Walch, Christian Wilhelm Pranz
Walch, Christian Wilhelm Pranz a theologian of Göttingen, was born Dec. 25, 1726, at Jena, where his father was professor of theology. He traveled with his elder brother, Johann, after completing his studies, and made the acquaintance of many of the foremost celebrities in the literary world of his time. On his return he was made extraordinary professor of philosophy at Jena, in 1750; and three years afterwards professor of the same branch in ordinary at Göttingen. In 1754 he began to teach theology as extraordinary professor, and in 1757 received the theological chair in the Göttingen faculty. His lectures covered the entire field of theology; and, when supplemented with the numerous learned works he wrote and the administrative duties he performed' in the government of the university and other institutions, demonstrated his great industry and capacity for work. He was made a member of various learned societies, and an honorary consistorial councilor of Great Britain. He was married in 1763, and died of apoplexy in 1784.
Walch was rather an industrious compiler than a creative genius. His importance lies in the department of Church history; his theology being deficient in orthodox life, but pervaded by the historical spirit. His earliest work, written at the age of twenty-seven, was a History of the Lutheran Religion, intended to prove the correctness of that faith, and also to demonstrate that the existence and perfections of God may be seen in history as well as in physics and other fields of study. He displayed a constant disposition to make thorough and critical examination of all available sources; but in all his works evinced an utter inability to attain to that philosophical comprehension of his theme by which he could combine his materials into a homogeneous whole. In perspicuity and taste he was not the equal of Mosheim, and in power to excite and stimulate he was very much inferior to Semler. His chief merit lay in exhaustless patience and great conscientiousness, as displayed in the examination of sources and helps. Many of his works are consequently still indispensable as aids in their special fields.
Walch's most important works are, Antiquitates Palii Philos. Vet. Christ. (Jena, 1746): — Hist. Patriarch. Jud. (1751): — Wahrhafte Gesch. d. Cath. v. Bora (Halle, 1751-54, 2 vols.): — Gesch. d. ev. luth. Rel. etc. (Jena, 1753): — Hist. Adoptianorum (1755, given in revised form in vol. 9 of the Ketzergeschl.): — Gedanken v. d. Gesch. d. Glaubenslehre (1756; 2d ed. 1764): — Entwurfeiner vollst. hist. d. rom. Papste (Gött. 1756; 2d ed. 1758): — Entweine vollst. Hist. d. Kirchenversammlunyen (Leips. 1759): — Hist. Protopaschitarum (1760): — Grundsatze d. natürl. Gottesgelahrtheit (1760, etc.): — Grundsdtze d. Kirchenhist. d. Neuen Testaments (1761; in a 3d enlarged ed. by Schulz, 1792): — Entwurfeiner vollst. Hist. d. Ketzeereiens, Spuftungen u. Religionsstreitigkeiten, etc. (Leips. 1762 sq., 11 pts., the concluding part, reaching down to the 9th cent., by Spittler), his principal work: — Breviar A Symbol. Eccl. Luth. (Gött. 1765, etc.): — Biblioth. Symbol. Vetus (Lemgo, 1770): — Kritische Unters.v. Gebrauch.d. heil. Schrift... in den ersten drei Jahrh. (Leips. 1779). Complete lists of Walch's works are given in Pütter, Vers. einer akadenm. Gelehrtengetsch. v. d. Universitit zu Göttingen, 1, 121 sq.; 2, 28 sq.; Meusel, Lex. verstorbezer deutsch. Schriftsteller, 14:345 sq.; Doring, Theologen Deutschlands im 18. u. 19. Jahrh. 4:615 sq. For biographical notices of Walch, see Heumann and Less, Memorial of the Gött. Faculty in
Honor of C. W. F. Walch (Gött. 1784); Heyne, Eulog. Ven. Walchii (1784, fol.); Winckler, Nachir. v. niedersdchsischen Leuten, 2, 101. For a characterization, see Baur, Epochen d. kirchl. Geschichtschreibung (Tüb. 1852), p. 145 sq. See Herzog, Real Encyklop. s.v.