All the hair on the horse's tail has disappeared, but he must not be admitted to be tailless; the missing essence is not in the kitchen, the drawing room, or the attic, yet somewhere in the house it must be; and thus theology becomes an illogical suspense between the conclusion and the premises; the literalist relents, but the mystical spiritualist is firm, and the true "Word" in scripture remains unimpeached by literary and historical refutation. The husk is gone, but the invisible kernel maintains the position; although in the many pious platitudes passing current in the subject no real meaning be discernible except the broad inference of natural morality and providential superintendence, the general teleological purpose which we believe to be ever tending to good in its majestic passage through the ages, although ourselves far too limited in faculty to identify its action in special cases, or to make it directly responsible for particular occurrences or books.
[...] Strauss' great merit consists in the negative work contributed by him towards the reconstruction of theology; and it was the fitness of the "Leben Jesu" to accomplish the intellectual iconoclasm so often needed in the progress of science which provoked so much odium; since nothing irritates so much as to be convicted of ignorance as to matters confidently believed to be already sufficiently and fully known.
The Tübingen School and its Antecedents,
1863, pp. 172, 184–185