He was born at Michelbach in Württemberg, the son of a country pastor. He entered the University of Tübingen in 1836, and was one of the earliest pupils of FC Baur, under whose influence he devoted himself to church history. His first work was Der Montanismus u. die christliche Kirche des 2ten Jahrhunderts (1841), in which he pointed out for the first time that Montanism was much more than an isolated outbreak of eccentric fanaticism in the early church, though he himself introduced fresh misconceptions by connecting it with Ebionitism as he conceived the latter. This work, with other essays, brought him into conflict with the authorities of the church, in consequence of which he gave up theology as his professional study and chose that of philosophy.
In 1843 he founded the Jahrbücher der Gegenwart, and became Privatdozent of philosophy and classical philology in Tübingen university. In 1848 he was made professor extraordinarius of Roman literature and archaeology, and soon afterwards professor ordinarius of history.
His principal theological work was Das nachapostolische Zeitalter (The Post-Apostolic Age) (2 vols., 1846). It was this book which first put before the world, with Schwegler's characteristic boldness and clearness, the results of the critical labours of the earlier representatives of the new Tübingen school in relation to the first development of Christianity.
Schwegler published also an edition of the Clementine Homilies (1847), and of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History (1852); in philosophy Übersetzung und Erläuterung der aristot. Metaphysik (4 vols., 1847–1848), his excellent Geschichte der Philosophie im Umriss (History of Philosophy in Outline) (1848, 14th ed. 1887; 10th edition of Eng. trans. by J Hutchison Stirling, 1888), and a posthumous Geschichte der griech. Philosophie (History of Greek Philosophy) (1859).
In history he began a Römische Geschichte (vols. i.-iii., 1853–1858, 2nd ed. 1867–1872), which he brought down only to the laws of Licinius.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Schwegler, Albert". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
1911 Britannica References
- Eduard Zeller, Vorträge, vol. ii. (1878), pp. 329–363
- Wilhelm Sigmund Teuffel (1891), "Schwegler, Albert", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 33, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 327–328
- Works by Albert Schwegler at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Albert Schwegler at Internet Archive