Trent. Scholarship in Germany has moved on, having left the field of nineteenth century theology to pursue that of Catholic Enlightenment figures. Even now Dietrich's book is a welcome guide and a rich source for anyone interested in what he suggests is the theological background of the contemporary theological renewal of Roman Catholicism. University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana THOMAS FRANKLIN O'MEARA, O.P. Johann Georg Hamann. By JAM:Es· C. O'FLAHERTY. (Twayne World Authors Series.) Boston: Twayne, 1979. Pp. 199. $14.95. The author of this monograph is America's leading Hamann scholar. The fact that he is also one of the very few American Hamann scholars, if not indeed almost the only one, attests to the limited attention accorded the " Magus of the North " oii this continent. For this there are good reasons. Hegel, one of his first serious critics-he wrote a long review of Roth's edition of Hamann's Schriften (1821-25)-called his writings an " exhausting enigma," a judgment in which anyone who ventures to try to read them will heartily concur. Yet Hamann is eminently worthy of our serious attention, as 0'F1aherty has been telling us ever since he first published his Chicago doctoral dissertation, Unity and Language: A Study in the Philosophy of Hamann in 1952 (reprint 1966). In 1967, he published with the Johns Hopkins Press a translation and commentary of the Socratic Memorabilia, continuing his work of enlightenment for the English-speaking reader. Aside from this, however, the only things Englished from Hamann's writings seem to be those in thP book by Ronald Gregor Smith, J. G. Hamann 1730-1788: A Study in Christian Existence (19!)0). But an important study of Hamann's theology, God and Man in the Thought of Hamann, by Walter Leibrecht, has been translated into English by J. H. Stamm and M. H. Bertram (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966). BOOK REVIEWS 137 Who was Hamann and what was he up toT Born 1730 in Konigsberg in East. Prussia as the son of the city " Bader" (barber-surgeon), he entered the local university at the age of 16, studying first theology, then law. Upon leaving the university without a degree after a three year course of study, he became, like many indigent young scholars of the day, a private tutor of children of the nobility. In 1756, the wholesaling firm of Berens, in Riga, with whom he had friendly connections, sent him on a journey to London for reasons that are still unclear. He arrived in the British capital in April, 1757, and attempted to carry out his mission (it had something to do with the Russian embassy), but it seems to have been shrugged off with amusement. Hamann was near despair at his failure and sought to drown his sorrow in dissipation. He remained in London, falling in with a fast crowd (homosexuals from all indications) and gradually slipped into quite desperate straits. His inveterate bookishness was his salvation. Closeted in his room, he read the English Bible from cover to cover and then read it again. In it he saw the record not only of the history of Israel but also of his own life. He felt himself directly addressed by the Word, a sinner, "the fratricide of God's only begotten Son,'' who was now offered salvation through faith. God, he thought, had spoken to him, and he answered: " Here I am." This experience decided the course of his career as a writer by making him see his age, the era of Enlightenment, to whose ideas he had up to then willingly subscribed, from a wholly new angle. It was...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 136-142
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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