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JOHANN AUGUST WILHELM NEANDER (1789-1...

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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 321 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHANN AUGUST WILHELM NEANDER (1789-1850), German theologian and church historian, was born at Gottingen on the 17th of January 1789. His father, Emmanuel Mendel, is said to have been a Jewish pedlar, but August adopted the name of Neander on his baptism as a Christian. While still very young, he removed with his mother to Hamburg. There, as throughout life, the simplicity of his personal appearance and the oddity of his manners attracted notice, but still more, his great industry and mental power. From the grammar-school (Johanneum) he passed to the gymnasium, where the study of Plato appears especially to have engrossed him. Considerable interest attaches to his early companionship with Wilhelm Neumann and certain others, among whom were the writer Karl August Varnhagen von Ense and the poet Adelbert von Chamisso. Baptized on the 25th of February 18o6, in the same year Neander went to Halle to study divinity. Here Schleiermacher was then lecturing. Neander found in him the very impulse which he needed, while Schleiermacher found a pupil of thoroughly congenial feeling, and one destined to carry out his views in a higher and more effective Christian form than he himself was capable of imparting to them. But before the year had closed the events of the Franco-Prussian War compelled his removal t6 Gottingen. There he continued his studies with ardour, made himself yet more master of Plato and Plutarch, and became especially advanced in theology under the venerable G. J. Planck (1751-1833). The impulse communicated by Schleiermacher was confirmed by Planck, and he seems now to have realized that the original investigation of Christian history was to form the great work of his life. Having finished his university course, he returned to Hamburg, and passed his examination for the Christian ministry. After an interval of about eighteen months, however, he definitively betook himself to an academic career, " habilitating " in Heidelberg, where two vacancies had occurred in the theological faculty of the university. He entered upon his work here as a theological teacher in 1811; and in 1812 he became a professor. In the same year (1812) he first appeared as an author by the publication of his monograph Uber den Kaiser Julianus and sein Zeitalter. The fresh insight into the history of the church evinced by this work at once drew attention to its author, and even before he had terminated the first year of his academical labours at Heidelberg, he was called to Berlin, where he was appointed professor of theology. In the year following his appointment he published a second monograph Der Heilige Bernhard and sein Zeitalter (Berlin, '813), and then in 1818 his work on Gnosticism (Genetische Entwickelung der vornehmsten gnastischen Systeme). A still more extended an elaborate monograph than either of the preceding followed in 1822, Der Heilige Johannes Chrysostomus and die Kirche, besonders des Orients in dessen Zeitalter, and again, in 1824, another on Tertullian (Antignostikus). He had in the meantime, however, begun his great work, to which these several efforts were only preparatory studies. The first volume of his Allgemeine Geschichte der christlichen Religion and Kirche embracing the history of the first three centuries, made its appearance in 1825. The others followed at intervals—the fifth, which appeared in 1842, bringing down the narrative to the pontificate of Bcniface VIII. A posthumous volume, edited by C. F. T. Schneider in 1852, carried it on to the period of the council of Basel. Besides this great work he published in 1832 his Geschichte der Pflanzung and Leitung der christlichen
End of Article: JOHANN AUGUST WILHELM NEANDER (1789-1850)
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