POST, GEORGE EDWARD: Presbyterian; b. in New York City Dec. 17, 1838; d. at Beirut, Syria, Oct. 1, 1909. He was educated at the New York Free Academy (now the College of the City of New York; A.B., 1854), New York University (M.D., 1860), and Union Theological Seminary (1861). He was then a chaplain in the United States Army (1861-63), after which he was a missionary at Tripoli, Syria (1863-67). After 1867 he was professor of surgery at the Syrian Protestant College, Beirut, Syria. He was also surgeon to the Johanniter Hospital, Beirut. In addition to a number of text-books and other works in Arabic, and besides many articles on natural history in leading theological encyclopedias, he wrote Flora of Syria, Palestine, and Syria from the Taurus to Ras Muhammad, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Syrian Desert (Beirut, 1896).
POSTIL: A medieval Latin term for a marginal note or a Biblical commentary affixed to a text, being an abbreviation of the phrase post ills verbs textus. The word first occurs in the chronicle (with reference to examples of 1228 and 1238) of Nicolas Trivetus, but later it came to mean only homiletic exposition, and thus became synonymous with homily in distinction from the thematic sermon. Finally, after the middle of the fourteenth century, it was applied to an annual cycle of homilies. From the time of Luther, who Published the first part of his postil under the title Enarrationes epistolarum et evangeliorum quas postillas vocant (Wittenberg, 1521), every annual cycle of sermons on the lessons, whether consisting of homilies or formal sermons, is termed a postil. A few of the most famous Lutheran postils are those of M. Luther (Kirchenpostille, Wittenberg, 1527; Hauspostille, 1542, 1549), P. Melanchthon (Evangelien-Postille, Germ., Nuremberg, 1549; Lat., Hanover, 1594), M. Chemnitz (EvangelienrPostille, Magdeburg, 1594), L.Osiander (Bauern-Postille, Tübingen,1597), and J. Arndt (Evangelien-Postille, Leipsic, 1616).
The term postil fell into disuse during the period of Pietism and the Enlightenment (qq.v.), but was revived by Claus Harms (Winter-Postille, Kiel, 1812; Sommer-Postille, 1815); and has again become common through W. Löhe Evangelien-Postille, Frommel 1848; Epistel-Postille, 1858), and M. Stuttgart (Herzpostille, Bremen, 1882, 1890; Hauspostille, 1887-88; Pilgerpostille, 1890).
The Reformed Church, disregarding a regular series of lessons, has no postils; but in the Roman Catholic Church the term has been kept especially through L. Goffiné (Hand-Postill oder christ-catholische Unterrichtungen von allen Sonn- and Feyr-Tagen des gantzen Jahrs (Mainz, 1690; popular, illustrated ed., reissued twenty-one times by H. Herder, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1875-1908; Eng. transl., T. Noethen, New York, n.d.).
Calvin College. Last modified on 06/03/04. Contact the CCEL.