Steiger, Wilhelm

Steiger, Wilhelm, a minister of the Reformed Church in Switzerland, was born in Aargau, Feb. 9, 1809, and matriculated at Tübingen in 1826. Stäudlin and Bengel were at that time in the faculty, though the latter died only a year afterwards. Steiger then removed to Halle, and came under the controlling influence of Tholuck, through which his natural aversion to the prevalent rationalism was intensified. In 1828 he was ordained at Aargau to the ministry, and devoted himself to earnest labors within his own denomination, being urged by the conviction that a lack of faithful preaching and pastoral care was largely responsible for the separation of many believing souls from the Church. In connection with Dr. Hahn, of Würtemberg, he conducted social meetings for spiritual edification, tutored students, and wrote for the periodical press, among other things an interesting history of the Momiers of Vaud for the Evangel. Kirchenzeitung at Berlin. He became associate editor of that journal in 1829, and devoted himself wholly to study and literary work. From this period date the pamphlet Die Hallische Streitsache, etc., and the book Kritik des Rationalismus in Wegscheider's Dogmatik (Berlin, 1830). In 1832 he issued a valuable commentary on 1 Peter, dedicating the work to the theological committee of the Evangelical Association of Geneva, which had just called him to the exegetical chair of its theological institution. He entered on his new station at Easter 1832. It is said that he was uncommonly successful in giving adequate expression to German ideas in the French language. After his death, one of his students published, from notes taken in the lecture room, an Introd. Générale aux Livres du N.T. (Geneva, Lausanne, and Paris, 1837). Two volumes (1833-34) of a journal started by him and Hävernick (q.v.) were issued, entitled Melanges de Theologie Reformee, and in 1835 appeared his commentary on Colossians. In this work he included in the introduction only such information as was derived from sources other than the exposition of the epistle itself, ant appended to the work a review of the exposition, in which he compared its results with the .introduction. The work is built upon solid historical and philological foundations, and devotes especial attention to criticism of the text, despite its studied brevity. A hymn in honor of the Son of God, with which the preface concludes, affords evidence of the poetic endowment of the author, who left, in addition, a number of unprinted poems. He died Jan. 9, 1836, leaving a widow and an infant son. See Herzog, Real- Encyklop. s.v.

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