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Philip Schaff (January 1, 1819 - October 20, 1893), was a Swiss-born, German-educated Protestant theologian and a Church historian who spent most of his adult life living and teaching in the United States.
Schaff was born in Chur, Switzerland and educated at the gymnasium of Stuttgart. At the universities of Tübingen, Halle and Berlin, he was successively influenced by Baur and Schmid, by Tholuck and Julius Müller by David Strauss and, above all, Neander. At Berlin, in 1841, he took the degree of Bachelor of Divinity and passed examinations for a professorship. He then traveled through Italy and Sicily as tutor to Baron Krischer. In 1842, he was Privatdozent in the University of Berlin, where he lectured on exegesis and church history. In 1843, he was called to become Professor of Church History and Biblical Literature in the German Reformed Theological Seminary of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, then the only seminary of that church in America.
Schaff's broad views strongly influenced the German Reformed Church, through his teaching at Mercersburg, through his championship of English in German Reformed churches and schools in America, through his hymnal (1859), through his labours as chairman of the committee which prepared a new liturgy, and by his edition (1863) of the Heidelberg Catechism. His History of the Apostolic Church (in German, 1851; in English, 1853) and his History of the Christian Church (7 vols., 1858-1890), opened a new period in American study of ecclesiastical history.
Schaff became a professor at Union Theological Seminary, New York City in 1870 holding first the chair of theological encyclopedia and Christian symbolism till 1873, of Hebrew and the cognate languages till 1874, of sacred literature till 1887, and finally of church history, until his death. He also served as president of the committee that translated the American Standard Version of the Bible, though he died before it was published in 1901.