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Albert Schweitzer Biography : German Theologian and Humanitarian
Famous for : Being an inspirational humanitarian, Christian theologian, philosopher, and writer that found happiness and fulfillment in serving his fellow man. Albert Schweitzer also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.
Schweitzer details : Born - 14th of January, 1875 Kaysersberg, Alsace-Lorraine / Died 4th of September, 1965


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Albert Schweitzer Bio

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Albert Schweitzer was a well known musician, philosopher, physician, and theologian of the late 19th and early 20th century. His philosophical work won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 and he greatly impacted the future of African health care and research by opening the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarene, Gabon.

Albert Schweitzer was born on January 14, 1875 in Kaysersberg, Alsace-Lorraine, a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 which later became part of France. He spent his childhood under the watchful eye of his father in the village of Gunsbach where his father served as pastor. During his early years, Schweitzer's father taught him music, a trait he carried with him for the rest of his life.

Schweitzer spent his high school years as a student in Munhlhausen until 1893 when he passed his final exams. Shortly thereafter, Schweitzer travelled to Paris to study music and philosophy. When he finished his studies in Paris, Schweitzer returned to Alsace to study theology at the Kaiser Wilhelm University. In 1899 he changed schools again to study at the University of Tubingen where he earned his Ph.D. Six years later, after spending time as a pastor in Strasbourg, Schweitzer left again for Gabon, this time to study medicine.

Many of his studies focused on the life of Jesus and contemporary interpretations of the bible. In 1906 he published The Quest of the Historical Jesus and followed it with The Psychiatric Study of Jesus in 1911 as part of his medical dissertation. His studies of the new and old testament helped influence other biblical scholars.

Schweitzer also continued to play music throughout his life. He was especially interested in the music by Bach and believed that it was meant to be more simplistic and melodic than previously interpreted. Albert Schweitzer was not much of a performer, however, but did manage to put on a few concerts to help raise money for his hospital that he would later open in Africa. His speciality was organ music and the Paris Bach Society presented him with a special piano in 1913 in appreciation of his work. This piano also travelled with him to Africa where he continued to play.

Although he had many great writings and works, Albert Schweitzer believed that his greatest accomplishment was his idea of the "reverence for life" which he focused on in his book The Philosophy of Civilization. This idea incorporated the love and respect all humans should have for all kinds of life and their spiritual connection to the universe. He believed that humankind should continue to work towards this balance and live for the benefit of all. Schweitzer lived his beliefs by maintaining himself as a strict vegetarian and avid cat-lover.

Schweitzer began his work in Africa shortly after finishing his medical studies in 1913. He and his wife travelled to Lambarene, Gabon to establish a hospital near an existing missionary post. The purpose of his work stemmed partially out of a need to live Jesus's claim that we should all be "fishers of men" but also out of guilt. Schweitzer did not believe in colonization and he wanted to atone for some of the wrong that had been inflicted on Gabon from past European colonies.

He and his wife returned to Europe for a brief period during World War I due to their German heritage. The French colonists in Gabon sent them back for questioning and, although Albert Schweitzer wanted nothing more than to return to his post in Gabon, he used the time to work on his book Culture and Ethics that he published in 1923. When Schweitzer was finally allowed to return to Africa in 1924, he and his wife were faced with a decaying hospital that had been left in disrepair since their departure almost ten years prior.

Schweitzer travelled back and forth to Europe giving lectures on his philosophies and raising money for his hospital. He stopped travelling in 1939 due to conflicts and he worked in the hospital until 1948 when World War II ended. Schweitzer once again began travelling, this time to both Europe and the U.S. to help spread his philosophies in culture, ethics, and the reverence for life. In 1952 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Albert Schweitzer continued to discuss religion and philosophy around the world and worked with Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell in opposition of nuclear weapons. He died on September 4, 1965 in his hospital in Lambarene, Gabon. Schweitzer is buried nearby on the banks of the Ogowe River.



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Albert Schweitzer Quotes Albert Schweitzer Quotes


An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colorblind.
Albert Schweitzer - Optimist - Pessimistic - Wisdom

True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness: "I am life that wants to live, in the midst of life that wants to live."
Albert Schweitzer - Life - Philosophy - Facts - Conscious


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