Charles A. Briggs Studies Theology in Berlin

Charles A. Briggs studied theology at the University of Berlin from 1866 to 1869. He described his course of study in this letter to his friend Henry B. Smith.

Berlin is full of Americans this winter. (1867-8)—There are some 250 in town, some 50 or 60 students in the University.—I am pursuing my studies as usual. The most of my time is spent upon the Old Testament and the Oriental Languages, Arabic and Syriac. I feel quite at home in Hebrew, having kept at it steadily ever since I have been in Europe—vacations and all. My first semester I studied Isaiah and the earlier prophets, second semester Psalms, summer vacation Job and Song of Solomon, this winter Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. I will now spend three months upon the most difficult parts of the historical books and then in the summer take up the later prophets. Thus in two years I hope that I will accomplish a general study of the Old Testament Scriptures. I have gathered a great deal of material for future study. In Arabic we are reading the Koran. I think the most difficult parts have been mastered. We begin to read Syriac after Christmas. I also attend a course of lectures by Dr. Dorner on Dogmatics. He is very interesting. His theological society meets every Thursday evening from eight to ten, at his house, in his study. We study Justification by Faith in a series of essays and discussions. I have promised an essay on the relation of justification to sanctification. This is a difficult subject, but as it lies in the line of my thoughts at the present time I hope to make something out of it.


Charles A. Briggs to Henry B. Smith, quoted in The Alumni Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 4 (February 1899).