Stäudlin: Geschichte u. Literatur der K. Geschichte. Hann.1827.
J. G. Dowling: An Introduction to the Critical Study of Eccles. History. London, 1838. Quoted p.1. The work is chiefly an account of the ecclesiastical historians. pp.1-212.
F. C. Baur: Die Epochen der kirchlichen Geschichtschreibung. Tüb.1852.
Philip Schaff: Introduction to History of the Apost. Church (N. York, 1853), pp.51-134.
Engelhardt: Uebersicht der kirchengeschichtlichen Literatur vom Jahre 1825-1850. In Niedner's |Zeitschrift für historische Theologie,| 1851.
G. Uhlhorn: Die kirchenhist. Arbeiten von 1851-1860. In Niedner's |Zeitschrift für histor. Theologie,| for 1866, Gotha, pp.3-160. The same: Die ältere Kirchengesch. in ihren neueren Darstellungen. In |Jahrbücher für deutsche Theol.| Vol. II.648 sqq.
Brieger's |Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte| (begun in 1877 and published in Gotha) contains bibliographical articles of Ad. Harnack, Möller, and others, on the latest literature.
Ch. K. Adams: A Manual of Historical Literature. N. York, 3d ed.1888.
Like every other science and art, church historiography has a history of development toward its true perfection. This history exhibits not only a continual growth of material, but also a gradual, though sometimes long interrupted, improvement of method, from the mere collection of names and dates in a Christian chronicle, to critical research and discrimination, pragmatic reference to causes and motives, scientific command of material, philosophical generalization, and artistic reproduction of the actual history itself. In this progress also are marked the various confessional and denominational phases of Christianity, giving different points of view, and consequently different conceptions and representations of the several periods and divisions of Christendom; so that the development of the Church itself is mirrored in the development of church historiography.
We can here do no more than mention the leading works which mark the successive epochs in the growth of our science.
I. The Apostolic Church.
The first works on church history are the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the inspired biographical memoirs of Jesus Christ, who is the theanthropic head of the Church universal.
These are followed by Luke's Acts of the Apostles, which describes the planting of Christianity among Jews and Gentiles from Jerusalem to Rome, by the labors of the apostles, especially Peter and Paul.
II. The Greek Church historians.
The first post-apostolic works on church history, as indeed all branches of theological literature, take their rise in the Greek Church.
Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, in Palestine, and contemporary with Constantine the Great, composed a church history in ten books (ejkklhsiastikh; iJstoriva, from the incarnation of the Logos to the year 324), by which he has won the title of the Father of church history, or the Christian Herodotus. Though by no means very critical and discerning, and far inferior in literary talent and execution to the works of the great classical historians, this ante-Nicene church history is invaluable for its learning, moderation, and love of truth; for its use of so since totally or partially lost; and for its interesting position of personal observation between the last persecutions of the church and her establishment in the Byzantine empire.
Eusebius was followed in similar spirit and on the same plan by Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret in the fifth century, and Theodorus and Evagrius in the sixth, each taking up the thread of the narrative where his predecessor had dropped it, and covering in part the same ground, from Constantine the Great till toward the middle of the fifth century.
Of the later Greek historians, from the seventh century, to the fifteenth, the |Scriptores Byzantini,| as they are called, Nicephorus Callisti (son of Callistus, about a.d.1333) deserves special regard. His Ecclesiastical History was written with the use of the large library of the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople, and dedicated to the emperor Andronicus Palaeologus (d.1327). It extends in eighteen books (each of which begins with a letter of his name) from the birth of Christ to the death of Phocas, a.d.610, and gives in the preface a summary of five books more, which would have brought it down to 911. He was an industrious and eloquent, but uncritical and superstitious writer.
III. Latin Church historians of the middle ages.
The Latin Church, before the Reformation, was, in church history, as in all other theological studies, at first wholly dependent on the Greek, and long content with mere translations and extracts from Eusebius and his continuators.
The most popular of these was the Historia Tripartita, composed by Cassiodorus, prime minister of Theodoric, and afterwards abbot of a convent in Calabria (d. about a.d.562). It is a compilation from the histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret, abridging and harmonizing them, and supplied -- together with the translation of Eusebius by Rufinus -- the West for several centuries with its knowledge of the fortunes of the ancient church.
The middle age produced no general church history of consequence, but a host of chronicles, and histories of particular nations, monastic orders, eminent popes, bishops, missionaries, saints, etc. Though rarely worth much as compositions, these are yet of great value as material, after a careful sifting of truth from legendary fiction.
The principal mediaeval historians are Gregory of Tours (d.595), who wrote a church history of the Franks; the Venerable Bede, (d.735), the father of English church history; Paulus Diaconus (d.799), the historian of the Lombards; Adam of Bremen, the chief authority for Scandinavian church history from a.d.788-1072; Haimo (or Haymo, Aimo, a monk of Fulda, afterwards bishop of Halberstadt, d.853), who described in ten books, mostly from Rufinus, the history of the first four centuries (Hist oriae Sacrae Epitome); Anastasius (about 872), the author in part of the Liber Pontificalis, i.e., biographies of the Popes till Stephen VI. (who died 891); Bartholomaeus of Lucca. (about 1312), who composed a general church history from Christ to a.d.1312; St. Antoninus (Antonio Pierozzi), archbishop of Florence (d.1459), the author of the largest mediaeval work on secular and sacred history (Summa Historialis), from the creation to a.d.1457.
Historical criticism began with the revival of letters, and revealed itself first in the doubts of Laurentius Valla (d.1457) and Nicolaus of Cusa (d.1464) concerning the genuineness of the donation of Constantine, the Isidorian Decretals, and other spurious documents, which are now as universally rejected as they were once universally accepted.
IV. Roman Catholic historians.
The Roman Catholic Church was roused by the shock of the Reformation, in the sixteenth century, to great activity in this and other departments of theology, and produced some works of immense learning and antiquarian research, but generally characterized rather by zeal for the papacy, and against Protestantism, than by the purely historical spirit. Her best historians are either Italians, and ultramontane in spirit, or Frenchmen, mostly on the side of the more liberal but less consistent Gallicanism.
First stands the Cardinal Caesar Baronius (d.1607), with his Annales Ecclesiastici(Rom.1588 sqq.), in 12 folio volumes, on which he spent thirty years of unwearied study. They come down only to the year 1198, but are continued by Raynaldi (to 1565), Laderchi (to 1571), and Theiner (to 1584).
This truly colossal and monumental work is even to this day an invaluable storehouse of information from the Vatican library and other archives, and will always be consulted by professional scholars. It is written in dry, ever broken, unreadable style, and contains many spurious documents. It stands wholly on the ground of absolute papacy, and is designed as a positive refutation of the Magdeburg Centuries, though it does not condescend directly to notice them. It gave immense aid and comfort to the cause of Romanism, and was often epitomized and popularized in several languages. But it was also severely criticized, and in part refuted, not only by such Protestants as Casaubon, Spanheim, and Samuel Basnage, but by Roman Catholic scholars also, especially two French Franciscans, Antoine and François Pagi, who corrected the chronology.
Far less known and used than the Annals of Baronius is the Historia Ecclesiasticaof Caspar Sacharelli, which comes down to a.d.1185, and was published in Rome, 1771-1796, in 25 quarto volumes.
Invaluable contributions to historical collections and special researches have been made by other Italian scholars, as Muratori, Zaccagni, Zaccaria, Mansi, Gallandi, Paolo Sarpi, Pallavicini (the last two on the Council of Trent), the three Assemani, and Angelo Mai
(b) French Catholic historians.
Natalis (Noel) Alexander, Professor and Provincial of the Dominican order (d.1724), wrote his Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris et Nova Testamentito the year 1600 (Paris, 1676, 2d ed.1699 sqq.8 vols. fol.) in the spirit of Gallicanism, with great learning, but in dry scholastic style. Innocent XI. put it in the Index (1684). This gave rise to the corrected editions.
The abbot Claude Fleury (d.1723), in his Histoire ecclésiastique(Par.1691-1720, in 20 vols. quarto, down to a.d.1414, continued by Claude Fabre, a very decided Gallican, to a.d.1595), furnished a much more popular work, commended by mildness of spirit and fluency of style, and as useful for edification as for instruction. It is a minute and, upon the whole, accurate narrative of the course of events as they occurred, but without system and philosophical generalization, and hence tedious and wearisome. When Fleury was asked why he unnecessarily darkened his pages with so many discreditable facts, he properly replied that the survival and progress of Christianity, notwithstanding the vices and crimes of its professors and preachers, was the best proof of its divine origin.
Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, the distinguished bishop of Meaux (d.1704), an advocate of Romanism on the one hand against Protestantism, but of Gallicanism on the other against Ultramontanism, wrote with brilliant eloquence, and in the spirit of the Catholic church, a universal history, in bold outlines for popular effect. This was continued in the German language by the Protestant Cramer, with less elegance but more thoroughness, and with special reference to the doctrine history of the middle age.
Sebastien le Nain de Tillemont (d.1698), a French nobleman and priest, without office and devoted exclusively to study and prayer -- a pupil and friend of the Jansenists and in partial sympathy with Gallicanism -- composed a most learned and useful history of the first six centuries (till 513), in a series of minute biographies, with great skill and conscientiousness, almost entirely in the words of the original authorities, from which he carefully distinguishes his own additions. It is, as far as it goes, the most valuable church history produced by Roman Catholic industry and learning.
Contemporaneously with Tillemont, the Gallican, L. Ellies Dupin (d.1719), furnished a biographical and bibliographical church history down to the seventeenth century. Remi Ceillier (d.1761) followed with a similar work, which has the advantage of greater completeness and accuracy. The French Benedictines of the congregation of St. Maur, in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, did immense service to historical theology by the best critical editions of the fathers and extensive archaeological works. We can only mention the names of Mabillon, Massuet, Montfaucon, D'achery, Ruinart, Martène, Durand. Among the Jesuits, Sirmond and Petau occupy a prominent place.
The Abbé Rohrbacher. (Professor of Church History at Nancy, d.1856) wrote an extensive Universal History of the Church, including that of the Old Testament, down to 1848. It is less liberal than the great Gallican writers of the seventeenth century, but shows familiarity with German literature.
(c) German Catholic historians.
The pioneer of modern German Catholic historians of note is a poet and an ex-Protestant, Count Leopold Von Stolberg (d.1819). With the enthusiasm of an honest, noble, and devout, but credulous convert, he began, in 1806, a very full Geschichte der Religion Jesu Christi, and brought it down in 15 volumes to the year 430. It was continued by F. Kerz (vols.16-45, to a.d.1192) and J. N. Brischar (vols.45-53, to a.d.1245).
Theod. Katerkamp (d. at Münster, 1834) wrote a church history, in the same spirit and pleasing style, down to a.d.1153. It remained unfinished, like the work of Locherer(d.1837), which extends to 1073.
Bishop Hefele's History of the Councils(Conciliengeschichte, 1855-'86; revised edition and continuation, 1873 sqq.) is a most valuable contribution to the history of doctrine and discipline down to the Council of Trent.
The best compendious histories from the pens of German Romanists are produced by Jos. Ign. Ritter, Professor in Bonn and afterward in Breslau (d.1857); Joh. Adam Möhler, formerly Professor in Tübingen, and then in Munich, the author of the famous Symbolik(d.1838); Joh. Alzog (d.1878); H. Brück (Mayence, 2d ed., 1877); F. X. Kraus (Treves, 1873; 3d ed., 1882); Card. Hergenröther(Freiburg, 3d ed., 1886, 3 vols.); F. X. Funk (Tübingen, 1886; 2d ed., 1890).
A. F. Gfrörer (d.1861) began his learned General Church History as a Protestant, or rather as a Rationalist (1841-'46, 4 vols., till a.d.1056), and continued it from Gregory VII. on as a Romanist (1859-'61).
Dr. John Joseph Ignatius Döllinger (Professor in Munich, born 1799), the most learned historian of the Roman Church in the nineteenth century, represents the opposite course from popery to anti-popery. He began, but never finished, a Handbook of Christian Church History(Landshut, 1833, 2 vols.) till a.d.680, and a Manual of Church History(1836, 2d ed., 1843, 2 vols.) to the fifteenth century, and in part to 1517. He wrote also learned works against the Reformation (Die Reformation, 1846-'48, in 3 vols.), on Hippolytus and Callistus (1853), on the preparation for Christianity (Heidenthum u Judenthum, 1857), Christianity and the Church in the time of its Founding (1860), The Church and the Churches (1862), Papal Fables of the Middle Age (1865), The Pope and the Council (under the assumed name of |Janus,| 1869), etc.
During the Vatican Council in 1870 Döllinger broke with Rome, became the theological leader of the Old Catholic recession, and was excommunicated by the Archbishop of Munich (his former pupil), April 17, 1871, as being guilty of |the crime of open and formal heresy.| He knows too much of church history to believe in the infallibility of the pope. He solemnly declared (March 28, 1871) that |as a Christian, as a theologian, as a historian, and as a citizen,| he could not accept the Vatican decrees, because they contradict the spirit of the gospel and the genuine tradition of the church, and, if carried out, must involve church and state, the clergy and the laity, in irreconcilable conflict.
V. The Protestant Church historians.
The Reformation of the sixteenth century is the mother church history as a science and art in the proper sense of term. It seemed at first to break off from the past and to depreciate church history, by going back directly to the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and especially to look most unfavorably on the Catholic middle age, as a progressive corruption of the apostolic doctrine and discipline. But, on the other hand, it exalted primitive Christianity, and awakened a new and enthusiastic interest in all the documents of the apostolic church, with an energetic effort to reproduce its spirit and institutions. It really repudiated only the later tradition in favor of the older, taking its stand upon the primitive historical basis of Christianity. Then again, in the course of controversy with Rome, Protestantism found it desirable and necessary to wrest from its opponent not only the scriptural argument, but also the historical, and to turn it as far as possible to the side of the evangelical cause. For the Protestants could never deny that the true Church of Christ is built on a rock, and has the promise of indestructible permanence. Finally, the Reformation, by, liberating the mind from the yoke of a despotic ecclesiastical authority, gave an entirely new impulse, directly or indirectly to free investigation in every department, and produced that historical criticism which claims to clear fact from the accretions of fiction, and to bring out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, of history. Of course this criticism may run to the extreme of rationalism and scepticism, which oppose the authority of the apostles and of Christ himself; as it actually did for a time, especially in Germany. But the abuse of free investigation proves nothing against the right use of it; and is to be regarded only as a temporary aberration, from which all sound minds will return to a due appreciation of history, as a truly rational unfolding of the plan of redemption, and a standing witness for the all-ruling providence of God, and the divine character of the Christian religion.
(a) German, Swiss, and Dutch historians.
Protestant church historiography has thus far flourished most on German soil. A patient and painstaking industry and conscientious love of truth and justice qualify German scholars for the mining operations of research which bring forth the raw material for the manufacturer; while French and English historians know best how to utilize and popularize the material for the general reader.
The following are the principal works:
Matthias Flacius (d 1575), surnamed Illyricus, a zealous Lutheran, and an unsparing enemy of Papists, Calvinists, and Melancthonians, heads the list of Protestant historians with his great Eccelesiastica Historia Novi Testamenti, commonly called Centuriae Magdeburgenses(Basle, 1560-'74), covering thirteen centuries of the Christian era in as many folio volumes. He began the work in Magdeburg, in connection with ten other, scholars of like Spirit and zeal, and in the face of innumerable difficulties, for the purpose of exposing the corruptions and, errors of the papacy, and of proving the doctrines of the Lutheran Reformation orthodox by the |witnesses of the truth| in all ages. The tone is therefore controversial throughout, and quite as partial as that of the Annals of Baronius on the papal side. The style is tasteless and repulsive, but the amount of persevering labor, the immense, though ill-digested and unwieldy mass of material, and the boldness of the criticism, are imposing and astonishing. The |Centuries| broke the path of free historical study, and are the first general church history deserving of the name. They introduced also a new method. They divide the material by centuries, and each century by a uniform Procrustean scheme of not less than sixteen rubrics: |de loco et propagatione ecclesiae; de persecutione et tranquillitate ecclesiae; de doctrina; de haeresibus; de ceremoniis; de politia; de schismatibus; de conciliis; de vitis episcoporum; de haereticis; de martyribus; de miraculis et prodigiis; de rebus Judaicis; de aliis religionibus; de mutationibus politicis.| This plan destroys all symmetry, and occasions wearisome diffuseness and repetition. Yet, in spite of its mechanical uniformity and stiffness, it is more scientific than the annalistic or chronicle method, and, with material improvements and considerable curtailment of rubrics, it has been followed to this day.
The Swiss, J. H. Hottinger (d.1667), in his Historia Ecclesiastica N. Testamenti(Zurich, 1655-'67, 9 vols. fol.), furnished a Reformed counterpart to the Magdeburg Centuries. It is less original and vigorous, but more sober and moderate. It comes down to the sixteenth century, to which alone five volumes are devoted.
From Fred. Spanheim of Holland (d.1649) we have a Summa Historia Ecclesiasticae (Lugd. Bat.1689), coming down to the sixteenth century. It is based on a thorough and critical knowledge of the sources, and serves at the same time as a refutation of Baronius.
A new path was broken by Gottfried Arnold (d.1714), in his, Impartial History of the Church and Hereticsto a.d.1688. He is the historian of the pietistic and mystic school. He made subjective piety the test of the true faith, and the persecuted sects the main channel of true Christianity; while the reigning church from Constantine down, and indeed not the Catholic church only, but the orthodox Lutheran with it, he represented as a progressive apostasy, a Babylon full of corruption and abomination. In this way he boldly and effectually broke down the walls of ecclesiastical exclusiveness and bigotry; but at the same time, without intending or suspecting it, he opened the way to a rationalistic and sceptical treatment of history. While, in his zeal for impartiality and personal piety, he endeavored to do justice to all possible heretics and sectaries, he did great injustice to the supporters of orthodoxy and ecclesiastical order. Arnold was also the first to use the German language instead of the Latin in learned history; but his style is tasteless and insipid.
J. L. von Mosheim (Chancellor of the University at Göttingen, d.1755), a moderate and impartial Lutheran, is the father of church historiography as an art, unless we prefer to concede this merit to Bossuet. In skilful construction, clear, though mechanical and monotonous arrangement, critical sagacity, pragmatic combination, freedom from passion, almost bordering on cool indifferentism, and in easy elegance of Latin style, he surpasses all his predecessors. His well-known Institutiones Historiae Ecclesiasticae antiquae et recentioris(Helmstädt, 1755) follows the centurial plan of Flacius, but in simpler form, and, as translated and supplemented by Maclaine, and Murdock, is still used extensively as a text-book in England and America.
J. M. Schröckh (d.1808), a pupil of Mosheim, but already touched with the neological spirit which Semler (d.1791) introduced into the historical theology of Germany, wrote with unwearied industry the largest Protestant church history after the Magdeburg Centuries. He very properly forsook the centurial plan still followed by Mosheim, and adopted the periodic. His Christian Church History comprises forty-five volumes, and reaches to the end of the eighteenth century. It is written in diffuse but clear and easy style, with reliable knowledge of sources, and in a mild and candid spirit, and is still a rich storehouse of historical matter.
The very learned Institutiones Historiae Ecclesiasticae V. et N. Testamentiof the Dutch Reformed divine, H. Venema (d.1787), contain the history of the Jewish and Christian Church down to the end of the sixteenth century (Lugd. Bat.1777-'83, in seven parts).
H. P. C. Henke (d.1809) is the leading representative of the rationalistic church historiography, which ignores Christ in history. In his spirited and able Allgemeine Geschichte der christlichen Kirche, continued by Vater (Braunschweig, 1788-1820, 9 vols.), the church appears not as the temple of God on earth, but as a great infirmary and bedlam.
August Neander. (Professor of Church History in Berlin, d.1850), the |father of modern church history,| a child in spirit, a giant in learning, and a saint in piety, led back the study of history from the dry heath of rationalism to the fresh fountain of divine life in Christ, and made it a grand source of edification as well as instruction for readers of every creed. His General History of the Christian Religion and Church begins after the apostolic age (which he treated in a separate work), and comes down to the Council of Basle in 1430, the continuation being interrupted by his death. It is distinguished for thorough and conscientious use of the sources, critical research, ingenious combination, tender love of truth and justice, evangelical catholicity, hearty piety, and by masterly analysis of the doctrinal systems and the subjective Christian life of men of God in past ages. The edifying character is not introduced from without, but naturally grows out of his conception of church history, viewed as a continuous revelation of Christ's presence and power in humanity, and as an illustration of the parable of the leaven which gradually pervades and transforms the whole lump. The political and artistic sections, and the outward machinery of history, were not congenial to the humble, guileless simplicity of Neander. His style is monotonous, involved, and diffuse, but unpretending, natural, and warmed by a genial glow of sympathy and enthusiasm. It illustrates his motto: Pectus est quod theologum facit.
Torrey's excellent translation (Rose translated only the first three centuries), published in Boston, Edinburgh, and London, in multiplied editions, has given Neander's immortal work even a much larger circulation in England and America than it has in Germany itself.
Besides this general history, Neander's indefatigable industry produced also special works on the Life of Christ (1837, 4th ed.1845), the Apostolic Age (1832, 4th ed.1842, translated by J. E. Ryland, Edinburgh, 1842, and again by E. G. Robinson, N. York, 1865), Memorials of Christian Life (1823, 3d ed.1845, 3 vols.), the Gnostic Heresies (1818), and biographies of representative characters, as Julian the Apostate (1812), St. Bernard (1813, 2d ed.1848), St. Chrysostom (1822, 3d ed.1848), and Tertullian (1825, 2d ed.1849). His History a Christian Doctrines was published after his death by Jacobi (1855), and translated by J. E. Ryland (Lond., 1858).
From J. C. L. Gieseler (Professor of Church History in Göttingen, d.1854), a profoundly learned, acute, calm, impartial, conscientious, but cold and dry scholar, we have a Textbook of Church Historyfrom the birth of Christ to 1854. He takes Tillemont's method of giving the history in the very words of the sources; only he does not form the text from them, but throws them into notes. The chief excellence of this invaluable and indispensable work is in its very carefully selected and critically elucidated extracts from the original authorities down to the year 1648 (as far as he edited the work himself). The skeleton-like text presents, indeed, the leading facts clearly and concisely, but does not reach the inward life and spiritual marrow of the church of Christ. The theological views of Gieseler hardly rise above the jejune rationalism of Wegscheider, to whom he dedicated a portion of his history; and with all his attempt at impartiality he cannot altogether conceal the negative effect of a rationalistic conception of Christianity, which acts like a chill upon the narrative of its history, and substitutes a skeleton of dry bones for a living organism.
Neander and Gieseler matured their works in respectful and friendly rivalry, during the same period of thirty years of slow, but solid and steady growth. The former is perfectly subjective, and reproduces the original sources in a continuous warm and sympathetic composition, which reflects at the same time the author's own mind and heart; the latter is purely objective, and speaks with the indifference of an outside spectator, through the ipsissima verbaof the same sources, arranged as notes, and strung together simply by a slender thread of narrative. The one gives the history ready-made, and full of life and instruction; the other furnishes the material and leaves the reader to animate and improve it for himself. With the one, the text is everything; with the other, the notes. But both admirably complete each other, and exhibit together the ripest fruit of German scholarship in general church history in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Ferdinand Christian Baur (Prof. of Church History in Tübingen, d.1860) must be named alongside with Neander and Gieseler in the front rank of German church historians. He was equal to both in independent and thorough scholarship, superior in constructive criticism and philosophical generalization, but inferior in well-balanced judgment and solid merit. He over-estimated theories and tendencies, and undervalued persons and facts. He was an indefatigable investigator and bold innovator. He completely revolutionized the history of apostolic and post-apostolic Christianity, and resolved its rich spiritual life of faith and love into a purely speculative process of conflicting tendencies, which started from an antagonism of Petrinism and Paulinism, and were ultimately reconciled in the compromise of ancient Catholicism. He fully brought to light, by a keen critical analysis, the profound intellectual fermentation of the primitive church, but eliminated from it the supernatural and miraculous element; yet as an honest and serious sceptic he had to confess at last a psychological miracle in the conversion of St. Paul, and to bow before the greater miracle of the resurrection of Christ, without which the former is an inexplicable enigma. His critical researches and speculations gave a powerful stimulus to a reconsideration and modification of the traditional views on early Christianity.
We have from his fertile pen a general History of the Christian Church, in five volumes (1853-1863), three of which were, published after his death and lack the originality and careful finish of the first and second, which cover the first six centuries;Lectures on Christian Doctrine History (Dogmengeschichte), published by his son (1865-'67, in 3 volumes), and a briefLehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, edited by himself (1847, 2d ed.1858). Even more valuable are his monographs: on St. Paul, for whom he had a profound veneration, although he recognized only four of his Epistles as genuine (1845, 2d ed. by E. Zeller, 1867, 2 vols., translated into English, 1875); on Gnosticism, with which he had a strong spiritual affinity (Die christliche Gnosis oder die christliche Religionsphilosophie, 1835); the history of the Doctrine of the Atonement (1838, 1 vol.), and of the Trinity and Incarnation (1841-'43, in 3 vols.), and his masterly vindication of Protestantism against Möhler's Symbolik (2d ed.1836).
Karl Rudolph Hagenbach (Professor of Church History at Basel, d.1874) wrote, in the mild and impartial spirit of Neander, with poetic taste and good judgment, and in pleasing popular style, a general History of the Christian Church in seven volumes (4th ed.1868-'72), and a History of Christian Doctrines, in two volumes (1841, 4th ed.1857).
Protestant Germany is richer than any other country in, manuals and compends of church history for the use of students. We mention Engelhardt (1834), Niedner (Geschichte der christl. Kirche, 1846, and Lehrbuch, 1866), Hase (11th ed.1886), Guericke (9th ed.1866, 3 vols.), Lindner (1848-'54), Jacobi (1850, unfinished), Fricke (1850), Kurtz (Lehrbuch, 10th ed.1887, in 2 vols., the larger Handbuch, unfinished), Hasse (edited by Köhler, 1864, in 3 small vols.), Köllner (1864), Ebrard (1866) 2 vols.), Rothe (lectures edited by Weingarten, 1875, 2 vols.), Herzog (1876-'82, 3 vols.), H. Schmid (1881, 2 vols.). Niedner's Lehrbuch (1866) stands first for independent and thorough scholarship, but is heavy. Hase's Compend is unsurpassed for condensation, wit, point, and artistic taste, as a miniature picture. Herzog's Abriss keeps the medium between voluminous fulness and enigmatic brevity, and is written in a candid Christian spirit. Kurtz is clear, concise, and evangelical. A new manual was begun by Möller, 1889.
The best works on doctrine history (Dogmengeschichte) are by Münscher, Geiseler, Neander, Baur, Hagenbach, Thomasius, H. Schmid, Nitzsch, and Harnack (1887).
It is impossible to do justice here to the immense service which Protestant Germany has done to special departments of church history. Most of the fathers, popes, schoolmen and reformers, and the principal doctrines of Christianity have been made the subject of minute and exhaustive historical treatment. We have already mentioned the monographs of Neander and Baur, and fully equal to them are such masterly and enduring works as Rothe's Beginnings of the Christian Church, Ullmann's Reformers before the Reformation, Hasse's Anselm of Canterbury, and Dorner's History of Christology.
(b) French works.
Dr. Etienne L. Chastel (Professor of Church History in the National Church at Geneva, d.1886) wrote a complete Histoire du Christianisme(Paris, 1881-'85, 5 vols.).
Dr. Merle D'aubigné (Professor of Church History in the independent Reformed Seminary at Geneva, d.1872) reproduced in elegant and eloquent French an extensive history both of the Lutheran and Calvinistic Reformation, with an evangelical enthusiasm and a dramatic vivacity which secured it an extraordinary circulation in England and America (far greater, than on the Continent), and made it the most popular work on that important period. Its value as a history is somewhat diminished by polemical bias and the occasional want of accuracy. Dr. Merle conceived the idea of the work during the celebration of the third centenary of the German Reformation in 1817, in the Wartburg at Eisenach, where Luther translated, the New Testament and threw his inkstand at the devil. He labored on it till the year of his death.
Dr. Edmund De Pressensé (pastor of a free church in Paris, member of the National Assembly, then senator of France), and able scholar, with evangelical Protestant convictions similar to those of Dr. Merle, wrote a Life of Christ against Renan, and a History of Ancient Christianity, both of which are translated into English.
Ernest Renan, the celebrated Orientalist and member of the French Academy, prepared from the opposite standpoint of sceptical criticism, and mixing history with romance, but in brilliant, and fascinating style, the Life of Christ, and the history of the Beginnings of Christianity to the middle of the second century.
(c) English works.
English literature is rich in works on Christian antiquity, English church history, and other special departments, but poor in general histories of Christianity.
The first place among English historians, perhaps, is due to Edward Gibbon (d.1794). In his monumental History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire(finished after twenty years' labor, at Lausanne, June 27,1787), he notices throughout the chief events in ecclesiastical history from the introduction of the Christian religion to the times of the crusades and the capture of Constantinople (1453), with an accurate knowledge of the chief sources and the consummate skill of a master in the art of composition, with occasional admiration for heroic characters like Athanasius and Chrysostom, but with a keener eye to the failings of Christians and the imperfections of the visible church, and unfortunately without sympathy and understanding of the spirit of Christianity which runs like a golden thread even through the darkest centuries. He conceived the idea of his magnificent work in papal Rome, among the ruins of the Capitol, and in tracing the gradual decline and fall of imperial Rome, which he calls |the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind,| he has involuntarily become a witness to the gradual growth and triumph of the religion of the cross, of which no historian of the future will ever record a history of decline and fall, though some |lonely traveller from New Zealand,| taking his stand on |a broken arch| of the bridge of St. Angelo, may sketch the ruins of St. Peter's.
Joseph Milner (Vicar of Hull, d.1797) wrote a History of the Church of Christfor popular edification, selecting those portions which best suited his standard of evangelical orthodoxy and piety. |Nothing,| he says in the preface, |but what appears to me to belong to Christ's kingdom shall be admitted; genuine piety is the only thing I intend to celebrate. He may be called the English Arnold, less learned, but free from polemics and far more readable and useful than the German pietist. His work was corrected and continued by his brother,Isaac Milner (d.1820), by Thomas Granthamand Dr. Stebbing.
Dr. Waddington (Dean of Durham) prepared three volumes on the history of the Church before the Reformation (1835) and three volumes on the Continental Reformation (1841). Evangelical.
Canon James C. Robertson of Canterbury (Prof. of Church History in King's College, d.1882) brings his History of the Christian Churchfrom the Apostolic Age down to the Reformation (a.d.64-1517). The work was first published in four octavo volumes (1854 sqq.) and then in eight duodecimo volumes (Lond.1874), and is the best, as it is the latest, general church history written by an Episcopalian. It deserves praise for its candor, moderation, and careful indication of authorities.
From Charles Hardwick (Archdeacon of Ely, d.1859) we have a useful manual of the Church History of the Middle Age (1853, 3d ed. by Prof. W. Stubbs, 1872), and another on the Reformation (1856, 3d ed. by W. Stubbs, London, 1873). His History of the Anglican Articles of Religion (1859) is a valuable contribution to English church history.
Dr. Trench, Archbishop of Dublin, has published his Lectures on Mediaeval Church History (Lond.1877), delivered before the girls of Queen's College, London. They are conceived in a spirit of devout churchly piety and interspersed with judicious reflections.
Philip Smith's History of the Christian Church during the First Ten Centuries (1879), and during the Middle Ages (1885), in 2 vols., is a skilful and useful manual for students.
The most popular and successful modern church historians in the English or any other language are Dean Milman of St. Paul's, Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey, and Archdeacon Farrar of Westminster. They belong to the broad church school of the Church of England, are familiar with Continental learning, and adorn their chosen themes with all the charms of elegant, eloquent, and picturesque diction. Henry Hart Milman (d.1868) describes, with the stately march of Gibbon and as a counterpart of his decline and fall of Paganism, the rise and progress of Ancient and Latin Christianity, with special reference to its bearing on the progress of civilization. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (d.1881) unrolls a picture gallery of great men and events in the Jewish theocracy, from Abraham to the Christian era, and in the Greek church, from Constantine the Great to Peter the Great. Frederic W. Farrar (b.1831) illuminates with classical and rabbinical learning, and with exuberant rhetoric the Life of Christ, and of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, and the Early Days of Christianity.
(d) American works.
American literature is still in its early youth, but rapidly growing in every department of knowledge. Prescott, Washington Irving, Motley, and Bancroft have cultivated interesting portions of the history of Spain, Holland, and the United States, and have taken rank among the classical historians in the English language.
In ecclesiastical history the Americans have naturally so far been mostly in the attitude of learners and translators, but with every prospect of becoming producers. They have, as already noticed, furnished the best translations of Mosheim, Neander, and Gieseler.
Henry B. Smith (late Professor in the Union Theol. Seminary, New York, d.1877) has prepared the best Chronological Tables of Church History, which present in parallel columns a synopsis of the external and internal history of Christianity, including that of America, down to 1858, with lists of Councils, Popes, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and Moderators of General Assemblies.
W. G. T. Shedd (Professor in the same institution, b.1820) wrote from the standpoint of Calvinistic orthodoxy an eminently readable History of Christian Doctrine (N. York, 1863, 2 vols.), in clear, fresh, and vigorous English, dwelling chiefly on theology, anthropology, and soteriology, and briefly touching on eschatology, but entirely omitting the doctrine of the Church and the sacraments, with the connected controversies.
Philip Schaff is the author of a special History of the Apostolic Church, in English and German (N. York, 1853, etc., and Leipzig, 1854), of a History of the Creeds of Christendom (N. York, 4th ed., 1884, 3 vols., with documents original and translated), and of a generalHistory of the Christian Church (N. York and Edinb., 1859-'67, in 3 vols.; also in German, Leipzig, 1867; rewritten and enlarged, N. Y. and Edinb., 1882-'88; third revision, 1889, 5 vols.; to be continued).
George P. Fisher (Professor in New Haven, b.1827) has written the best manual in the English language: History of the Christian Church with Maps. N. York, 1887. He has also published a History of the Reformation (1873); Beginnings of Christianity (1877), andOutlines of Universal History (1885), -- all in a calm, amiable, and judicious spirit, and a clear, chaste style.
Contributions to interesting chapters in the history of Protestantism are numerous. Dr. E. H. Gillett (d.1875) wrote a Monograph on John Hus (N. York, 1864, 2 vols.), aHistory of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philad.1864, 2 vols.), and a History of Natural Theology (God in Human Thought, N. York, 1874, 2 vols.); Dr. Abel Stevens, a History of Methodism, viewed as the great religious revival of the eighteenth century, down to the centenary celebration of 1839 (N. York, 1858-'61, 3 vols.), and a History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States (1864-'67, 4 vols.); Henry M. Baird, a History of the Rise and Progress of the Huguenots in France (N. York, 1879, 2 vols.), andThe Huguenots and Henry of Navarre (1886, 2 vols.).
The denominational and sectarian divisions of American Christianity seem to be unfavorable to the study and cultivation of general church history, which requires a large-hearted catholic spirit. But, on the other hand, the social and national intermingling of ecclesiastical organizations of every variety of doctrine and discipline, on a basis of perfect freedom and equality before the law, widens the horizon, and facilitates comparison and appreciation of variety in unity and unity in variety; while the growth and prosperity of the churches on the principle of self-support and self-government encourages a hopeful view of the future. America falls heir to the whole wealth of European Christianity and civilization, and is in a favorable position to review and reproduce in due time the entire course of Christ's kingdom in the old world with the faith and freedom of the new.
(e) Finally, we must mention biblical and ecclesiastical Encyclopaedias which contain a large number of valuable contributions to church history from leading scholars of the age, viz.:
1. The Bible Dictionariesof Winer. (Leipzig, 1820, 3d ed.1847, 2 vols.); Schenkel (Leipzig, 1869-'75, 5 vols.); Riehm Kitto (Edinb., 1845, third revised ed. by W. L. Alexander, 1862-'65, 3 vols.); Wm. Smith (London, 1860-'64, in 3 vols., American edition much enlarged and improved by H. Hackett and E. Abbot, N. York, 1870, in 4 vols.); Ph. Schaff (Philadelphia, 1880, with maps and illustrations; 4th ed., revised, 1887).
2. The Biblical and Historical Dictionariesof Herzog (Real-Encyklopädie für Protestantische Theologie und Kirche, Gotha 1854 to 1868, in 22 vols., new ed. thoroughly revised by Herzog, Plitt and Hauck, Leipzig, 1877-'88, in 18 vols.), Schaff-Herzog (Religious Encyclopaedia, based on Herzog but condensed, supplemented, and adapted to English and American students, edited by Philip Schaff in connection with Samuel M. Jackson and D. S. Schaff, N. York and Edinburgh, revised ed., 1887, in 3 vols., with a supplementary vol. on Living Divines and Christian Workers, 1887); Wetzer and Welte (Roman Catholic Kirchenlexicon, Freiburg i. Breisgau, 1847-l860, in 12 vols.; second ed. newly elaborated by Cardinal Joseph Hergenröther and Dr. Franz Kaulen, 1880 sqq., promised in 10 vols.); Lichtenberger. (Encyclopédie des sciences religieuses, Paris, 1877-'82, in 13 vols., with supplement); Mcclintock and Strong (Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, New York, 1867-'81, 10 vols. and two supplementary volumes, 1885 and 1887, largely illustrated). The Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th ed., completed 1889 in 25 vols.) contains also many elaborate articles on biblical and ecclesiastical topics.
3. For ancient church history down to the age of Charlemagne: Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (London and Boston, 1875, 2 vols.); Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines during the first eight centuries (London and Boston, 1877-'87, 4 vols.). The articles in these two works are written mostly by scholars of the Church of England, and are very valuable for fulness and accuracy of information.
Note. -- The study of church history is reviving in the Greek Church where it began. Philaret Bapheidos has issued a compendious church history under the title: Ekklesiastike istoria apo tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou mechri ton kath' hemas chronon hupo Philaretou Bapseidou, archimandritou D. Ph. kai kathegetou tes Theologias en te en Chalke Theologike Schole. Tomos protos. Archaia ekkles; historia. a.d.1-700. En Konstantinopolei , 1884 (Lorentz & Keil, libraries de S. M. I. le Sultan), 380 pp. The second vol. embraces the mediaeval church to the fall of Constantinople, 1453, and has 459 pp. The work is dedicated to Dr. Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, the discoverer of the famous Jerusalem Codex. Nearly all the literature quoted is German Protestant; no English, very few Latin, and still fewer Greek works are mentioned. Another compend of Church History in Greek by Diomedes Kyriakos appeared at Athens, 1881, in 2 vols.