life, and holiness, as the extravagant desires of a fugitive race dwelling upon an inconsiderable planet. Feuerbach developed the Hedonistic ethical theory and declared, somewhat crudely and, to my minid, inaccurately: "Man is only what he eats." Man is not what he eats, but what he assimilates, remoulds, and creates. Even more, man is what he is, and what he expresses in the simple fact of being.
Strauss, who was contemporary with Feuerbach, being cradled a few years after him and outliving him a few years also by way of equity, had a disastrous career as a theologian. His "life" of Jesus, which cost him theological chairs in Germany, was translated by George Eliot. Strauss viewed Jesus as a Socrates misconceived by Christian tradition as a magician; which is a very happy conception and one that time will endorse.
At the time Bakunin returned to Moscow as an ex-officer, Feuerbach had not employed his sardonic humour to contrast the actual and ideal worlds. Nor had he produced his works on the philosophy of historoy. But he had explained belief in immorality as an illusion. Strauss was still a teacher and was planning his "life" of Jesus. Hegel, with murmurings of Feuerbach, were the themes of the Moscow circle. Its founder was Stankevitch, who had sat under Professor Pawlov at Moscow University.
Pawlov was a pedant who preferred learning to knowledge, and routine to wisdom. He introduced German philosophy into the university curriculum in 1821, because it seemed to him to be so eminently safe and dull. It was his alternative to the French, which he deemed nervous, doubtful, and dynamic. French philosophy in struck him as being something shattering and devastating. The German school was his choice between the quick and the dead.
Pawlov confined the students' attention to Schelling and Oken. Schelling, who flourished from 1775 to 1854, had not developed at that time his theosophical gnosticism. He opposed nature to spirit but conceived both as common equal expressions of one underlying absolute principle. Actually, Monism; thoughtful and even brilliant, but not revolutionary. Oken-shortened from Ochenfuss-lived from 1779 till 1851. He attempted to construct an a priori system of knowledge and originated the idea of annual meetings of German scientists. It is said that the British Association was modelled on his plan. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that Oken was an essentially fake savant.
Having been introduced to the German philosophy, Stankevitch did not find it possible to stop at Schelling and Oken. He blundered on to Hegel and became fascinated, Hegel seemed to him all important. Consequently, Stankevitch introduced the study of Hegel to a select circle of his friends. Among these were Herzen and Bakunin. The latter had found his "new era" or "epoch." Hegel and the Hegelians were to inspire all Bakunin's future thought.