Löhe, Johann Konrad Wilhelm

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German Lutheran theologian; b. Fürth, Feb. 21, 1808; d. Neuendettelsau, both near Nuremberg, Bavaria, Jan. 2, 1872. After attending the Melanchthon Gymnasium in Nuremberg, he studied theology at the universities of Erlangen and Berlin. As pastor of several different congregations (183137), he became known as a forceful advocate of Lutheran orthodoxy. His ideas on Church government, the efficacy of works, self-denial, and celibacy closely resembled those of Roman Catholicism; so also did his suggestions for liturgical reform, private confession, and frequent communion, which he promoted by scholarly studies and pastoral work. Löhe also labored to provide religious care for German emigrants, particularly those going to the United States, and he was involved in the founding of the Lutheran Missouri Synod. His interest in practical works of charity led him to found a Society for inner mission (1844) and a Society of Deaconesses (1853). In 1854 he established a deaconess motherhouse in Neuendettelsau, where he served as pastor from 1837 until his death.

Bibliography: Gesammelte Werke, ed. k. ganzert, 7 v. (Neuendettelsau 195158). s. hebart, W. Löhes Lehre von der Kirche, ihrem Amt und Regiment (Neuendettelsau 1939); h. kressel, Wilhelm Löhe als Prediger (Gütersloh 1929); Wilhelm Löhe als Liturg und Liturgiker (Neuendettelsau 1952); Wilhelm Löhe als Katechet und als Seelsorger (Neuendettelsau 1955). k. ganzert, Evangelisches Kirchenlexicon: Kirchlich-theologisches Handwörterbuch, 4 v. (Göttingen 195661) 2:11511152.

[l. j. swidler]