The New International Encyclopædia/Gerhard, Johann

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GERHARD, Johann (1582-1637). One of the ablest and most learned German exponents of Lutheran orthodoxy. He was born at Quedlinburg, October 17, 1582. In his fifteenth year he came under the personal influence of Johann Arndt (q.v.), author of Das wahre Christentum, and resolved to study for the Church. Soon after entering the University of Wittenberg (1599) he began to waver in this determination, and ultimately interested himself for two years in the study of medicine, but in 1603 resumed his theological studies at Jena, and in the following year received a new impulse from Winkelmann and Mentzer, at Marburg. Having graduated and commenced lecturing at Jena in 1605, he in 1606 received and accepted the Duke of Coburg's invitation to the superintendency of Heldburg and mastership of the gymnasium; soon afterwards he became general superintendent of the duchy, in which capacity he was much and usefully engaged in the practical work of ecclesiastical organization until 1616, when he found a more congenial sphere in the senior theological chair at Jena, where the remainder of his life was spent and where he died, August 17, 1637. His most famous works are: Loci Communes Theologici (1610-22), and his Sacred Meditations (1606), which have been translated into several languages. His life was written in Latin by Fischer (Leipzig, 1723), and in German by Boettcher (Dresden, 1858).