Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/John James Scheffmacher

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 13
John James Scheffmacher

by Francis Xavier Delany


Jesuit theologian b. at Kientzheim, Alsace, 27 April, 1668; d. at Strasburg, 18 August, 1733. He was one of the greatest theologians of his time, an orator of power and influence and the author of valuable works on controversy. By his preaching and writing, he labored for many years for the conversion of the Lutherans and brought a great number of them back to the Church. In 1715 while teaching theology in the Catholic University of Strasburg, he was appointed to the chair of Apologetics, founded in the cathedral of that city by Louis XIV; he was rector of the university (1728-31). His best-known writings are in the form of letters, setting forth with clear, solid arguments those points of Catholic doctrine which long experience had taught him presented the greatest difficulties to Protestants. These letters have been collected in two separate volumes and published under the titles: "Lettres d'un Docteur Allemand", 14th ed. (Strasburg, 1789), "Lettres d'un Théologien", 13th ed. (Strasburg, 1750). Another well-known work of the author is "Controverskatechismus (Cologne, 1723) which was later published under the title, "Licht in den Finsternissen". The oldest known French edition of this work entitled "Catéchisme de Controverse" is dated Strasburg, 1751, though it is not certain whether the book was originally published in French or in German. There is an English translation entitled, "A Controversial Catechism" (Baltimore). A new German edition was published at Strasburg in 1892.

HURTER, Nomencl. lit., V (Innsbruck, 1895), 3; SOMMERVOGEL, Bibliotheque de la Compagnie de Jesus, V, VII (Paris, 1896), 727.

F.X. DELANY