1663–1727

Born: March 22, 1663, Lü­beck, Ger­ma­ny.

Died: June 8, 1727, Hal­le, Ger­ma­ny.

Buried: Stadt­got­tes­ack­er, Hal­le, Ger­ma­ny.

portrait

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 stu­dy­ing 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.

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 the time be­ing or­gan­ized by elect­or Fred­er­ick III of Bran­den­burg.

At the same time, the chair hav­ing no sal­a­ry at­tached to it, he was ap­point­ed pas­tor of Glau­cha.

He af­ter­ward 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