BIEDERMANN, bî'der-mān, ALOIS EMANUEL: Swiss Protestant; b. near Bendlikon, on the west shore of the Lake of Zurich (4 m. from the city), Mar. 2, 1819; d. at Zurich Jan. 25, 1885. He studied at Basel 1837-39, and then at Berlin; became pastor at Mönchenstein (3 m. s. of Basel) 1843; professor extraordinary at Zurich 1850, ordinary 1860, where he lectured at first upon theological encyclopedia and New Testament introduction, later chiefly upon dogmatic theology. He was the leading theologian of the neo-Hegelians, and was deeply influenced by the Tübingen school, especially by Strauss. He was a prolific writer for the religious press, but obtained his greatest repute by his Christliche Dogmatik (Zurich, 1869; 2d ed., Berlin, 1884-85, vol. ii edited by Rehmke), in which he denies the historicity of the Gospels, yet holds to the eternal ideas which the supposed facts of the Gospels embody; denies Christian doctrine, but advocates Christian practise; denies personality to God and personal immortality to man, yet holds that love to God and man constitutes the essence of religion. He took a deep interest in education and public affairs, preached often and by preference to small and weak congregations, and was tactful and courteous in his associations with men of all classes; he was a lover of athletics and a robust mountain-climber. Many of his briefer publications were collected under the title Ausgewählte Vorträge und Aufsätze, with a biographical introduction by J. Kradolfer (Berlin, 1885).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: For further notes on Biedermann's life consult J. J. Oeri, Persönliche Erinnerungen an Biedermann, in Kirchenblatt für die reformierte Schweiz, 1886, nos. 7-18. On his theology and philosophy consult O. Pfleiderer, Religionsphilosophie, i, 594, Berlin, 1893; idem, in Preussische Jahrbücher, Jan., 1886, pp. 53-76; T. Moosherr, A. E. Biedermann nach seiner allgemeinen philosophischen Stellung, Jena, 1893.

BIEL, bîl, GABRIEL: One of the most remarkable theologians of the late Middle Ages; b. at Speyer; d. at Tübingen 1495. He studied at Heidelberg, became preacher at St. Martin's Church at Mainz, provost of Urach in Württemberg, and after 1484 professor of theology and philosophy in the newly founded University of Tübingen. In his old age he joined the Brethren of the Common Life (see COMMON LIFE, BRETHREN OF THE). In theology Biel followed the nominalism of Occam, whose system he reproduced in his Epitome et collectorium ex Occamo super quattuor libros sententiarum (Tübingen, 1495). In anthropology and soteriology he was a Semi-Pelagian, teaching that "merit depends on man's free will and God's grace" (sermo xiv, 7); the sacraments operate not only ex opere operantis, but also ex opere operato" (Sent., IV, i, 3). The Church, therefore, was for him a mechanically operating sacramental institution; in its priests he glorifies a "mighty dignity." In questions affecting the constitution of the Church, Biel took the position assumed by the councils of Constance and Basel. As a preacher he surpassed his predecessors in the practicality of his views; his knowledge of political economy also deserves recognition. Besides the work already noticed, he wrote Lectura super canonem missœ (Reutlingen, 1488); Expositio canonis missœ (Tübingen, 1499); Sermones (1499); and other works.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. X. Linsenmann, Gabriel Biel der letzte Scholastiker und der Nominalismus, in Tübinger theologische Quartalschrift, 1865, pp. 449 sqq.; idem, in KL, ii, 804-808; A. Ritschl, Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung, i, 102 sqq., Bonn, 1889; H. Plitt, Gabriel Biel als Prediger, Erlangen, 1879; Schultz, Der sittliche Begriff des Verdienstes, in TSK, 1894, pp. 304 sqq.


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