Christian Scholar and Ecumenical Prophet
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In Philip Schaff, commissioned by the American Society of Church History for its centennial celebration in 1988, George Shriver offers a warm, personal account of the life and career of Philip Schaff, a study that emphasizes the human side of this great Christian scholar and ecumenist. Schaff was a teacher, a world traveler, a historian, a biblical scholar, a Romantic, a Pietist, an advocate of academic freedom and liturgical renewal, a devoted husband and father, a bridge between European and American scholarship, an apologist for America, and more.
Yet this book also reveals a life shaped by a unitary ecumenical vision of an age of "evangelical catholicism."
Even his founding of the American Society of Church History in 1888 was itself at least as much a product of his ecumenical vision as it was an effort to promote the cause of scholarship. Philip Schaff gave up a promising academic career in Germany to become a faculty member in the Mercersburg Seminary of the German Reformed Church in the United States. Along with John W. Nevin, he became identified with what came to be called "the Mercersburg Theology, " one of the most significant theological developments in nineteenth-century America. From 1870 until his death in 1893 he taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Schaff's pioneering works, Church and State in the United States, America, The Creeds of Christiandom, Catechism for Sunday Schools and Families, and the monumental, seven-volume History of the Christian Church, reflected his committment to historical scholarship and his lifelong concern for the practical life of the church. Schaff organized the 1873 General World Conference of the Evangelical Alliance andpresided over the American committee for the revision of the English Bible. The group that would found the Society of Biblical Literature first met in his study in 1880. The author's preface for this edition presents the latest research about Philip Schaff as well as an updated bibliography.
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