CARUS, Paul

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. School in Posen and Stettin, studies 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 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 PC became interested in Buddhism, and soon became its ardent defender against the often too severe Christian criticism. Criticized severely 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. 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 edd.; Buddhism and its Christian Critics. 316 p. Chicago 1897; Amitabha: a story of Buddhist theology. 121 p. Chicago 1906; Karma / Nirvana: two Buddhist stories. 135 p.

Sources: Peiris, Buddhism, 251-255; Dict. of Am. Biogr. 3; Who Was Who in Am. 1; Wikipedia (with some inaccuracies, cf. the German version, also with better photo).

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