Schneckenburger, Matthias

Schneckenburger, Matthias an eminent modern theologian, born Jan. 17, 1804; died June 13, 1848. He studied Latin at Tuttlingen, Wirtemberg. In 1819 he began the study of theology at Urach. In 1824 he entered upon more thorough studies at Tübingen. Here his teachers were Steudel, Schmidt, Baur, Haug, and others. Philosophical theology was his favorite study; and the book which delighted him most was Schleiermacher's Glaubenslehre. He reached his master's degree in his twentieth year, and held the highest place in a group of thirty-eight competitors. In 1826 he went to Berlin to continue his studies under Schleiermacher, Neander, Marheinecke, and Hegel. With Neander and Marheinecke he formed very close relations, as also with other eminent literary men, e.g. Chamisso and Gans. In 1827 he returned to Würtemberg and began to lecture at Tübingen. Among his pupils were Strauss, Vischer, and Märklin. In 1831 he entered into the ministry as preacher at Herrenberg. Although a gifted speaker, he soon felt that not the pulpit, but the professor's chair was his place. In 1834 he accordingly entered the new theological faculty at Berne. By his side stood Hundeshagen, Lutz, and others. His field here was Church history, dogmatics, and exegesis; but it was especially in dogmatics that his greatest interest lay. Here his position was that healthy union of practice and theory which was so characteristic of Zwingli. When the Strauss commotion broke out in Germany (1839), Schneckenburger faced the whole series of questions which it called forth, and began a course of lectures on the influence of philosophy upon theology and on the collisions between modern speculation and Christianity. His position was that of a positive theist and an opponent of Hegel. Very fruitful among his labors in the following years were his studies in comparative dogmatics. His general tendency was unionistic. He did not confine himself to academic labors, but took also an active part in the Church affairs of the canton of Berne.

In character Schneckenburger was as simple and unassuming as a child. His great defect was a deficiency of self assertion. In his wedded life he was very unfortunate. His relation to his childless wife was very similar to that of Salmasius to his domineering "Juno." Seeking relief from his domestic unhappiness in a still greater devotion to study, his health soon broke down. He died at the early age of forty-four. It was characteristic of his wife that his valuable papers were for a number of years kept under lock and key. It was only after she had fled from justice to America that they came into the hands of his colleague, Hundeshagen. Among Schneckenburger's writings are the following: Ueber Glauben, Tradition und Kirche (Stuttg. 1827): — Ueber das Alter der jüdischen Proselytentaufe (Berlin, 1828): — Annotatio ad Epistolam Jacobi (Stuttg. 1832): — Einleitung ins Neue Test. (ibid. 1832): — Ueber das Evangelium der Aegypter (Berne, 1834): — Ueber den Begrif der Bildung (ibid. 1838): — Stapeferi, Theologi Bernensis, Christologia (ibid. 1842): — De Falsi Neronis Fama (ibid. 1846): — Zur kirchlichen Christologie (Pforzheim, 1848): Vergleichende Darstellung des lutherischen und reformirten Lehrbegriffs (edited by Güder, Stuttg. 1855, 2 pts.). Also numerous contributions to the Tübinger Zeitschrift, the Studien und Kritiken, the Theologische Jahrbücher, and others. See Herzog, Real- Encyklop.; Gedächtnissrede von Dr. Gelpke (Berne, 1848). (J.P.L.)

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