Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert (26 April 1780, Hohenstein-Ernstthal30 June 1860, Laufzorn, a village in Oberhaching) was a German physician and naturalist best-known for his book Symbolism of Dreams (1814).

He began his studies with theology, but turned to medicine and established himself as a doctor in Altenburg, Thuringia. He soon gave up his practice however and devoted himself to research in Dresden.

He gave renowned lectures on fringe science (animal magnetism, clairvoyance and dream), and in 1819 he occupied the chair in natural history in Erlangen where he studied botany, geognosy, mineralogy and forestry. In 1827 he moved for the last time, to Munich, where he was appointed professor; it was here that the highly popular and friendly Schubert found an embittered opponent in Lorenz Oken.

Schubert aimed to create a religiously-grounded interpretation of the cosmos. His masterpiece, Symbolism of Dreams (1814) was one of the most famous books of its time, exercising influence over E. T. A. Hoffmann and even Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung. Schubert advocated an ecumenical "awakened Christianity" which found evidence for God both in Nature and in the human soul. Synthesising the Bible with the philosophy of Schelling, he was a major figure in the "later Enlightenment". In his History of the Soul (1830), Schubert again attempted to fuse the philosophy of Herder and Schelling with the Christian tradition.



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