Dorner, Isaac August

Dorner, Isaac August one of the most prominent evangelical theologians of Germany, was born in the village of Neuhausen-ob-Eck, in Wurtemberg, June 20, 1809, being the son of a Lutheran clergyman. He was educated at Tubingen, acted :as pastor in his native place, and subsequently travelled in Holland and England. He became successively professor of 6tieology in the universities of Tubingen (1838), Kiel (1839), Konigsberg (1840), Bonn (1847), Gottingen (1853), and in 1857 at Berlin, where he died, July 12, 1884. He was a councillor of the upper consistory, a distinguished contributor to Herzog's Encyklopadie, and co-editor of the Jahrbucher fur Deutsche Theologie. The first great work of Dr. Dorner, and that which at once gave him celebrity, was his Entwicklungsqeschichte vom der Person Christi (Stuttgard, 1839, 1846; Berlin, 1854, 4 volumes, 8vo), translated by D.W. Simon in Clark's "Foreign Theological Library," and entitled History of the Developnment of the Person of Christ (Edinburgh, 1859, 5 volumes, 8vo). Ion ts first form it was a single volume of moderate size. Subsequently he made it by far the most learned and extensive discussion of the theme which has ever been undertaken. It is critical, as well as historical. A vast amount of collateral matter, of great importance to the theological student, is incidentally interwoven in its chapters. In this work, as everywhere, Dorner shows himself in cordial sympathy with evangelical truth, yet bound to no traditional formulas in which that truth has been set forth in times past. The book is a fine example of the mingling of intellectual freedom with due reverence, and of the spirit of science with genuine devoutness. The Geschichte der Protestantischen Theologie (Leipsic, 1867), translated as History of Protestant Theology (Edinburgh, 1871-72, 2 volumes), referring particularly to Germany, is a work of more popular interest than the treatise just referred to. It surveys the Reformation, in its sources and phenomena, and in its consequences, on the doctrinal side. In the earlier chapters is to be found a profound as well as discriminating exposition of the cardinal truth of justification by faith in its relation to the authority of the Scriptures. What is meant by "Christian consciousness," and what rights pertain to it, are instructively unfolded. A volume less known than either of those noticed above is the Collection of Essays, which embrace some of the most valuable of the briefer contributions of Dorner to theological literature. The extended paper, in which he treats of the Attributes of God, is a masterly handling of this topic. But the crowning work of his life was the System of Christian Theology, which called forth the praise and admiration of all enlightened and unprejudiced judges. When, in 1873, the Evangelical Alliance met in New York, Dorner was one of the Eturopean delegates. He combined profound learning, critical penetration, and power of generalization with an earnest Christian spirit. He was thoroughly trained in the ancient and modern schools of philosophy, and gave evidence, on his first appearance before the public, of his ability to defeat the pantheistic Hegelians with their own weapons, and thus to do most important service to German theology. This service he faithfully rendered, and lifted up theology to the rank of a science, pointed out tile path of reconciliation between knowledge and faith, and raised up a body of defenders and expounders of Christianity against the philosophical and critical infidelity on the continent of Europe. Besides the works mentioned above, Prof. Dorner published a number of treatises mentioned in Zuchold, Bibl. Theol. 1:289 sq. (B.P.)

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