In 1840 he was Privatdozent of theology at Tubingen, in 1847 professor of theology at Bern, in 1849 professor of theology at Marburg, migrating soon afterwards to the faculty of philosophy as the result of disputes with the Clerical party.
After studying at Leipzig and Bonn, where he was a pupil of Dahlmann, he established himself as a privatdozent at Leipzig, lecturing on history and politics.
In 1806, shortly after graduation, he became Repetent and Privatdozent in that university; and, as he was fond of afterwards relating, had Neander for his first pupil in Hebrew.
On the 11th of May 1820 he took his doctor's degree; in the same year he qualified as Privatdozent at the university of Erlangen.
In 1867 he became privatdozent in Berlin University, and in the following year was chosen professor of physics at the Zurich Polytechnic: then, after a year or two at Wurzburg, he was called in 1872 to Strassburg, where he took a great part in the organization of the new university, and was largely concerned in the erection of the Physical Institute.
At Jena, where he lectured as a Privatdozent at the university, he contributed to the Athenaeum the aphorisms and essays in which the principles of the Romantic school are most definitely stated.
In 1847 he began to act as Privatdozent in the university, and founded with Reinhardt the Archiv fiir pathologische Anatomie and Physiologic, which, after his collaborator's death in 1852, he carried on alone, and in 1848 he went as a member of a government commission to investigate an outbreak of typhus in upper Silesia.
His earlier papers were mostly concerned with crystallography, and the reputation they gained him led to his appointment as Privatdozent at Konigsberg, where in 1828 he became extraordinary, and in 1829 ordinary, professor of mineralogy and physics.
In 1835 he became Repetent, in 1838 Privatdozent and in 1841 professor extraordinarius in the theological faculty at Erlangen.
Returning to Heidelberg he became Privatdozent in theology in 1829, and in 1831 published his Begriff der Kritik am Allen Testamente praktisch erartert, a study of Old Testament criticism in which he explained the critical principles of the grammatico-historical school, and his Des Propheten Jonas Orakel uber Moab, an exposition of the 1 5th and 16th chapters of the book of Isaiah attributed by him to the prophet Jonah mentioned in 2 Kings xiv.