On What Gives Value to Life (Schleiermacher Studies and Translations)

More than most of Schleiermacher's earliest philosophic essays (before 1799), this 1792-1793 essay comprehensively anticipates major themes to be fully established over the next 15 years of his authorship. It also presages late-19th century interests in value theory and philosophy of life, offering an argued, distinctive position against still regnant alternative views of happiness, virtue and fate. Like others of the earliest essays, this one makes almost no direct reference to religion, yet it breathes throughout of a down-to-earth spirituality, a profound sense for the whole, including the whole of humanity, and an appreciation of ways joy can arise in the smallest and most unpleasurable of circumstances - all characteristic features of his later thought. Particularly in its frequent autobiographical allusions and descriptive flourishes, it also bears the lineaments of "rhapsody" to be found in his subsequent notable works "On Religion", "Soliloquies" and "Christmas Eve". Though written when he was 24, it was not published in full until 1984, and appears translated here into English. The translators have appended an introductions, notes, and detailed index.