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HISTORY OF DOCTRINES.
DR AND PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BASLE.
TRANSLATED BY CARL W. BUCH.
DUBLIN: JOHN ROBERTSON.
“ THE HISTORY OF DOCTRINES” is a branch of theological science familiar to the German student, but as yet almost entirely unknown in this country. In most, if not in all German Universities, lectures on this subject are yearly delivered, and a number of compendiums of various merit have been published by different writers. The present publication was selected for translation by my esteemed tutor, Dr. Davidson, Professor of Biblical Literature in the Lancashire Independent College, because it was thought that the compendiousness and clearness of the work would contribute to render it acceptable to the English reader. Throughout it has been the Translator's aim, not so much to give a literal translation, as to adapt the original to English modes of thought, without, however, permitting himself in any case to alter the sense of the original. A few passages, which were found to be of such a nature as to convey little definite meaning in translation, have been omitted. How far the Translator has succeeded in accomplishing the end proposed, must be left to the decision of competent judges; he would, however, feel gratified in knowing that he has been permitted to do some service in the language of a
country, among whose people he has met with so much that will ever be pleasant in his recollections.
It seems unnecessary that the Translator should say much about the department of science to which the present work belongs, about its nature, use, etc., since the introduction to the work itself will give all needful information. An “historical development of the doctrines of Christianity” cannot fail to be regarded as highly interesting and instructive by every thinking mind, and especially by every divine who would not rest satisfied with the simple and unqualified reception of the peculiar doctrines of the creed adopted by his denomination. The knowledge of what the most eminent theologians of all ages have thought on points frequently the subjects of much controversy, will be found of special use to those who are desirous of taking any part in such controversies.
The Author of the present work is Professor of Theology in the University of Basle, and belongs to the orthodox school of Germany. He observes, however, himself: “ Respecting my theological views, I do not think it necessary to enter into any lengthened remarks, inasmuch as they will be clear from the work itself to such an extent as is allowable in a writing of a professedly historical character, in which the subjective opinions of the writer should neither be prominently brought forward at the expense of truth, nor wholly kept back at the expense of liberty.” (Extract from the Author's preface). It may be sufficient to add, that Professor Hagenbach enjoys a high and deserved reputation in his own country as a theological writer.
The English reader will probably regret that the
Author should have paid so little attention to English theology; but English theology is not much studied in Germany, nor does the English language possess works on the History of Doctrines. The Translator
. has endeavoured to supply this defect by adding references to such works as he thought would be most useful and accessible to the English reader. These references and other notes are included in brackets .
The sign † before the name of an author shows that he is a Roman Catholic writer; the sign * signifies that his work is deserving of special notice.
In conclusion, the Translator takes this opportunity of expressing his best thanks to his friend and fellowstudent, R. A. Vaughan, B.A., for his kind assistance in preparing the MSS., and to Dr. Davidson for the aid which he has afforded him.
CARL W. BUCH.
LANCASHIRE INDEPENDENT COLLEGE,
August 12, 1846.