KIRCHER, kîr'Her, ATHANASIUS: German Jesuit; b. at Geisa (30 m. n.e. of Fulda) May 2, 1602; d. in Rome Nov. 28, 1680. He joined the Society of Jesus at Mainz in 1618, and afterward became teacher of philosophy and mathematics at Wurzburg. On the invasion of the Swedes in 1631 he fled to Avignon, whence he repaired to Rome in 1635. For eight years he taught mathematics at the Collegium Romanum and founded in the college a museum that has preserved his name. He was a scholar of varied attainments and wrote numerous books on mathematics, physics, natural history, philosophy, philology, history, and archeology. While his writings are now antiquated, Kircher is important for his work as a pioneer, particularly in the field of Egyptian hieroglyphics. To be mentioned are: Prodromus Coptus sive Ægyptiacus (Rome, 1636); (Œdipus Ægyptiacus (3 vols., 1652-1655); China . . . illustrata (Amsterdam, 1667); and Latium (1671).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: His autobiography is in A. Langenmantel, Fasciculus epistolarum, A. Kircheri, pp. 65 sqq., Augsburg, 1684; A. and A. de Backer, Bibliothèque des écrivains de la société de Jésus, Liége, 1853-61; KL, vii. 716-717.

KIRCHHOFER, kîrH'hof-er, MELCHIOR: Swiss church historian; b. at Schaffhausen Jan. 3, 1775; d. at Stein (11 m. e.s.e. of Schaffhausen) Feb. 13, 1853. He studied theology and philosophy at Marburg 1794-96, took orders in 1797, and held various country pastorates till 1808, when he became pastor at Stein, in the canton of Schaffhausen, and remained there till his death. In his works Kirchhofer combined a calm and objective manner of presentation with thoroughness and soundness of investigation. He wrote monographs on Sebastian Hofmeister (Zurich, 1808), Oswald Myconius (1813), Werner Steiner (1818), Berthold Haller (1828),


and Guillaume Farel (2 vols., 1831-33; Eng. transl. London, 1837), and continued Hottinger's Helvetische Kirchengeschichte (ed. L. Wirz, 5 parts, 1808-19). He also published the Schaffhauserische Jahrbücher (Schaffhausen, 1819-29), and Neujahrsblätter für die schaffhauserische Jugend (1822-1843), which contain a history of Schaffhausen until the incorporation of the city into the Swiss Confederacy in 1501, besides some smaller pamphlets, tracts, and criticisms.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Biographical material is contained in the funeral address of J. Böschenstein, Schaffhausen, 1853.


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