Hamann, Johann Georg

Hamann, Johann Georg yōˈhän gāˈôrk häˈmən [key], 1730–88, German Protestant theologian, b. Königsberg (now Kaliningrad). Although opposed to the rationalism of Kant and the German Enlightenment of Herder and Lessing, he was highly esteemed by the leading thinkers of his day. He was an advocate of religious immediacy, stressing the rights of the individual personality and the importance of inner religious experience. For Hamann, faith was the faculty of perceiving God's acts in history and His works in nature. Because of the aphoristic and occasional nature of his writings, he was called “The Magus of the North.” His works, chief of which are Sokratische Denkwürdigkeiten (1759), Aesthetica in nuce (1761), and Golgatha und Scheblimini (1784), greatly influenced Søren Kierkegaard.

See studies by R. G. Smith (1960), J. C. O'Flaherty (1952, repr. 1966), and W. M. Alexander (1966).

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