Dinter Gustav Friedrich

Dinter Gustav Friedrich, a German theologian, was born at Borna, in Saxony, February 29, 1760. He studied theology at Leipsic, and on leaving the university was charged with the education of the son of chamberlain Pollnitz. In 1787 he became pastor of Kitscher, near Borna, and in 1797 director of the teachers' seminary at Friedrichstadt, near Dresden. He was afterwards successively pastor at Gornitz in 1807, school inspector in 1816, and finally professor of theology at Konigsberg in 1822. He died at the latter place May 29, 1831. He wrote largely on catechetics, religious education, and other practical subjects, all in the interest of Rationalism. In his books for children, Dinter opens their eyes as to the imperfect notions of their fathers as to God, miracles, etc. "He gives teachers directions how to conduct themselves cleverly in such matters, and afterwards, in agreement with the principles he recommends, he lays down plans of catechizing. For example, there are to be two ways of catechizing about Jonah: one before an audience not sufficiently enlightened, and where all remains in its old state; another for places which have more light. In the prophecies concerning the Messiah, a double explanation is given for the same reason. One is the old orthodox way, and the other a more probable neological plan. A clever teacher is to choose for himself; a dull one may ask the parish clergyman how far he may go." His collected works have been published by Wilhelm, under the title Exegetische Werke (184148, 12 volumes); Katechetische Werke (1840-44, 16 volumes); Paedagogische Werke (1840-45, 9 volumes); Ascetische Werke (1844-51, 5 volumes). He published an autobiography (Dinter's Leben von ihm selbst beschrieben, Neustadt, 1829). — Kahnis, German Protestantism, chapter 2, § 6; Pierer, Universal-Lexikon, s.v.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 3:397; Hurst, History of Rationalism, chapter 8.

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