Pfaff, Christoph Matthaus, Dd
Pfaff, Christoph Matthaus, D.D.
a German Protestant theologian, son of Johann Christoph Pfaff (q.v.), was born December 25, 1686, at Stuttgard. At the age of thirteen he was admitted to the university, and after having finished his theological studies, he received the means from the duke of Wurtemberg, in 1706, to go to other universities to perfect himself in the knowledge of the Oriental tongues. He visited with this design several universities of Germany, Holland, and England. Upon his return to Stuttgard in 1709, he was employed to accompany the hereditary prince Charles-Alexandre to Italy, with whom he remained three years in Turin, occupied especially in copying from the libraries the unpublished fragments of ancient ecclesiastical authors. He afterwards went with the prince to Holland, where he spent two years, and to Paris, continuing his researches in the libraries, and placing himself in connection with the most renowned learned men. Appointed in 1716 professor of theology at Tubingen, he became in 1720 dean of the faculty and chancellor of the university; he also received several high ecclesiastical positions, and became among others, in 1727, abbe of Loch, which gave him the entree to the states of Wurtemberg. In 1724 he was gratified with the title of count-palatine, and was elected in 1731 member of the Academy of Berlin. In 1756 he became chancellor of the University of Giessen, dean of the faculty of theology, and general superintendent of the churches. Possessing extensive and varied knowledge, he carefully avoided the bitter tone of the theologians of his confession, and he even made, but without the least success, several attempts to unite the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches. He died at Giessen November 19, 1760. Pfaff's erudition was immense, and his works so numerous that they fill a whole sheet of the German bibliographies. Among his numerous works and dissertations we mention, De genuinis Librorum Novi Testamenti lectionibus (Amst. 1709, 8vo): — Demonstrations solides de la virite de la Religion Protestante contre la Religion pretendue Catholique (Tub. 1713, 1719): — De Evangeliis sub Anastatio imperatore non corruptis (Tubing. 1717, 4to); reprinted, with several other dissertations of Pfaff, in his Prinistiae Tubingenses (ibid. 1718, 4to): — De liturgiis, missalibus, agendis et libris ecclesiasticis Ecclesice orientalis et occidentalis veteris et modernce (ibid. 1718,4to): —De origine juris ecclesiastici veraque ejus indole (ibid. 1719, 1720, 1756, 4to): — Dissertationes Anti-Boelianae tres (ibid. 1719, 1720, 4to): —Institutiones theologiae dogmaticae et moralis (ibid. 1719, 8vo; Frankf. 1721, 8vo); one of the first theological works written in Germany in which the rationalistic tendency is recognised: — Introductio in historiam theologiae litterariam (ibid. 1720, 8vo; ibid. 1724-1726, 3 volumes, 4to): — De variationibus ecclesiarum Protestantium, adversus Bossuetum (ibid. 1720, 4to): — Gesammelte Schriften so zur Vereinigung der protestirenden Kirchen abzielen (Halle, 1723, 2 volumes, 4to); a collection of writings tending to the reunion of the Protestant churches: — De titulopatriarchee tecumenici (Tubing. 1735, 4to): — De ecclesia sanguinem non sitiente (ibid. 1740, 4to): — De sterconanistis medii cevi (ibid. 1750, 4to): — De aureolis virginum, doctorum et martyrum (ibid. 1753, 4to). As an editor, Pfaff published Epitome Institutionum divinarum Lactantii (Paris, 1712, 8vo), first edition complete: — S. Irenaei fragmenta anecdota (La Haye, 1715, 8vo); a publication followed by a dispute with Scip. Maffei, who had cast some doubt upon the authenticity of these fragments: — Ecclesiae evangelicae libri symbolici (Tubingen, 1730, 8vo). Finally, Pfaff directed the publication of the new German translation of the Bible, which appeared at Tubingen (1729, fol.), a work on which, in connection with others, he actively labored. Pfaff was a learned man of the very first rank, but of doubtful moral character. He is the real founder of the so-called collegial system, which regards the Church as a collegium: as a corporation possessing corporate rights, the Church can make her own statutes and laws, and can insist upon their observance. The attitude of the state towards her is but incidental, or similar to the position it occupies with respect to any other association. The magistratus politicus does not belong to her; the Church consisting solely of teachers and taught. It is only by transference, by virtue of silent or express compact. that the magistracy can receive rights originally inherent in the Church. Results were, however, at first, and till after the commencement of the 19th century, in favor of the territorial system. The Bible known among the German Protestants as "the Bible of Tubingen" was published under Pfaff's direction in one folio volume in 1727. See Strieder, Hessische Gelehrtengesch.; Rathlef, Gesch. jetztlebender Gelehrten, part 1; Schrockh, Unparteiische Kirchengesch. 4:787; Sax, Onomasticon, 6:138, 648; Bauer, Gallerie, volume 5; Dbring, Die Gelehrten Theologen Deutschlands, volume 3, s.v.; Hirsching, Handbuch; Meusel, Lexikon, s.v.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 39:794; comp. Hurst's Hagenbach, Ch. Hist.. 18th and 19th Centuries, 1:110 sq., 410; Ebrard,Kirchen- u. Dogmengesch. 4:131. (J.H.W.)