ARNOLD, GOTTFRIED (1666-1714), German Protestant divine, was born at Annaberg, in Saxony, where his father was a schoolmaster. In 1682 he went to the Gymnasium at Gera, and three years later to the university of Wittenberg. Here he made a special study of theology and history, and afterwards, through the influence of P.J. Spener, "the father of pietism," he became tutor in Quedlinburg. His first work, Die Erste Liebe zu Christo, to which in modern times attention was again directed by Leo Tolstoy, appeared in 1696. It went through five editions before 1728, and gained the author much reputation. In the year after its publication he was invited to Giessen as professor of church history. The life and work here, however, proved so distasteful to him that he resigned in 1698, and returned to Quedlinburg. In 1699 he began to publish his largest work, described by Tolstoy (The Kingdom of God is within You, chap, iii.) as "remarkable, although little known," Unparteiische Kirchen- und Ketzerhistorie, in which he has been thought by some to show more impartiality towards heresy than towards the Church (cp. Otto Pfleiderer, Development of Theology, p. 277). His next work, Geheimniss der göttlichen Sophia, published in 1700, seemed to indicate that he had developed a form of mysticism. Soon afterwards, however, his acceptance of a pastorate marked a change, and he produced a number of noteworthy works on practical theology. He was also known as the author of sacred poems. Gottfried Arnold has rightly been classed with the pietistic section of Protestant historians (Bibliotheca Sacra, 1850).
See Calwer-Zeller, Theologisches Handwörterbuch, and the account of him in Albert Knapp's new edition of Die erste Liebe zu Christo (1845).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)