Philosopher and theologian, b. at Abtsgmund, Wurtenberg, 22 Feb., 1752; d. at Stenheim near Dillingen, 16 Oct., 1820. He studied the Humanities and philosophy at Ellwangen, theology and jurisprudence at Dillingen; was ordained priest, 1 April 1775; became repetitor of canon law at the College of St. Jerome at Dillingen in 1777, and professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Dillingen in 1783; in 1791 also pastor of Steinheim. In 1795 he was dismissed from the faculty of the university, ostensibly because as pastor of Steinheim he should reside at that place, but, in reality, because he was an extreme idealist. In 1799 he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Ingolstadt, and when this university was removed to Landshut the following year, he was transferred thither in the same capacity.
Though Zimmer rendered great service to the Church and religion by his fearless and successful combat against the Kantian Rationalism which was prevalent at Ingolstadt, he was himself a passionate adherent of the idealistic pantheism of Schelling, without, however, compromising his Catholic convictions in practice. To lessen the danger of inculcating his philosophical tenets in his lectures, he was relieved of the professorship of positive theology and given that of Biblical archaeology and exegesis in 1807. In 1819 he became rector of the university and deputy to the Second Chamber of the Bavarian Parliament. His chief theological work, "Theologiae christianae specialis et theoreticae" (4 parts, Landshut, 1802-6), is to a great extent permeated with Schellingian pantheism. His other noteworthy works are: "Dissertatio dogmatica de vera et completa potestate eclesiastica illiusque subjecto" (Dillingen, 1784); "Fides existentiae Dei" (Dillingen, 1791); "Philosophische Religionslehre: part I. Lehre von dem Absoluten" (Landshut, 1805); "Philosophische Untersuchung über den allgemeinen Verfall des menschlichen Geschlechtes" (Landshut, 1809); "Untersuchung uber den Begriff und die Gesetze der Geschichte etc." (Munich, 1817).
SAILER, Patritius Benedictus Zimmer's kurzgefasste Biographie und ausfuhrliche Darstellung seiner Wissenschaft (Landshut, 1822); WIDMER, Nachtrag zu P.B. Zimmer's kurtzgefasster Biogr. oder desselben Theologie und Philosophie (Uri, 1823); LAUCHERT in Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, XLV (Leipzig, 1900), 242-8; NEUER in Philosophisches Jahrbuch, XVII (Fulda, 1905), 61-67; HURTER, Nomenclator Literarius, V (Innsbruck, 1911), i, 647-9.
APA citation. (1912). Patrick Benedict Zimmer. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15759b.htm
MLA citation. "Patrick Benedict Zimmer." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15759b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Michael T. Barrett. Dedicated to Catholic theological writers.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.