Philip Schaff (January 1, 1819 – October 20, 1893), was a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant theologian and a Church historian who spent most of his adult life living and teaching in the United States.
Schaff was born in Chur, Switzerland, and educated at the gymnasium of Stuttgart. At the universities of Tübingen, Halle and Berlin, he was successively influenced by Ferdinand Christian Baur and Schmid, by Friedrich August Tholuck and Julius Müller, by David Strauss and, above all, Johann August Wilhelm Neander. At Berlin in 1841 he took the degree of Bachelor of Divinity and passed examinations for a professorship. He then traveled through Italy and Sicily as tutor to Baron Krischer. In 1842, he was Privatdozent in the University of Berlin, where he lectured on exegesis and church history. In 1843, he was called to become Professor of Church History and Biblical Literature in the German Reformed Theological Seminary of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, then the only seminary of that church in America.
On his journey Schaff stayed in England and met Edward Pusey and other Tractarians. His inaugural address on The Principle of Protestantism, delivered in German at Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1844, and published in German with an English version by John Williamson Nevin was a pioneer work in English in the field of symbolics (that is, the authoritative ecclesiastical formulations of religious doctrines in creeds or confessions). This address and the "Mercersburg Theology" which he taught seemed too pro-Catholic to some, and he was charged with heresy. But, at the synod at York in 1845, he was unanimously acquitted...
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