Pontoppidan, Erik L

Pontoppidan, Erik L.

son of the nephew of the foregoing, also called Pontoppidan the Younger, was born Aug. 24, 1698, in Aarhus, in Denmark, where his father was dean. He became a student in 1716 at Fredericia, and afterwards at Copenhagen; after this he was tutor in the house of general Lützow, in Norway; traveled in foreign lands with a son of Iver Hvitfeldt, and then became tutor in the family of the last duke of Holstein-Plon. In 1723 he was appointed chaplain of the palace chapel at Nordborg; in 1734 chaplain of the palace chapel at Fredericksborg; and in 1735 he became court- chaplain in Copenhagen. In 1738 he was elected professor of theology in the Copenhagen University; was appointed bishop of Bergen in 1747: received the degree of doctor of theology in 1749; and in 1755 became chancellor of the Copenhagen University. He died Dec. 20, 1764. As a theologian he was semi-pietistic, but not at all fanatical. He was cheerful, and disapproved the severe pietistic laws that were enforced by the Danish government in his time. During the reign of Christian VI he had the courage to write, "God never permits the laws of nature to be violated for the sake of advancing the cause of the Church. When the Church of Christ consisted exclusively of volunteers, it had living members." Some fault has been found with him, and perhaps justly, in his direction of the affairs of the university; but at the same time he did much to advance the cause of science, and he was ever on the alert to see that the several professors did not neglect any portion of their duty to the university. As a German, Danish, and Latin author he exercised a great influence, especially in theology, history, natural history, and political economy. Of his numerous works, the following are the ones most known: An Explanation of Luther's Catechism (1737), a book that was for a long time the text-book in Denmark and Norway in the religious education of the children, and is as such used very widely yet: — Marmora Danica (1739-41, 2 vols. fol.), in which he copies a number of inscriptions of various ages which elucidate the history of his country: — Gesta et Vestigia Danorum extra Daniam (1740-41, 3 vols.): — Annales Ecclesiae Daniw (1741-52, 4 vols.), in German; a good history of the Danish Church: — Menoza, an Asiatic Prince, who Traveled around the World in Search of Christians (1742-43, 3 vols.). This is a philosophical work, written in Danish, and has been translated into Dutch, German, and other languages; it has recently been republished in Denmark by V. Birkeda: — The Power of Truth in Conquering Infidelity (1758): — Collegitum Pastorale Praeticum (1757): — Origzines Hiafnienses (1760): — Danish Atlas (1763-1781, 4 vols.). The fourth volume was completed by his brother-in-law, Hans de Hofman. He also published a Hymn-book, and wrote several short treatises. His Natural History of Norway (1752-54) was translated into English and German. He published Economical Balance in 1759, and a Magazine of Political Ecounomy, from 1757 to 1764. See Barfol, Fortcellinger, p. 542; Nordisk Conversations Lexikon, s.v. (R. B. A.)

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