Twesten, August Detlev Christian

Twesten, August Detlev Christian a Protestant divine of Germany, was born April 11, 1789, at Gluickstadt. in Holstein. He studied theology and philosophy at Kiel, and in 1812 went to Berlin, where he became one of the earliest followers and an intimate personal friend of Schleiermacher. For some time he was professor of languages in one of the colleges at Berlin, but in 1814 he went back to Kiel as professor of theology and philosophy. After the death of Schleiermacher, in 1834, he was called to Berlin to succeed his teacher in the chair of systematic divinity. In 1850 he was appointed Oberkirchenrath, and died Jan. 8, 1876. As a writer, Twesten was the least prolific of all the more eminent German divines. This was owing partly to a certain timidity and conscientiousness, and partly to an unwillingness to publish anything which he had not first thoroughly searched and mastered, and for which there seemed to him no urgent need. He wrote an analytical logic, a critical edition of the three ecumenical creeds and the unaltered Augsburg Confession, essays on Heccius Illyricus, on Schleiermacher's Ethics, etc. But his main work is his Vorlesungen über die Dogmatik der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche (Hamb. 1837, 2 vols.), which in its unfinished condition has great and abiding excellences; "for he is, perhaps," says Schaff, "the clearest thinker and writer among all the systematic divines of Germany. He possesses the gift of didactic exposition and analysis in an eminent degree. His learning is always accurate, minute, and thoroughly digested; his style transparent, smooth and polished." The volumes which were published contain-the first, the introductory chapters on religion, revelation, inspiration, the authority and inspiration of the Scriptures, the use of reason, the history of dogmatic literature; the second embraces only the doctrine of God, the holy Trinity, the creation and preservation of the world, and angelology. As to his theological standpoint, it is, according to Schaff, "Schleiermacher's system passing over into Lutheran orthodoxy under a modernized form, or the Lutheran scholasticism of the 17th century revived, enlarged, and liberalized by the scientific influence of Schleiermacher and the tolerant spirit of the evangelical union." See Theol. Universal-Lex. s.v.; Zuchold, Bibl. Theol. 2, 1353; Schaff, Germany, its Universities, etc. p.320 sq. (B. P.)

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