Thilo, Johann Karl

Thilo, Johann Karl a theologian of Halle, was born at Langensalza, in Thuringia, Nov. 28,1794. While a student he began to distinguish himself by superior philological attainments. He completed his studies at Leipsic and Halle, and in 1817 obtained the post of collaborator in the Latin school of the Orphanage at Halle, and subsequently that of teacher in the Royal Pe4agogium. He remained in the latter station five years, but joined to its duties those of theological tutor in the university, where he began to deliver lectures on exegetical and patristical subjects in 1819. In 1820 he visited Paris and Oxford in the company of Gesenius, and on his return assisted Knapp, who afterwards became his father-in-law, in the conduct of the Theological Seminary. In 1822 he was made extraordinary, and in 1825 ordinary, professor of theology. In 1833 he received the title of consistorial councilor, and in 1840 the badge of the Order of the Red Eagle. He was a member of the Order of Freemasons, and temporarily of the direction of Francke's institutes. The lectures of Thilo extended into the fields of the history of doctrines and of the Church, and into symbolics and patristics. They were characterized by thoroughness of treatment and fullness of detail as well as simplicity of style; and they came in time to be recognized and valued by the entire university. The progress of his researches led him from the study of classical antiquity and the Greek philosophers to the antiquity of the Church, the Neo-Platonists, and the Greek fathers. He was also led to give attention to the almost uncultivated field of the New Test. Apocrypha. In 1823 he published Acta St. Thomae Apostoli, etc. The fruit of subsequent labors was accidentally lost in 1828, so that the appearance of the first volume of his Codex Apocryphus N.T., etc., was delayed until 1832. This volume, containing the Apocryphal gospels, proved the greatest literary production of his life. His plans for the completion of the series were only partially executed. In 1838 appeared Acta Apostol. Petri et Pauli, etc.: —in 1846, Acta Apostol. Andrece et Matthice, etc. and in 1847, Fragm. Actuum S. Joannis, etc. Thilo also furnished a contribution to the literature of the Old-Test. Apocrypha in the memorial written for Knapp's jubilee in 1825, Specimen Exercit. Criticarum in Sap. Salomonis (Hallse, 1825). Various dissertations display his acquaintance with the Neo-Platonists and the Church writers who followed in their steps; e.g. De Celo Empyreo Commentationes III (1839 sq.) Euseb. Alexandr. Oratio περὶ ἀστρονόμων prcemissa de Magis et Stella Quaestione (1834): — Comment. in Synesii Hymnum II (1842 sq.). He was long employed on a complete edition of the hymns of Synesius but did not finish the undertaking. This was also the case with his last important work, the Bibliotheca Patrum Graec. Dogmatica, a single volume, containing S. A thanasii Opera Dogmatica Selecta, after the text of Montfaucon, being the extent to which it was published. Thilo was simply a student and an inquirer. He connected himself with none of the theological parties in the Church, because he saw much to approve and something to condemn in them all. Nor did he found any school, because he was unable to regard his own mind as fully formed. He gave himself simply to the work of inquiry, and became, in consequence, one of the most widely and accurately. learned men of the modern Church within the field of his own chosen labors. He was, withal, a devout lover of the Bible, a most genial associate in the friendly circle, and a profoundly interested observer of all important events. He died May 17, 1853. Dryander's discourse delivered at the funeral of Thilo was published at Halle in 1853; and a brief characterization of Thilo was given by Meier in the Hallischer Sektionskatatog (185354); and another in Convers. —Lexikon d. Gegenwart (1841),4, 2, by Henke. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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