CARUS, Paul. Ilsenburg am Harz 18.7.1852 — La Salle, Ill. 11.2.1919. German Philosopher and Scholar of Comparative Religion in the U.S.A. Son of a pastor, school in Posen and Stettin, studied philosophy, classics and science at Greifswald, Strassburg and Tübingen. Ph.D. 1876 Tübingen. Worked as a teacher at Military Academy in Dresden, quarreled and quitted because of his too liberal opinions. He emigrated to the U.K. and in 1883 to the U.S.A. From 1887 editor-in-chief of the journal Open Court in Chicago. In 1888 married Mary, the daughter of his publisher, E. C. Hegeler, six children.
As a rational thinker Carus became interested in Buddhism and soon became its ardent defender against the often too hard Christian criticism. He severely criticized the books of Monier Williams, Spence Hardy and Oldenberg. His own idea was to collect the best parts of Buddhism and Christianity into a new religious philosophy. Nevertheless, he was not really an obscurantist, trying always to preserve a rational approach. In order to propagate his ideas he founded the Open Court Publishing Company, which was later headed by his daughter Elizabeth Carus (1896–1991). In the beginning of the century he befriended with D. T. Suzuki, then a young student (and Buddhist monk) sent to the U.S.A. for study.
Publications: The full bibliography includes more than one thousand items, among them more than fifty books. Much on philosophy and religions. Edited the journals the Open Court (1887–) and the Monist (1890–).
– The Gospel of Buddha. 311 p. 1894 and many editions; Karma / Nirvana: two Buddhist stories. 135 p. Chicago 1996; Buddhism and its Christian Critics. 316 p. Chicago 1897; Amitabha: a story of Buddhist theology. 121 p. Chicago 1906
Sources: Peiris, Buddhism, 251-255 with poor photo; Dict. of Am. Biogr. 3; Who Was Who in Am. 1; Wikipedia with photo (some further details in German version).
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