A Footnote on the History of Philosophy

Friedrich Harms (* 24. Oktober 1819 in Kiel; † 5. April 1880 in Berlin) was a German philosopher (see https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Harms). After his death, some books from his inheritance were published by Dr. Heinrich Wiese (Metaphysik (Breslau 1885); Methode des akademischen Studiums (Leipzig 1885); Naturphilosophie (1885); Logik (Leipzig 1886); Begriff, Formen und Grundlegung der Rechtsphilosophie (1889); Ethik (1889) und Psychologie (1897).)

One of these books, the “Naturphilosophie”, from the library of my great-aunt, Martha Schröder, has found its way into my own library. The book contains a hand-written dedication of Heinricht Wiese to my great-aunt, and a death notice of Heinrich Wiese. I received this book from my mother, who could tell me a few more biographical details about Heinrich Wiese. Harms is nearly forgotten and these details, not about Harms bout about the editor of his posthumous writings, are probably not very important, but since I received this information by accident and it might at some time be interesting for some historian, I decided to publish it anyway.

According to the obituary, Dr. Heinrich Wiese was a pastor. He died in Göttingen on May 2nd, 1937, aged 82 years old (no date of birth is given there). According to the preface of the book, Harms was Wiese’s philosophy professor. Wiese, a theologian, seems to have had scholarly and philosophical interests. I guess that he was not only a student but also a friend of Harms so that the task of editing the manuscripts from his teacher’s inheritance had fallen to him.

According to my mother, Wiese also prepared an annotated translation of the New Testament into German (Das Neue Testament unsers Herrn und Heilandes Jesus Christus., Berlin 1905, later editions Stuttgart), so the Dr. Heinrich Wiese who made that translation and the one who edited the books from Harms’ inheritance is the same person.

Wiese lived as a pastor in Göttingen. He met my great-grandfather August Schröder during a holiday stay in the town of Altenau. August Schröder[1] was a deacon who worked for a Lutheranian organization from Hannover called Stephansstift. The Stephansstift, among other activities, ran a holiday home called “Staphansruh” and it was there that the two men, and the two families, met and became friends during their holidays. They kept contact, especially since August Schröder’s two sons, Oskar and Otto, both studied in Göttingen (Theology and Biology, respectively) and both had philosophical interests. Wiese’s daughter became friend with Martha Schröder. One result of this was that in 1927, Wiese gave a copy of the “Naturphilosophie” to her, the book that now found its way into my book shelf.


[1] look for “August Schröder” in https://books.google.de/books?id=KgzL4lSPaGMC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=Sein+Lob+t%C3%B6n%27+im+Posaunenschalle:+die+Geschichte+der+Posaunenchorarbeit&source=bl&ots=9FaO38vqD8&sig=CCh1_fOR05NmAN19zfDu3Eqg2ak&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAmoVChMI1rSt-qHZyAIVRH4aCh2b4gP1#v=onepage&q=Sein%20Lob%20t%C3%B6n’%20im%20Posaunenschalle%3A%20die%20Geschichte%20der%20Posaunenchorarbeit&f=false


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