Albert Schweitzer

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Albert Schweitzer bigraphy, stories - German theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician

Albert Schweitzer : biography

14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965

Albert Schweitzer, OM (14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was a German—and later French—theologian, musician, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa best known for his interpretive life of Jesus. He was born in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire. Schweitzer, a Lutheran, challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at his time in certain academic circles, as well as the traditional Christian view. He depicted Jesus as one who literally believed the end of the world was coming in his own lifetime and believed himself to be a world savior. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of "Reverence for Life",. The Nobel Peace Prize 1952. Albert Schweitzer. Nobelprize.org (1953-12-10). Retrieved on 2012-08-01. expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, west central Africa (then French Equatorial Africa). As a music scholar and organist, he studied the music of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and influenced the Organ reform movement (Orgelbewegung).

International Albert Schweitzer Prize

The prize was first awarded on 29 May 2011 to Eugen Drewermann and the physician couple Rolf and Raphaela Maibach in Königsfeld im Schwarzwald, where Schweitzer’s former residence now houses the Albert-Schweitzer Museum.

Medicine

At the age of 30, in 1905, Schweitzer answered the call of "The Society of the Evangelist Missions of Paris" which was looking for a medical doctor. However, the committee of this French Missionary Society was not ready to accept his offer, considering his Lutheran theology to be "incorrect".Seaver (1951) p. 40. He could easily have obtained a place in a German Evangelical mission, but wished to follow the original call despite the doctrinal difficulties. Amid a hail of protests from his friends, family and colleagues, he resigned his post and re-entered the University as a student in a three-year course towards the degree of a Doctorate in Medicine, a subject in which he had little knowledge or previous aptitude. He planned to spread the Gospel by the example of his Christian labor of healing, rather than through the verbal process of preaching, and believed that this service should be acceptable within any branch of Christian teaching.

Even in his study of medicine, and through his clinical course, Schweitzer pursued the ideal of the philosopher-scientist. By extreme application and hard work he completed his studies successfully at the end of 1911. His medical degree dissertation was another work on the historical Jesus, The Psychiatric Study of Jesus. In June 1912 he married Helene Bresslau, daughter of the Jewish pan-Germanist historian Harry Bresslau.

In 1912, now armed with a medical degree, Schweitzer made a definite proposal to go as a medical doctor to work at his own expense in the Paris Missionary Society’s mission at Lambaréné on the Ogooué river, in what is now Gabon, in Africa (then a French colony). He refused to attend a committee to inquire into his doctrine, but met each committee member personally and was at last accepted. By concerts and other fund-raising he was ready to equip a small hospital.From the Primeval Forest, Chapter 1. In Spring 1913 he and his wife, Suzanne and son Peter, set off to establish a hospital near an already existing mission post. The site was nearly 200 miles (14 days by raftFrom the Primeval Forest, Chapter 6.) upstream from the mouth of the Ogooué at Port Gentil (Cape Lopez) (and so accessible to external communications), but downstream of most tributaries, so that internal communications within Gabon converged towards Lambaréné. The watershed of the Ogooé occupies most of Gabon. [[Lambaréné is marked.]] In the first nine months he and his wife had about 2,000 patients to examine, some travelling many days and hundreds of kilometers to reach him. In addition to injuries he was often treating severe sandflea and crawcraw sores, framboesia (yaws), tropical eating sores, heart disease, tropical dysentery, tropical malaria, sleeping sickness, leprosy, fevers, strangulated hernias, necrosis, abdominal tumours and chronic constipation and nicotine poisoning, while also attempting to deal with deliberate poisonings, fetishism and fear of cannibalism among the Mbahouin.