Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette, 1780 - 1849

Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette was one of the first theologians to attempt to reconcile modern philosophy and biblical criticism with Christian faith and traditional piety.  The New England Transcendentalists, struggling with the same issues, read and appreciated his work more than almost any of his contemporary theologians.  Few German theologians, in fact, have had more direct influence on opinion outside of Germany.  For the Transcendentalists, de Wette served as a powerful advocate to counter the accusation of their opponents that theological radicalism led inevitably to "infidelity" and irreligion.