By A. G. Rud (auth.)
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Additional resources for Albert Schweitzer’s Legacy for Education: Reverence for Life
45At once it was a simple decision that he saw as reverberating among souls. What Schweitzer saw in the work of those missionaries in the Congo may have been too simple, but it sufficed for him. He was caught in what he considered a “suffocating” and predictable life of hollow service as a bourgeois minister, writer, and musician. What stands out in these letters 36 ALBERT SCHWEITZER’S LEGACY FOR EDUCATION is how we see his constantly evolving development of motivation to go to Africa, to work as a missionary doctor and to leave behind the life he had in Europe.
Several months later, Schweitzer writes the most revealing of the letters regarding how he feels about Hélène. It is near her thirtieth birthday on the day of December 21st that he usually celebrates with his aunt, reliving the holiday ritual of discussing Immanuel Kant and lighting some pine boughs in the fireplace. ”21 Now he has shifted his attention to Hélène, and wants to make her part of this December 21st ritual, even to replace his cherished aunt. He celebrates it alone in his mind, with the images of the fire, his work on Kant, and now Hélène.
In addition, he had an almost childlike appreciation of Jesus and saw his work in Africa as following Jesus. Yet Schweitzer was also a scholar of the New Testament and used his mind to examine in detail all that had been said about Jesus in scholarly works. So it is a blend of heart and head that Schweitzer brings to Jesus, adding the element of hand in his work in the hospital. Schweitzer combined three views of Jesus into one powerful holism: a critical-historical evaluation of the “historical Jesus”; a passionate and almost childlike following of him as a savior; and a spiritualized Jesus.