1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mosheim, Johann Lorenz von

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MOSHEIM, JOHANN LORENZ VON (c. 1694-1755), German Lutheran divine and Church historian, was born at Lübeck on the 9th of October, 1694 or 1695. After studying at the gymnasium of his native place, he entered the university of Kiel (1716), where he took his master's degree in 1718. In 1719 he became assessor in the philosophical faculty at Kiel. His first appearance in the field of literature was in a polemical tract against John Toland, Vindiciae antiquae christianorum disciplinae (1720), which was soon followed by a volume of Observationes sacrae (1721). These works, along with the reputation he had acquired as a lecturer and preacher, secured for him a call to Helmstadt as professor ordinarius in 1723. The Institutionum historiae ecclesiasticae libri IV. appeared in 1726, and in the same year he was appointed by the duke of Brunswick abbot of Marienthal, to which dignity and emolument the abbacy of Michaelstein was added in the following year. Mosheim was much consulted by the authorities when the new university of Göttingen was being formed; especially in the framing of the statutes of the theological faculty, and the provisions for making the theologians independent of the ecclesiastical courts. In 1747 he was made chancellor of the university. He died at Göttingen on the 9th of September. Among his other works were De rebus christianorum ante Constantinum commentarii (1753), Ketzer-Geschichte (2nd ed. 1748), and Sittenlehre der heiligen Schrift (1735-53). His exegetical writings, characterized by learning and good sense, include Cogitationes in N. T. loc. select. (1726), and expositions of 1 Cor. (1741) and the two Epistles to Timothy (1755). In his sermons (Heilige Reden) considerable eloquence is shown, and a mastery of style which justifies the position he held as president of the German Society.

There are two English versions of the Institutes, that of Archibald Maclaine, published in 1764, and that of James Murdock (1832), which is the more correct. Murdock's translation was revised and re-edited by James Seaton Reid in 1848, and by H. L. Hastings in 1892 (Boston). An English translation of the De rebus christianorum was published by Murdock in 1851.