Hefele, Karl Joseph


A German  churchman, educator, and ecclesiastical historian. He taught at Tubingen from 1836, became full professor in 1840, and was elected of Rothenburg in 1869. He visited Rome just before his election, and owing to his vast knowledge in the field of church councils, was chosen by the Vatican as a consultant on the of the forthcoming Vatican of 1870. In the world of scholarship, however, he became better known for his classic work on the history of the ecclesiastical councils, Conciliengeschichte (7 vols., Fribourg, 1855-1874).

This work was continued by Cardinal J. A. G. Hergenrother, who published Volumes 8 and 9 (1887-1890). The final work was translated into English by W. R. Clark as A History of the of the Church from the Original Documents (5 vols., Edinburgh, 1883-1896). It was translated into with additions by H. Leclercq as Histoire des conciles (8 vols., Paris, 1907-1921). The edition has been recognized as the standard work of reference on the subject.