Today in Christian History

February 12

February 12, 1663: Congregational minister Cotton Mather is born in Boston. The most celebrated New England writer of his day, he was a scientist (whose work included early studies of inoculation), one of the founders of Yale University, and pastor of Boston's Second Church (just as his father, Increase Mather, had been). He also wrote Wonders of the Invisible World, a description of the Salem witch trials(see issue 41: American Puritans).

February 12, 1809: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States and author of the Emancipation Proclamation, is born near Hodgenville, Kentucky (see issue 33: Christianity and the Civil War).

February 12, 1834: German theologian and philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher dies. He made religion a matter of the will, defining it as feeling an absolute dependence on God in works including On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers (1799).

February 12, 1865: Presbyterian minister and militant abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet becomes the first African-American to address the U.S. House of Representatives (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

February 12, 1915: Blind hymnwriter Fanny Crosby dies at age 95 after writing more than 8,000 texts.

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March 29, 1139: In the bull "Omne Datum Optimum," Pope Innocent II grants the Templars "every best gift" and makes them an independent unit within the church. Created to protect pilgrims from bandits in the Holy Land, the Templars rose in influence and wealth and eventually earned the jealousy of other Christians (see issue 40: The Crusades).

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