Florence Christian Rang - Florens Christian Rang

Florence Christian Rang (c. 1910)

Florens Christian Rang (born January 28, 1864 in Kassel , † October 7, 1924 in Hohemark im Taunus ) was a German Protestant theologian , politician and writer .


Rank initially Jura studied and Administrative Careers taken before he re-entered the university in 1895 to study Protestant theology and become a pastor. In 1904 he returned to the civil service as a member of the government, finally resigned from it in 1917 and became a member of the board of the cooperative Raiffeisenverband in Berlin. In 1919 he worked with the Marburg lawyer Johann Viktor Bredt on the draft of a constitution, which was directed against the constitutional concept of Hugo Preuss . Rang spent the last years of his life in Braunfels near Wetzlar, where Walter Benjamin washas visited him repeatedly. Benjamin and Rang had met in the spring of 1920 at Erich Gutkind's house in Grünau near Berlin and quickly became friends. Rank, who is remembered today primarily as Benjamin's friend, almost became a collaborator for him when he was writing his origin of the German tragedy . The relationship that Benjamin entered into with Hugo von Hofmannsthal from 1923 onwards was also established.

During the First World War Rang took a conservative-nationalist position, and his writings on the propagation of the cooperative idea also show him to be on the extreme right. It was only around 1920 that he seemed to have turned decisively against German nationalism. It is not known whether and to what extent Benjamin was involved in this change in rank, the impressive testimony of which is his writing Deutsche Bauhütte , which Benjamin wrote in March 1924 to Gershom Scholem , who emigrated to Palestinecharacterized as follows: “The work of rank on the reparations question [has] appeared. [...] With this he has now for the first time impressed his mental physiognomy on a script in a widely recognizable way and this corresponds to its meaning. You will occasionally receive it from me as a gift and in it you will also find a letter from me to the author. It would be very comforting if this book were to be understood by a foreigner here and there, but there will probably be very few of them. "

Rang, who was still together with Benjamin on Capri in the summer of 1924, died in 1924 in Hohemark im Taunus of spinal cord cancer. Benjamin received the message on the last day of his stay on Capri and shortly afterwards wrote to Scholem that "strangely enough [...] he was able to thank this man, as well as his support and confirmation, for what I was most essential about German education took me in. For not only that in this area the main objects of our persistent contemplation were almost all the same - I saw the life that lives in these great objects, humanly all alone, alive in it, erupting with more volcanic violence than it did under the crust the rest of Germany was frozen. When I spoke to him there was not both harmony in our thoughts, than that I, weatherproof and athletic, tried my hand at the impossible, torn mass of his own and often enough won a pinnacle with a wide view of my own unexplored areas of thought. Madness ran through his mind like a mass of ravines. But through the morality of this man, madness did not gain power over him. "

Benjamin called the almost three decades older friend Florens Christian Rang the “deepest critic of Germanness since Nietzsche, ” about whom he wrote elsewhere: “It was theological thinkers who just appeared in our generation to fight against to take up the idolatry of the spirit: the Jew Franz Rosenzweig in terms of language, the Protestant Florens Christian Rang in terms of politics. ”- So far, both a complete edition and a more extensive selection of Rangs writings are missing.

His son is the pedagogue Martin Rang (1900–1988), his grandson (Martin's nephew) is also a pedagogy professor (Berlin / Amsterdam), Adalbert Rang (1928–2019).


German construction hut 1924
  • Don Quixote. Politics and soul. In: Prussian year books. Volume CXX, 1905, issue 3.
  • The value of Heinrich von Kleist. A rhapsody. In: Prussian year books. Volume CXXIV, 1906, issue 1.
  • Goethe's Blessed Longing. In: New German Contributions. 1st episode, 1922, issue 1.
  • German construction hut. A word to us Germans about possible justice against Belgium and France and the philosophy of politics . With letters from Alfons Paquet, Ernst Michel, Martin Buber, Karl Hildebrandt, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Spira, Otto Erdmann. Sannerz, Leipzig 1924
  • Historical psychology of the carnival. In: The Creature. Volume II, 1927/28, Issue 2; New edition edited by Lorenz Jäger, Berlin 1983
  • Shakespeare the Christian. An interpretation of the sonnets. published by Bernhard Rang, Heidelberg 1954


  • Adalbert Rank: Florens Christian Rank. In: The New Rundschau. Volume 70, 1959, p. 449 ff.
  • Uwe Steiner: The birth of criticism from the spirit of art. Investigations into the concept of criticism in Walter Benjamin's early writings. Würzburg 1989, p. 168ff.
  • Jürgen Thaler: "A crisis goes through our sparse times". On the transformation of the carnival in the writings of Florens Christian Rang. Vienna 1996
  • Lorenz Jäger : Messianic Criticism. Studies on the life and work of Florens Christian Rang. Cologne 1998
  • Anna Wołkowicz: Mystics of the Revolution. The utopian discourse at the turn of the century: Gustav Landauer - Frederik van Eeden - Erich Gutkind - Florens Christian Rang - Georg Lukács - Ernst Bloch. Warsaw 2007
  • Anne Weber : Ancestors. A time travel diary . S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2015


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