« Ahithophel Ahlfeld, Johann Friedrich Aichspalt »

Ahlfeld, Johann Friedrich

AHLFELD, ɑ̄l´feld, JOHANN FRIEDRICH: Lutheran; b. at Mehringen (in the Harz, near Bernburg, 25 m. n.n.w. of Halle), Anhalt, Nov. 1, 1810; d. at Leipsic Mar. 4,1884. His father was a carpenter, and he owed some of his later power to the fact that he was brought up with an intimate knowledge of the nature and needs of the mass of the people. From 1830 to 1833 he studied at Halle. For a year he was a private tutor, and then he taught in the gymnasium at Zerbst. His preaching at this time was influenced by rationalism. At the beginning of 1837 he was appointed rector of the boys’ school at Wörlitz; and here he came under the influence of Schubring, a man of simple faith, and his views changed. In 1838 he became pastor of Alsleben, on the Saale, a village of sailors where he worked hard and exercised a powerful influence, finding time, however, for literary work, and vigorously defending the old-fashioned faith against rationalism. He was called to Halle in 1847 through Tholuck’s endeavors, and did his duty nobly in the troublous times of the Revolution and of the cholera epidemic of 1849. He took positions of more and more prominence, and in 1850 was chosen pastor of St. Nicholas’s Church in Leipsic. In 1881 he retired from active work.

As a preacher Ahlfeld gained and maintained a remarkable popularity. Abstract speculation was 99 not his strong point. He was at home in the concrete, and knew how to narrate with great effect stories from Holy Scripture, from the history of the Church, and from his own or others’ experience. Besides preaching, he taught in the Leipsic Theological Seminary, and for many years did good service on the commission appointed to revise Luther’s version of the Old Testament. He left a lasting memorial of his labors in more than one charitable foundation with whose origin he had much to do. Of the numerous collections of his discourses may be mentioned: Predigten über die evangelischen Perikopen (Halle, 1848; 12th ed., 1892); Das Leben im Lichte des Wortes Gottes (1861; 7th ed., 1886); Predigten über die epistolischen Perikopen (1867; 5th ed., 1899); Confirmationsreden (2 series, Leipsic, 1880).

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: Friedrich Ahlfeld, weiland Pastor zu St. Nikolai in Leipzig; ein Lebensbild, Halle, 1885.

« Ahithophel Ahlfeld, Johann Friedrich Aichspalt »
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