Lechler, Gotthard Victor
LECHLER, GOTTHARD VICTOR (1811-1888), German Lutheran theologian, was born on the 18th of April 1811 at Kloster Reichenbach in Wurttemberg. He studied at Tubingen under F. C. Baur, and became in 1858 pastor of the church of St Thomas, professor ordinarius of historical theology and superintendent of the Lutheran church of Leipzig. He died on the 26th of December 1888. A disciple of Neander, he belonged to the extreme right of the school of mediating theologians. He is important as the historian of early Christianity and of the pre-Reformation period. Although F. C. Baur was his teacher, he did not attach himself to the Tubingen school; in reply to the contention that there are traces of a sharp conflict between two parties, Paulinists and Petrinists, he says that " we find variety coupled with agreement, and unity with difference, between Paul and the earlier apostles; we recognize the one spirit in the many gifts." His Das apostolische und das nachapostolische Zeilalter (1851), which developed out of a prize essay (1849), passed through three editions in Germany (3rd ed., 1885), and was translated into English (2 vols., 1886). The work which in his own opinion was his greatest, Johann von Wiclif und die Vorgeschichle der Reformation (2 vols., 1873), appeared in English with the title John Wiclif and his English Precursors (1878, new ed., 1884). An earlier work, Geschichte des engl. Deismus (1841), is still regarded as a valuable contribution to the study of religious thought in England.
Lechler's other works include Geschichte der Presbyterial- und Synodal-verfassung (1854), Urkundenfunde zur Geschichte des christl. Allertums (1886), and biographies of Thomas Bradwardine (1862) and Robert Grosseteste (1867). He wrote part of the commentary on the Acts of the Apostles in J. P. Lange's Bibelwerk. From 1882 he edited with F. W. Dibelius the Beitrage zur sdchsischen Kirchengeschichte. Johannes Hus (1890) was published after his death.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)