March 22, 1663, Lü­beck, Ger­ma­ny.

June 8, 1727, Hal­le, Ger­ma­ny.

Stadt­got­tes­ack­er, Hal­le, Ger­ma­ny.


Augustus was the son of Jo­hann Francke, a Lü­beck law­yer, and An­na Glox­in (daugh­ter of the may­or of Lü­beck), and hus­band of An­na Mag­da­le­na Wurm.

He was educated at the Gymnasium in Go­tha before he studied at the universities of Er­furt and Kiel—where he came under the influence of the pi­e­tist Christian Kort­holt—and finally Leipzig, where he shared rooms with Joachim Lange.

During his student career he made a special study of Hebrew and Greek; and in order to learn Hebrew more thoroughly, he for some time put himself under the instructions of Ezra Edzardi at Hamburg. He graduated at Leipzig, where in 1685 he became a Privatdozent.

A year later, with the help of his friend P. An­ton, and with the approval and encouragement of Phi­lipp Ja­kob Spe­ner, he founded the Col­le­gi­um Phil­o­bib­li­cum, where a number of graduates met regularly for systematic Bible study. He next spent some months at Lü­ne­burg as assistant or curate to the learned superintendent, K. H. Sand­ha­gen, and there his religious beliefs deepened.

On leaving Lü­ne­burg, he spent some time in Ham­burg, where he taught in a private school, and made the acquaintance of Ni­ko­laus Lange.

After a long visit to Spen­er, at that time a court preacher in Dres­den, Francke returned to Leip­zig in the spring of 1689, and began to give Bible lectures of an exegetical and practical kind, at the same time resuming the Collegium Philobiblicum of earlier days.

He soon became popular as a lecturer; but the peculiarities of his teaching almost immediately aroused a violent opposition on the part of the university authorities; before the end of the year he was forbidden to lecture on the grounds of his alleged pietism. That was how Francke’s name first came to be publicly associated with that of Spe­ner, and with pietism.

Prevented from lecturing in Leip­zig, Francke in 1690 found work at Er­furt as deacon of one of the city churches. Here his evangelistic fervor attracted multitudes to his preaching, including Ro­man Cath­o­lics, but at the same time excited the anger of his opponents; and the result of their opposition was that after a ministry of 15 months, the civil authorities ordered him in September 1691 to leave Er­furt within 48 hours. That same year Spe­ner was expelled from Dres­den.

In December, through Spe­ner’s influence, Francke accepted an invitation to fill the chair of Greek and oriental languages in the new Un­i­ver­si­ty of Halle, which was at that time being organized by the elector Frederick III of Bran­den­burg. At the same time, the chair having no salary attached to it, he was appointed pastor of Glau­cha.

He afterwards became professor of theology. Here, for the remaining 36 years of his life, he discharged the twofold office of pastor and professor with energy and success.

Francke is also remembered as founding schools for orphans and street waifs that eventually became known as the Franckesche Stift­ungen.

At the time of Francke’s death, over 2,300 pupils attended the schools. The schools provided a prototype that greatly influenced later Ger­man education.

Francke’s works in­clude:

  1. Auf, Christen­mensch, Auf, Auf zum Streit!
  2. Et Trin Jeg At­ter Har Idag
  3. Gott Lob, ein Schritt zur Ewig­keit
  4. Herr, Bleib’ bei Mir!
  5. Wach Auf, du Geist der Treuen Zeugen
  6. Was von Aussen und von Innen