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Gfrorer, August Friedrich

GFRORER, AUGUST FRIEDRICH (1803-1861), German historian, was born at Calw, Württemberg, on the 5th of March 1803, and at the close of his preliminary studies at the seminary of Blaubeuren entered the university of Tübingen in 1821 as a student of evangelical theology. After passing his final examinations in 1825, he spent a year in Switzerland, during part of the time acting as companion and secretary to C. von Bonstetten (1745-1832); the year 1827 was spent chiefly in Rome. Returning to Württemberg in 1828, he first undertook the duties of repetent or theological tutor in Tübingen, and afterwards accepted a curacy in Stuttgart; but having in 1830 received an appointment in the royal public library at Stuttgart, he thenceforth gave himself exclusively to literature and historical science. His first work on Philo (Philo u. die jüdisch-alexandrinische Theosophie, Stuttgart, 1831) was rapidly followed by an elaborate biography, in two volumes, of Gustavus Adolphus (Gustav Adolf, König von Schweden, und seine Zeit, Stuttgart, 1835-1837), and by a critical history of primitive Christianity (Kritische Geschichte des Urchristenthums, 3 vols., Stuttgart, 1838). Here Gfrörer had manifested opinions unfavourable to Protestantism, which, however, were not openly avowed until fully developed in his church history (Allgemeine Kirchengeschichte bis Beginn des 14ten Jahrhunderts, Stuttgart, 1841-1846). In the autumn of 1846 he was appointed to the chair of history in the university of Freiburg, where he continued to teach until his death at Carlsbad on the 6th of July 1861. In 1848 he sat as a representative in the Frankfort parliament, where he supported the "High German" party, and in 1853 he publicly went over to the Church of Rome. He was a bitter opponent of Prussia and an ardent controversialist.

Among his later historical works the most important is the Geschichte der ost- u. westfränkischen Karolinger (Freiburg, 1848); but those on the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals (Untersuchung über Alter, Ursprung, u. Werth der Decretalen des falschen Isidorus, 1848), on the primitive history of mankind (Urgeschichte des menschlichen Geschlechts, 1855), on Hildebrand (Papst Gregorius VII. u. sein Zeitalter, 7 vols., 1859-1861), on the history of the 18th century (Geschichte des 18ten Jahrhunderts, 1862-1873), on German popular rights (Zur Geschichte deutscher Volksrechte im Mittelalter, Basel, 1865-1866) and on Byzantine history (Byzantinische Geschichten, 1872-1874), are also of real value.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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