Tiedemann, Dieterich

, a modern German philosopher of considerable eminence, was born Aprils, 1748, at Bremervorde, in the duchy of Bremen, of which place his father was a burgomaster. His father intended him for the study of divinity, but he devoted the principal part of his early years to the study of the classics, and soon made great progress in the learned languages. As he became more acquainted with French and German literature and philosophy, he gave up all thoughts of studying divinity with a view to the church, imbibing by degrees the fashionable infidelity of his contemporaries. In 1772 he published at Riga his “Essay on the Origin of Languages,” and in 1776, his “System of the Stoic Philosophy,” a work that has been much praised abroad, and in which he was encouraged by the celebrated Heyne, who about the same time procured for him the professorship of the Greek and Latin languages in the Collegium Carolinum at Cassel. He was now, we are told, inclined to materialism, but cured by the essays and conversation of the learned Tetens. In 1778 he published his “Investigation of Man, 3 vols.; in 1780,” The first Philosophers of Greece,“and commenced hisSpirit of Speculative Philosophy."

In 1786, he, together with the other teachers of the college, was removed to Marburg, and appointed professor of philosophy. Here he taught with applause logic, metaphysics, empirical psychology, the law of nature, moral philosophy, the history of philosophy and of man, and explained the Greek classics. Of these he is said to have excelled principally in the history of philosophy, and empirical psychology. His religion, we are told, consisted in moral purity and rectitude of conduct: he attached no importance to external worship, though he did not deny its advantages to the great body of the people. He yvas an enemy to every kind of fanaticism, a word which we doubt not was in his creed comprehensive enough to embrace the | doctrines of revealed religion. It is more to his honour, however, that he was a man of most extensive learning, particularly in the Greek language. His last performance was a translation of Denon’s Travels in Egypt, illustrated with notes. He died May 24, 1803, in the fifty -fifth year of his age. A prolix account of his studies and his philosophy appeared soon after in the foreign journals, from which we have abridged the present article. His works have never been much known in this country, and were not all very favourably received in his own. 1


See also —Dict. Hist.