Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/John Christian William Augusti

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AUGUSTI, JOHK CHRISTIAN WILLIAM, a distinguished German theologian, was born at Eschenberga, near Gotha, in 1772. He was of Jewish descent, his grandfather having been a rabbi who had been converted to the Christian faith. His early education he received partly from Moller, pastor of Gierstadt, who introduced him to the study of Hebrew, and partly at the gymnasium at Gotha. He then proceeded to the university of Jena, and completed his studies there in 1793. In 1798 he obtained a post as privat-docent, or university lecturer on philosophy, and began to turn his attention chiefly to Oriental subjects. In 1800 he was made professor extraordinary of philo sophy, and three years after was appointed to the chair of Oriental languages. In 1808 he received the degree of doctor of theology, and in 1812 accepted a call to the chair of theology at the recently renovated university of Breslau. During the troubled years 1813 and 1814 he acted as lector, and received great praise for his firm and judicious conduct. In 1819 he was transferred to the university of Bonn, and in 1828 ho united with his professorship the office of director of the consistory. He died at Coblentz in 1841. Augusti had little sympathy with the modern philosophical interpretations of dogma, and although he took up a position of free criticism with regard to the Biblical narratives, he yet held fast to the traditional faith. His works on theology (History of Dogma, 1805, and System of Dogmatics, 1809) are simple statements of fact, and do not attempt a speculative treatment of their subjects. In addition to several exegetical works, his most impor tant writings are the DenkwiirdigJceiten aus der Christlichen Archaologie, 12 vols., 1817-31, a partially digested mass of materials, and the Handhuch der Christ. Archaologie, 3 vols., 1836-7, which gives the substance of the larger work in a more compact and systematic form.