Originally written in German, Schaff wrote this English translation in 1853 for a broader audience at the request of many of his colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic. This introduction to church history relates history to theology, worship, and morality. He also explores the sources of knowledge and the usefulness of church history for contemporary readers. Schaff not only displays his acquaintance with church historians from previous eras, but also synthesizes previous perspectives from the church’s earlier centuries.
The second half of this volume explores the history of the Apostolic Church, spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire, the early conceptions of Christianity and morality, spiritual gifts, and the exercise of church discipline.
With Logos, this important work by Philip Schaff is easier to read than ever before! The Scripture texts link to your Greek and Hebrew texts and English translations. And your digital library gives you the ease and flexibility to read Schaff alongside the primary texts of the key figures in church history, such as Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, and the Church Fathers.
In the development of the discipline of church history in the United States, few scholars played a more important role than the Swiss-born, German-educated immigrant Philip Schaff. His model of careful, accurate, comprehensive, and irenic scholarship . . . remains worthy of admiration and emulation.
—R. Graham, professor of American church history, North Park Theological Seminary
No scholar of his generation has interested me so much. He was broad, powerful, a man of great genius.
Philip Schaff wanted to be remembered as a Christian scholar, and he pursued this scholarship in the context of his grand and optimistic ecumenical vision . . . Schaff was, in his own words, an inveterate hoper.
Philip Schaff (1819–1893) was born in Chur, Switzerland. He was educated in Germany at Tübingen, Halle, and Berlin, where he studied under August Neander. In 1843, he moved to America and became a professor of church history and biblical literature at the German Reformed Theological Seminary in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.
During that time, he edited a hymnal, worked on the liturgy in the German Reformed Church, and edited a translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. The English translation of his History of the Apostolic Church appeared in 1853. Schaff remained at Mercersburg until 1863, when the Civil War forced the seminary to close.
In 1870, Schaff became a professor at Union Theological Seminary. During his tenure there, he held the chair of theological encyclopedia and Christian symbolism, the chair of Hebrew and cognate languages, the chair of sacred literature, and the chair of church history. He also served on the committee that translated the American Standard Version.
Schaff also authored or edited the History of the Christian Church, Early Church Fathers, and the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. He is remembered as one of America’s foremost church historians of the nineteenth century.