He studied philosophy, philology and theology at Marburg in 1786, and eventually (1795) became professor ordinarius of theology at the University of Heidelberg, where he remained until his death.
He became rector of the university in 1816 and 1824. Daub was one of the leaders of a school which sought to reconcile theology and philosophy, and to bring about a speculative reconstruction of orthodox dogma. In the course of his intellectual development, he came successively under the influence of Immanuel Kant, Friedrich von Schelling and G. West. F. Hegel, and on account of the different phases through which he passed he was called the Talleyrand of German thought.
There was one great defect in his speculative theology: he ignored historical criticism.
His purpose was, as Otto Pfleiderer says,
The three stages in Daub"s development are clearly marked in his writings. His Lehrbuch der Katechetik (1801) was written under the spell of Kant.
Daub"s Die dogmatische Theologie jetziger Zeit oder die Selbstsucht in der Wissenschaft des Glaubens (1833), and Vorlesungen über die Prolegomena zur Dogmatik (1839), are Hegelian in principle and obscure in language.