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August Pfeiffer (Poet)

Born: October 27, 1640 - Lauenburg / Elbe, Schlezwig-Holstein, Germany
Died: January 11, 1698 - Lübeck, Schlezwig-Holstein, Germany

August Pfeiffer was a German Lutheran theologian, orientalist, writer and superintendent of the city of Lübeck.


August Pfeiffer moved after his schooling at Hamburg's Johanneum to the University of Wittenberg. Here he studied with Abraham Calov and Johann Deutschmann and already in 1649 received the Master's doctorate. In 1665 he was appointed professor of oriental languages, but in 1671 was a vocation as a priest in the Duchy Oels in Silesia, first in Medzibor and then in Stroppen near Breslau (Wroclaw). Andreas Acoluthus was among his pupils there..

In 1675 he returned back to Saxony, has been Pastor of St. Afra in Meißen, in 1681 Archidiakonus at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and in 1684 Professor of Hebrew language at the Theological Faculty of the University of Leipzig.

In 1689 he was offered post of Superintendent by the Council of the imperial city of Lübeck, leaving a sermon Pfarrmat place at the St. Mary's Church. Like his predecessors, including Meno Hanneken, he represented in this office the position of the Lutheran orthodoxy consistently and fought all types of pietism.


August Pfeiffer was regarded as a famous Orientalist, and his time as a significant, albeit controversial advocate for the Lutheran orthodoxy.

As a teenager nor the mystical Christian spirituality Hoburgs affectionate, already as a student he was under the influence of his professors totally against it. He stressed the orthodoxy, and the primacy of orthodox Lutheranism both against Roman Catholicism (Lutheranism before Luther), as well as against the Pietisten, where he dealt with Philipp Jakob Spener in a longstanding dispute over the Christian hope.

Pfeiffer's printed sermons (but only his preaching style is actually reflected) give the impression of a scholarly but dry Orthodox. His sermons offset more scholarly lectures, they consisted of a variety of biblical and historical references, but offered little living nearby.

Works (selection)

Pfeiffer's extensive literary work revolves around three priorities: exegetical and orientalist studies, armed and construction documents. Schimmelpfennig in the ADB still, learned that Pfeiffer's work "is far more important than his controversial writings and ascetischen rise, as there is today considered before that he biggest impact with his writings edification.

He is considered one of the theologian that strongly influenced J.S. Bach's beliefs and thinking. Pfeiffer's works can be found in J.S. Bach's theological library, and on the title page of the Notenbüchleins für Anna Magdalena Bach (1722), Bach included the short titles of three titles from Pfeiffer:
* Ante Calvinismus
* Christen Schule item
* AntiMelancholicus

Source: German Wikipedia Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (March 2008)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2008)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 412, BWV 501

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works





So gibst du nun, mein Jesu, gute Nacht



Links to other Sites

August Pfeiffer (Wikipedia) [German]



Wolf-Dieter Hauschild: Kirchengeschichte Lübecks. Lübeck 1981, S. 312.345f
Robin A. Leaver: Bachs Theologische Bibliothek: eine kritische Bibliographie. Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler 1983 (Beiträge zur theologischen Bachforschung 1)
Johannes Wallmann: Art. Pfeiffer, August. In: RGG, 4. Aufl., Bd. 6 (2003), Sp. 1231
Fritz Roth: Restlose Auswertungen von Leichenpredigten für genealogische und kulturhistorische Zwecke. Bd. 5 R 4117

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Last update: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 23:22