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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January 17, 356 (traditional date): Antony of Egypt, regarded as the founder of Christian monasticism, dies at age 105. Committed to a life of solitude and absolute poverty, he took two companions with him into the desert when he knew his death was near. They were ordered to bury him without a marker so that his body would never become an object of reverence (see issue 64: Antony and the Desert Fathers).

January 17, 1377: Gregory XI moves the papal see from Avignon (where it had been for 72 years) ...

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