Friedrich Adolf Philippi 1809-1882
Friedrich was the son of a wealthy Jewish banker, who belonged to the well-known Mendelssohn circle. His father had the children educated in a Christian school, something not unheard of in that era.
While at primary school Friedrich received his first impressions of the christian faith. Later, at the Gymnasium, or high-school, he began to be interested in classic studies thanks to the influence of his cousin, Jakobi. It was in this time period that Jakobi, who became a well-known mathematician, became an earnest believer of Yeshua. Friedrich was very interested and began to talk much with his cousin on the Bible. Jakobi gave him a New Testament to read. Others also noticed his interest. A school friend gave him a copy of a book written by a well known minister, Strauss by name, and Friedrich sought him out personally. Strauss felt at the time that the young man’s thoughts of “becoming a christian” like his cousin, were still immature and unripe, and did not take on his instruction in the faith.
On graduation from the high school in 1827 Friedrich decided to study philology in the university. Again he visited Strauss, and this time the preacher agreed to teach him of the faith. However, even after a time of study, Friedrich did not reach an inner peace or full understanding of the faith in Messiah. Two years later we find him in Leipzig, where he visited Professor Lindner and continued his spiritual search. Now, at last, he came to a full understanding and asked to be baptised. His decision could not be kept a secret, and raised a furor in his parental home. But after a time of anger, his parents made peace with him. Many of his relatives followed his example, including his cousin Jeannette Pincson, who later became his wife.
Having completed studies of philosophy and theology at Berlin and Leipsic (Ph.D. 1831), Friedrich began to teach, with success, at a private school in Dresden and at the Joachimsthal Gymnasium at Berlin (1833). In 1837 he received his diploma as Lutheran minister, and in 1838 was admitted as privat-docent to the theological faculty of the University of Berlin. In 1841 he was elected professor of theology at the University of Dorpat; he received the degree of D.D. “honoris causa” from the University of Erlangen in 1843.
Of Philippi’s works may be mentioned: “Die Lehre vom Thätigen Gehorsam Christi,” Berlin, 1841; “Kirchliche Glaubenslehre,” Güterslohe, 1854-1879 (3d ed. 1883-85), a standard work from the Orthodox Lutheran point of view; “Vorlesungen über Symbolik,” ib. 1883.
Philipp’s eldest son became a pastor in Mecklenburg and produced the church paper; the second son became a Professor of oriental languages in Rostock, and the third a lawyer.
Philippi died on 29 August, 1882.
L. Schulze, Friedrich Adolf Philippi, Nördlingen, 1883;
De le Roi, Juden-Mission, 2d ed., i. 204-6, Leipsic, 1899.S. F. T. H.