[Buddha-l] More on Max Scheler from a colleague not on the list-----JK

jkirk jkirk at spro.net
Sun May 8 13:56:36 MDT 2005

One might wonder if Prof. Scheler had come across the Buddhism, then quite
prevalent in some circles in Germany, and if he ever wrote anything about
No time to check now. JK
on Max Scheler:

His mother was Jewish, his father Lutheran, he himself converted to
Catholicism in 1899 (which shows faith, for his career he should have become
a Lutheran since he taught in Jena, not Munich). He lost his job twice
(Jena, then Munich) because of his wife, Amelie von Dewitz-Krebs, who
involved him in scandals about marital fidelity. He finally divorced her and
married Marit Furtwaengler, a niece of the conductor. Then he divorced her
in 1924 and married the much younger Maria Scheu. This cost him heavily
because while most sympathized with his divorce from his somewhat
manic-depressive first wife, very few accepted the divorce from the other.
His reputation was at its zenith in 1921. But his name was mud as a former
leading Catholic intellectual after 1924.

During World War I, he loved his country and defended her against slander,
notably in works for the Propaganda Ministry (which the English-language
website from Frings glosses over). After the war, the mayor of Koeln, Konrad
Adenauer, made him chair in the new University of Koeln. His late writings
try to build a bridge between Christians and "pan-romantic" ideas about
male/female balance and nature. He was not wholly consistent all these
decades, and thought new thoughts.

About his politics:
First, he died in May 1928, when the Nazis were hovering around 2 to 3% of
the vote. To his death the NS movement was not "growing" at all, as Frings
alleges. If he warned in a minor article against the Nazis, its like someone
warning against Lyndon Larouche today. Now if the Larouchies win power in 20
years (what do we know?), such a warner would be remarkably prescient--or
it would have been just a fluke and I'd rather opt for the latter
explanation. Ditto for Stalin (who was not yet THE Man in 1928--he'd start
to become the dictator in 1929)

In English but glosses over many things that make Scheler not the
all-prescient anti-fascist.

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