GEREON, SAINT. See Theban Legion.

GERGESENES. See Gerasenes.

GERHARD, gär'härt, JOHANN: Lutheran dogmatician; b. at Quedlinburg (34 m. n.w. of Magdeburg), of distinguished family, Oct. 17, 1582; d. at Jena Aug. 17, 1637.


At the age of fifteen he was afflicted with a serious illness and vowed to devote his life to the ministry if be should recover. Johann Arndt (q.v.), who preached at this time in Quedlinburg, took kindly to him and assisted him with his counsel. In 1599 he went to the University of Wittenberg and devoted himself to the study of philosophy and theology. Complying with the wish of a relative and contrary to his vow, he took up the study of medicine, but after the death of the relative resumed theology. He removed to Jena, but profited less from the lectures of the professors there than from private study of the Bible and the Church Fathers. In 1803 he became master of arts. At this time the fame of the theological faculty at Marburg


attracted him thither, and Winckelmann and Ment zer especially influenced him. When Hesse-Cassel, under Landgrave Maurice, accepted the Reformed doctrine he left Marburg and went back to Jena hoping to become professor. But Duke Casimir of Coburg, to whom he was highly recommended, entrusted him with the superintendency at Held burg and made him doctor of theology. He was only twenty-four years old at this time. In 1615 the duke made him general superintendent at Coburg, and in this position he was commissioned to draw up a church order. His nature and talents, however, made him long for a professor's chair, and he received calls from different universities, but Duke Casimir considered a theologian of Gerhard's importance indispensable for tis realm. At last, however, the opposition of the duke was overcome, and in 1616 Gerhard became professor at Jena.

His Character and Activities.

All the different phases of the academic teacher seemed to find their full development in Gerhard, and his lectures attracted crowds of students. He loved his students, in case of sickness went to their residence, and assisted them in all their troubles. His contemporaries considered him the great est theologian of his time. He received no less than twenty-four calls from different universities while at Jena, but he had no reason to leave. Although his salary was not large, he amassed a not inconsiderable fortune from emoluments accruing from his connection with princes and noblemen, and moreover, he lived in peace with all his colleagues. His usefulness showed itself also in the domain of practical church work and even of politics. The theologians of Saxony had brought about conventions from which they hoped to develop gradually a supreme tribunal of the Lutheran Church at the birthplace of the Reformation. Important conventions were held in 1621, 1624, 1628, and 1630, and in all of them Gerhard held a leading position. To many princes he was an oracle in questions of all kinds, such as the recommendations of church or school officers, princely match-makings or sponsorships, arbitra tion in disputes, and mediation in pecuniary affairs. Indeed, he himself sometimes gave financial aid to princes. His health was rather delicate and considerably affected by his numerous journeys on business.


In the sphere of dogmatics two works especially made Gerhard's name famous. One of them was the Confessio catholica, in qua doctrana catholica et evangelica, quam ecclesiœ Augustanœ confessioni addictœ profilerntur, ex Romano-catholicorum scriptorum sufragiis conftrmatur (4 parts, Frankfort and Leipsic, 1634-37), based upon the Catalogue testium veritatis of Flacius. It is more comprehensive than its title denotes, being at the same time an extensive apology and polemic of the Evangelical creed. The first part is general and treats the Prinsipia et media nostrtœ et pontifeciœ religionis. The other three volumes treat the disputed articles of faith in the order of Bellarmine, the controversialist par excellence. But the chief work which established Gerhard's theological reputation is his Loci theologici; he began this at the age of twenty-seven and wrote the last and ninth volume in 1622. In 1657 his son, Johann Ernst, prepared a new edition, and another (22 vols.) was issued by J. F. Cotta, professor of dogmatics in Tübingen in 1762-89 (later eds. by E. Preuss, 33 vols., Berlin, 1863-75; 9 vols., Leipsic, 1885), Gerhard's work is distinguished from that of his predecessors like Chemnitz and Hutten by a certain progress in method. He made a more logical arrangement of the loci and distinguished different groups. He puts the doctrine concerning Scripture before his system proper, because the dogma of the canon is not really an article of faith, but the basis of the articles of faith. Over against the infallibility of the pope he sets the infallibility of Scripture. But here it becomes evident that the strongest side of the orthodox faith is also its weakest side, for in order to save the authority of Scripture Gerhard had to maintain a theory of inspiration that included even the Hebrew vowel points. This weak point was cleverly detected by the Jesuits. Nevertheless the work may be justly characterized as the consummation of Lutheran dogmatic theology as initiated by Melanchthon. Besides these two principal works may be mentioned an exegetical writing entitled Harnwnia cvangelistarum Chemnitio-Lyseriana a Jo. Gerhardo continuata et iusto commer"rio alluatrata (3 parts, Jena, 1626-27). Another production contributing to his fame was the Meditationes sacra,, which he wrote as a student in 1606. It consists of fifty-one devotional meditations, has passed through innumerable editions, and even recently several translations have appeared (Fourteen Meditations, London, 1846). A work of a similar nature and similar success was his Exercitium pietatis quotidianum quadripartitum (Coburg, 1612-15). His Schola pietatis (1622-23) was less successful. His Enchfridion conaolatorium was translated into German and edited in 1877 by C. J. Böttcher (Leipsic, 1877). There appeared recently (Leipsic, 1898) D. Joannis Gerhardihomilite XXXV1, seu meditationes breves diebus dominicis atque festis accommodates e manuscriptis Gerhardinis ab illustrissima bibliotheca Gothana asservatis; primum edidit Dr. G. Berbig. In his Methodus 8tudii theologici (1620) he touched the sphere of isagogics, and emphasized especially the study of Holy Scripture.

(Johannes Kunze.)

Bibliography: A highly satisfactory biography of Gerhard, based upon sources, some of which are no longer accessible, was prepared by E. R. Fischer, Leipsic,1723, 1727. Consult: W. Gass, Geschichte der protestantischen Dogmatik, i. 246 sqq., Berlin, 1854; G. Frank, Geschichte der protestantiSchen Thrologie i 371 sqq. Leipsic,1862; E. Troaltsch, Yernunft and Otjenbarung bei J. Gerhard and Mslanrhthon, Göttingen, 1891.


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