Hahn, August

Hahn, August a distinguished German Protestant theologian, Orientalist, and opponent of rationalism, was born at Grossosterhausen, near Querfurt, in Prussian Saxony, March 27, 1792. His father died before he was nine years old, but his pastor, Stossen, generously instructed the orphan with his own son, and secured his admission to the gymnasium at Eisleben. In 1810 Hahn entered the University of Leipsic, where, he tells us (Preface to Lehrbuch des christlichen Glaubens, 2nd ed.), he lost his early faith and peace, the fruits of a pious mother's teachings, and became imbued with the prevailing rationalism. After a three-years' course, in which, besides adding to his stock of classic and theological learning, he had studied Oriental languages and literature, especially Syriac and Arabic, he engaged in teaching. In 1817 he entered the newly established theological school at Wittenberg, where, under happier religious influences and inspirations, he regained his lost faith and peace, and was henceforth active in seeking to impart them to other minds and hearts. In 1819 he was appointed professor extraordinary, and in 1821 ordinary professor of theology in the University of Konigsberg, and during his occupancy of that post published Bardesanes, Gnosticus, Syrorum primsus hymnologus (Leipsic, 1819), a work which earned for him thedoctorate of theology. This was followed by several other publications in patristic literature, viz. De gnosi Marcionis (1820): — A Antitheses Marcionis, etc. (1823): Das Evangelium Marcions, etc. (1823): — De Canone Marcionis (1824): — Chrestonathia Syriaca, s. S. Ephrcemi, etc. (in conjunction with Seiffert) (1825); besides treatises in several periodicals. Being called in 1826 to the professorship of theology in the University of Leipsic, Hahn was thrown into the midst of theological controversy, and gave expression to his antagonism to the Rationalists in his treatise — De Rationalismi, qui dicitur, Vera Indole et qua cum Naturalismo contineatur ratione (Leipsic, 1827), in which he asserts the necessity of supernatural revelation, and the inability of man by nature to attain "certain and complete knowledge of religious truths," and aims to show historically that rationalism had always been regarded by the Church as hostile to Christianity, and that it was the offspring of naturalism and deism. He developed this antagonism still further in his Ogine Erkaldrung an die Evangelische Kirche zunichst in Sachsen und Preussen (1827), wherein he maintains that Rationalists cannot be considered as Christian teachers, and ought in conscience to withdraw from the evangelical Church. His efforts in favor of evangelical orthodoxy were continued in his Lehrbuch des christlichen Glaubens (1828; 2nd ed. 1857), and Sendschreiben an Bretschneider über die Lage des Christenthums in uitserer Zeit und das Verhaltniss christlicher Theologie zur Wissenschalf überhault (1832). The last work especially led to his call to Breslau in 1833 as professor, and his appointment as consistorial counselor, a position of great importance in the direction of ecclesiastical affairs. In 1844 he was made general superintendent for Silesia, which post he filled until his death, May 13, 1863, and in which he was able to exert considerable influence in behalf of the evangelical party among the clergy. The most important of his writings not already mentioned are, Bibliothek der Symbole und Glaubensregeln der apostol. — catholischen Kirche (1842): — Theologisch- Lirchliche Annalen (Breslau, 1842-44):Das Bekenntniss der evangelischen Kirche und die ordinatorische Verpflichtung ihrer Diener

(1847): — Das Bekenntniss der evangelischen Kirche in seinem Terhialtnise zu den der romischen und griechischen (1853): — Predigten und Reden unter den Bewegungen in Kirche und Staat seit dem J. 1830 (1852). See obituary notice of Hahn in the Allgemeine Kirchen-Zeitung for 1863, No. 75-77, and an autobiographical sketch of his life up to 1830 in Dietzsch's Homilet. Journal, 1830, vol. 2, pt. 1; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 19, 593 sq.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 23, 164; New Amer. Cyclop. 8, 634. (J.W. M.)

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