Adolf Hoenecke: Evangelical Lutheran Dogmatics, Volume IV, translated by Joel Fredrich, Paul Prange, Bill Tackmier, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1999, hard cover, 401 pages.
Adolf Hoenecke (1835-1908) received his theological training at the University of Halle in Germany. One of his teachers was Friedrich A. G. Tholuck (1799-1877), who opposed rationalism and yet favored the union of the Lutherans and the Reformed. Young Hoenecke was sent to Wisconsin by the Berlin Missionary Society, but very soon he opposed the unionism of his teacher and the German mission societies and became a truly confessional Lutheran. He served as pastor of Wisconsin Synod congregations in Farmington, Watertown, and Milwaukee. His learning and confessionalism made him the natural choice to head the Wisconsin Synod seminary, first from 1866 to 1870 in Watertown, and then again from 1878 to 1908, first in Milwaukee and then in Wauwatosa. For many years he was the editor of the Wisconsin Synod's Gemeindeblatt. As seminary director he was instrumental in founding the journal of theology known as the Theologische Quartalschrift, which continues to this day as the Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly.
One of the seminary subjects taught by Hoenecke was Dogmatics. He had gathered extensive notes on the entire field of systematic doctrine, and after his death two of his sons published his work in four volumes written in German with many Latin quotations from German Lutheran dogmaticians such as Johann Gerhard (1582-1637) and Johann Quenstedt (1617-1685).
Volume IV of Hoenecke's Ev.-Luth. Dogmatik has now been put into English for the first time. May we assume that the other three volumes will be making their appearance soon?
Obviously a work of this kind is worthy of our careful study. Franz Pieper's three-volume Christian Dogmatics, which first appeared in German in 1924 and in English in 1950, has been our standard seminary textbook for many years. But our heritage from the past certainly also includes such Wisconsin Synod dogmaticians as Adolf Hoenecke, who was succeeded by John Schaller (1859-1920), who was followed by John P. Meyer (1873-1964), who was the teacher of many of our older pastors in the Church of the Lutheran Confession, including this reviewer.
A comparison of Hoenecke with Pieper reveals . . .