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Pietism

PIETISM.

Like the Enlightenment, Pietism has produced an extremely diverse body of historical scholarship, with opinions ranging from a denial of its existence to precise nationally, geographically, or chronologically defined variants, as well as views that see Pietism essentially as identical with the history of modern Protestantism. Such divergent opinion has led to the introduction of categories such as reformed, classical, enthusiastic, and radical Pietism. The picture often becomes more complex when the scope of Pietism is expanded to include other religions such as Judaism, where Hasidism appears at least on the surface as a similar phenomenon. But even within Christianity, apparently similar movements such as French Jansenism or Spanish Quietism emerged almost at the same time.

The term Pietist, created during the seventeenth century, served initially as a derogatory term in reference to people who exhibited excessively spiritual and devout behavior. Most were followers of the German Lutheran reformer Philipp Jakob Spener (16351705), who organized Bible study gatherings, the so-called collegia pietatis (colleges of piety), in addition to the regular church services, which indicates how the term Pietist was often used interchangeably with the term Spenerianer (Spenerian). But in 1689 Joachim Feller (16281691), professor of poetry at the University of Leipzig, used the term in a positive way by including it in a funeral poem to stress the deceased person's interest in the study of the Bible, his saintly life, and his true devoutness.

History

Most historical treatments of Pietism start with Spener, then pastor and senior of the ministerium in Frankfurt, who is generally regarded as a founding figure of the movement. Spener believed that the state's Lutheran churches had failed to complete the Reformation and had instead descended into theological irrelevance and quarrels. In his work Pia Desideria (1675; Pious desires) Spener proposed six measures that could lead to a revival of the German churches. They included the organization of small conventicles (ecclesiola ) for meditation and the joint study of the Bible, an emphasis on the priesthood of all believers, a stress on practical rather than theological and intellectual Christianity, the abandonment of religious argument with other churches, a reorganization of the training of future ministers at the universities, and an increased emphasis on preaching. Spener's most notable follower was August Hermann Francke (16631727), who in 1691 was appointed professor of Greek and Oriental Languages at the newly established University of Halle. Under Francke's direction, Halle quickly became a leading center of Pietist studies. Although Pietism initially encountered significant resistance, especially from adherents of Lutheran orthodoxy, some rulers, such as the elector Frederick I of Prussia, embraced it. In Prussia, where the nobility was closely tied to the Lutheran Church, the monarchy's support of Pietism helped it secure a new ally against the provincial estates. In other cases, however, Pietists were less fortunate and were forced to move to areas where they would find a benefactor.

In Saxony, Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (17001760), strongly influenced by Pietism, granted refuge to a group of Moravians on his estate in 1722, where they were able to found the community Herrenhut (the Lord watches over). Under Zinzendorf's leadership the community spread quickly throughout Europe and to North America, where it inspired John Wesley (17031791), the founder of Methodism.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a variety of different movements emerged, which are all indebted to Pietism in varying degrees and even crossed the denominational line into Catholicism. Among these are Evangelicalism in England, the Réveil in France and Switzerland, and the Awakenings in Germany and the United States. Paradoxically this "neo-Pietism" was an offspring of the Enlightenment. In contrast to their seventeenth-and eighteenth-century predecessors, this new form of Pietism exhibited an unprecedented degree of optimism and an eagerness to establish societies and organizations such as youth groups.

Significance of Pietism

The diversification of Pietism is also emblematic for the intellectual sources it drew on, digested, and developed. Many concepts and characteristics such as the "universal priesthood of all believers," the formation of conventicles, or mysticism stem from the teachings of Martin Luther (14831546), John Calvin (15091563), and Jakob Böhme (15751624). At the center of Pietism stood the idea of a spiritual rebirth. Although this involved a higher degree of individualism, the concept of communitas remains pivotal. A process of sanctification, which includes a strong emphasis on inward edification, would eventually lead to the formation of a community of the "children of the Lord." This belief, in combination with chiliastic elements under the guidance of the Book of Revelation, led to an increased emphasis on charitable and missionary work, since this would quicken the Second Coming of Christ.

Pietism's greatest contribution was certainly in the field of Protestant theology. Pietism produced a large body of edifying literature and song. Especially noteworthy is its contribution in the area of the spiritual song, which served as a compensation for Pietism's otherwise strict admonition against secular forms of entertainment such as theater or dance. Most famous in this area is probably Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen's (16701739) Geistreiche Gesangbuch (1704; Spiritual hymnal), whose first edition contained 683 hymns and 183 melodies. It possibly served as a source for the composer Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750), whose cantatas and passions may have been influenced by Pietism.

A major point of scholarly debate remains the complex relationship between Pietism and the Enlightenment. Both of these "movements" were brothers in arms (at least initially) against religious orthodoxy and doctrine, and both strongly emphasized charity, compassion, and pedagogical initiatives. Pietism's contributions in education, such as Francke's Pädagogium, founded in Halle in 1696, are as significant as those of the Enlightenment, such as the Philanthropinum, founded in Dessau/Saxony in 1774 by Johann Bernhard Basedow (17231790). Enlightenment figures such as Samuel von Pufendorf (16321694) and Christian Thomasius (16551728) embraced Pietism's focus on the laity and works of charity.

Yet the substance of the program of both the Enlightenment and Pietism with regard to religion could not have been more different. Whereas the rationalism of the Enlightenment sought to demystify religion, Pietism emphasized the inward spirituality of a "religion of the heart" as well as the centrality of Scripture. The historical-critical method of biblical criticism undertaken by proponents of the Enlightenment undermined scriptural authority completely, whereas for Pietists the Bible practically served as the main source of guidance and knowledge. Symbolic for this antagonism is the conflict between the German Enlightenment philosopher Christian von Wolff (16791754) and factions of the theological faculty of the University of Halle under the leadership of Joachim Lange (16701744) and Johann Franz Buddeus (16671729). Both attacked Wolff on the grounds that his rationalism would inevitably lead to atheism and Spinozism. Surprisingly, many early Spinozists and radical thinkers such as Gottfried Arnold (16661714) and Johann Christian Edelmann (16981767) were originally Pietists, who still held on to many original ideas of the Reformation, such as the universal priesthood of all believers and freedom of conscience.

The case of Gottfried Arnold is particularly noteworthy. His Unpartheyische Kirchen-und Ketzer-Historie (2 vols., 16991700; Nonpartisan history of the church and heresy) was a pioneering work in ecclesiastical historiography. Far from being an apologetic work for heretics and still heavily influenced by mysticism, Arnold's work nonetheless rendered heresy a respectable subject of scholarly study. It revealed the historical role of laymen and women in the church, and by describing the interrelation of church and state in history Arnold exposed darker aspects of the Christian Church. Arnold also serves as an example of how Pietism influenced later philosophical and literary movements.

The literary movement of Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) adopted Pietism's emphasis on sensibility and spirituality to counter the rationalism of the Enlightenment. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (17491832) wrote in his Dichtung und Wahrheit (18111833; Poetry and truth) that he profited from reading Arnold's work at a very young age. But figures like Johann Georg Hamann (17301788), Johann Gottfried von Herder (17441803), and Friedrich Schleiermacher (17681834) were also indebted to the Pietist concept of devoutness, and more recent scholarship suggests that Immanuel Kant (17241804) as well as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831) were more indebted to Pietism than previous studies assume. Most of these figures were educated or raised under Pietist influence and digested parts of this early encounter in their works. In fact, Schleiermacher's Moravian roots become apparent in his theology, which combined the Pietist idea of religious experience with the Romantic ideal of sensibility as opposed to the rationalism of the Enlightenment.

Pietism is a highly complex and multifaceted phenomenon that goes beyond the denominational limits of Lutheranism. Extending beyond just a spiritual phenomenon and the field of theology, Pietism's impact could be felt in politics and culture as well. The movement's far-reaching impact and diversity often makes it difficult to describe precisely the avenues it took, and so it often seems more fitting to distinguish between different Pietisms rather than lumping these strands together under one single umbrella. This becomes especially important with regards to the different strands of radical and separatist movements that developed the collegia pietatis into independent social communities but which are often overlooked in general surveys of Pietism. The unprecedented, avid participation of women also suggests that these movements transgressed gender and class boundaries.

See also Christianity ; Enlightenment ; Religion .

bibliography

PRIMARY SOURCES

Erb, Peter C., ed. Pietists: Selected Writings. New York: Paulist Press, 1983.

Francke, August Hermann. Streitschriften. Edited by Erhard Peschke. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1981.

. Werke in Auswahl. Edited by Erhard Peschke. Berlin: Luther-Verlag, 1969.

Spener, Philipp Jakob. Pia Desideria. Translated and edited with an introduction by Theodore G. Tappert. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1964.

. Die Werke Philipp Jakob Speners: Studienausgabe. Edited by Kurt Aland. Giessen, Germany: Brunnen, 1996.

Zinzendorf, Nicolaus Ludwig Graf von. Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, Preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746. Translated and edited by George W. Forell. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1973.

. Kleines Brüdergesangbuch: Hirten-Lieder von Bethlehem. Hildesheim, Germany, and New York: Olms Verag, 1978.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Beyreuther, Erich. Geschichte des Pietismus. Stuttgart, Germany: Steinkopf, 1978.

Blaufuß, Dietrich, et al., eds. Gottfried Arnold (16661714): Mit einer Bibliographie der Arnold-Literatur ab 1714. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 1995.

Brecht, Martin, Ulrich Gäbler, and Hartmut Lehmann, eds. Geschichte des Pietismus. Vol. 1, Der Pietismus vom siebzehnten bis zum frühen achtzehnten Jahrhundert, edited by Martin Brecht. Vol. 2, Der Pietismus im achzehnten Jahrhundert, edited by Martin Brecht. Vol. 3, Der Pietismus im neunzehnten und zwanzigsten Jahrhundert, edited by Ulrich Gäbler. Vol. 4, Glaubenswelt und Lebenswelten des Pietismus, edited by Hartmut Lehmann. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 20002004.

Fulbrook, Mary. Piety and Politics: Religion and the Rise of Absolutism in England, Württemberg, and Prussia. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Gawthrop, Richard L. Pietism and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Prussia. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Gierl, Martin. Pietismus und Aufklärung: Theologische Polemik und die Kommunikationsreform der Wissenschaft am Ende des 17. Jahrhunderts. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1997.

Hinrichs, Carl. Preußentum und Pietismus: Der Pietismus in Brandenburg-Preußen als religiös-soziale Reformbewegung. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1971.

Hoffmann, Barbara. Radikalpietismus um 1700: Der Streit um das Recht auf eine neue Gesellschaft. Frankfurt, Germany, and New York: Campus Verlag, 1996.

Lehmann, Harmut, Hans-Jürgen Schrader, and Heinz Schilling, eds. Jansenismus, Quietismus, Pietismus. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2002.

Miersemann, Wolfgang, and Gudrun Busch, eds. Pietismus und Liedkultur. Tübingen, Germany: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen Halle im Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2002.

Ritschl, Albrecht Benjamin. Geschichte des Pietismus in der lutherischen Kirche des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. 3 vols. Bonn, Germany: Marcus, 18801886. Reprint, Berlin: de Gruyter, 1966.

Schicketanz, Peter. Der Pietismus von 1675 bis 1800. Leipzig, Germany: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2001.

Stoeffler, F. Ernest. German Pietism during the Eighteenth Century. Leiden: Brill, 1973.

. The Rise of Evangelical Pietism. Leiden: Brill, 1965.

Temme, Willi. Krise der Leiblichkeit: Die Sozietät der Mutter Eva (Buttlarsche Rotte) und der radikale Pietismus um 1700. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1998.

Wallmann, Johannes. Philipp Jakob Spener und die Anfänge des Pietismus. Tübingen, Germany: J. C. B. Mohr, 1986.

Wallmann, Johannes, and Udo Sträter, eds. Halle und Osteuropa: Zur europäischen Ausstrahlung des halleschen Pietismus. Halle, Germany: Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen Halle im Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1998.

Ulrich Groetsch

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Pietism

PIETISM

PIETISM. Historians have had difficulty agreeing about a definition for Pietism. A major reason is that the term has been controversial since its first use in German Lutheran territories in the 1670s. Today historians debate how narrowly or broadly to define the subject. However, there is general agreement that, although in a narrow sense a Lutheran (and in part also a Reformed Protestant) phenomenon of the later seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, Pietism had roots in the concerns of those sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Christians who wanted to realize the ideals of discipline and godliness in their personal and collective lives.

This impulse developed in part out of a dissatisfaction with institutional, hierarchical Protestantism and its emphasis on salvation by faith alone. While pious theologians and laypeople usually agreed that faith was necessary for salvation, they insisted that sanctification was also essential. In other words, merely dogmatic religion was not enough, for on its own it could lead to moral decline and institutional complacency. True faith had to transform believers.

A wide range of Christians shared this kind of conviction before the rise of Pietism in the narrow sense. Among those who held a lasting influence for later Pietists were Catholic mystics, British Puritans, Protestant Nonconformists and spiritualists, and Dutch Reformed and German Lutheran clergymen concerned about moral reform.

THE "PIETISM" CONTROVERSIES

By the early 1690s the definition of "Pietism" had become a subject of heated public debate across Lutheran Germany. The Pietism controversies were important because with them godliness was transformed from a subject for a minority of Protestants to an issue that divided believers and resulted in deep and lasting changes in the character of Lutheranism and even Protestantism as a whole.

The roots of the controversy grew from the 1670s, and at their center was the Lutheran pastor Philipp Jakob Spener (16351705). In 1675, while based in Frankfurt am Main, Spener published Pia Desideria (Pious desires). In Pia Desideria Spener outlined a program to improve the quality of the clergy and the moral lives of believers according to a biblical model in the hopes of a better future for Christians. He did not intend his proposals to undermine the established orthodox Lutheran hierarchy; reforms, he felt, should take place within existing institutional structures and be led by ordained clergymen.

A key part of Spener's reform plan involved the collegia pietatis, small devotional sessions held in addition to regular church services, during which participants prayed and read the Bible together to encourage one another to live upright lives. Spener had helped organize such meetings in Frankfurt as early as 1670. With the publication of Pia Desideria and clerical networking, the movement to renew Christendom through moral reform spread throughout Lutheran Germany. Moderates like Spener tried to avoid unwanted conflicts with authorities by limiting and controlling lay participation in the Bible reading sessions.

Nonetheless, the spread of conventicles was ecclesiastically, politically, and socially contentious. Within a few decades conventicles had risen from a phenomenon of limited, localized popularity to the main form of pious sociability. As the conventicles spread, so too did the involvement of laymen and laywomen, as well as ecclesiastical and theological experimentation. Many orthodox clergymen and some secular rulers felt the devotional meetings were an unregulated breeding ground for sectarianism and political subversion. Therefore, numerous territorial rulers published edicts forbidding the private meetings, often to no avail.

The movement entered a new phase with the sudden upsurge in revivalist excitement between 1689 and 1693. Developments in Leipzig were especially important. During a controversy there about conventicles the name "Pietist," which until then had been used only occasionally in Germany, became a widely recognized name for the supporters of reform. Enthusiastic theology students like August Hermann Francke (16631727) were among those forced to leave Leipzig when authorities banned the growing movement in 1690. These activists formed the core of the spreading popular movement. The reform message that had been championed since the 1670s predominantly by moderate clergymen was transformed into the message of a younger, more exuberant generation of Lutherans fired by missionary zeal.

In this new phase, intense conversion experiences, anticlerical tendencies, and apocalyptic expectations also became common among those who participated in conventicles. Particularly noteworthy were waves of lay prophecy that occurred in numerous German towns in the early 1690s; the most publicized cases involved women and caused public scandals. Thereafter, the moderates, including Spener and Francke, distanced themselves from the popular movement and eventually broke their connections with the pious conventicles. Another important post-1689 development was a pamphlet war fought between reformers and their orthodox Lutheran opponents. Between about 1690 and 1720 hundreds of polemical pamphlets were exchanged on a range of issues, among them the definition of "Pietism."

PIETISM AFTER THE 1690S

Despite opposition, Pietism flourished throughout the eighteenth century and was influential in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Scandinavia, as well as in England and the North American colonies. There were Calvinist Pietists in the eighteenth century. Perhaps the most significant was Gerrit Tersteegen (16971769). However, when investigating eighteenth-century Pietism, historians commonly focus on several German Lutheran groupings.

One of the most significant institutional forms of Pietism was centered in Halle. Under the influence of Spener, the Prussian government established a new university there in the early 1690s. Several of the theology students who had been expelled from Leipzig in 1690 were on the faculty in Halle. Among them was Francke. In addition to professorial duties, he was instrumental in the foundation of a set of influential institutions. These included an orphanage and orphan schools (established 1695), and several domestic and international missionary organizations. One of the unique characteristics of Pietism based in Halle was the importance placed on repentance for sins and a personal experience of conversion to a godly life. While encouraging education in religion and practical sciences, Francke and other leaders also emphasized discipline among orphans and students. This became the model for educational reform in the Prussian state in the eighteenth century.

The other major officially sanctioned form of eighteenth-century Pietism was based in Württemberg. The church leader Johann Valentin Andreä (15861654) had promoted piety and discipline there. His lasting influence among members of the Lutheran church hierarchy made it easier for secular authorities after the 1690s to accept Pietist reforms. Although conversion experiences were not as central as in Halle, strict godly living became a widely accepted norm in Württemberg's universities, churches, and households. Thus, unlike Pietists in Halle and Prussia, who established close connections with the nobility, Pietism in Württemberg had a much broader social base. Also in contrast to Halle, Württemberg's university elite encouraged not only useful skills and piety, but also academic theology and biblical scholarship.

While leaders in Halle, Prussia, and Württemberg discouraged conventicles as a main form of fellowship, the meetings of the pious were a central feature of Pietism based in Herrnhut. There in the 1720s the Unity of Brethren (also called Moravians), a groupoflayChristianswithpre-Reformation roots, came under the charismatic leadership of Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (17001760), a former student at Halle. While he rejected the strict regimentation of life in Halle, Zinzendorf shared an emphasis on conversion. His willingness to ally himself with a nonconformist community is an example of the ecumenical attitude typical of this branch of Pietism. Its missionary communities established themselves throughout central Europe, as well as in North America in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Zinzendorf was influenced not only by Pietism in Halle, but also by a range of nonconformists whose experiences had been shaped by the extraordinary events of the 1690s. Historians sometimes use the label "radical Pietism" to identify this diverse range of individuals and small groups. Radicals distanced themselves from institutionalized Protestantism, often going so far as to separate themselves from the official territorial church. Among the characteristics shared by many (but not all) in these circles were the centrality of conventicles and personal conversion experiences; lay as opposed to clerical leadership, with women often playing key roles; mysticism, apocalyptic expectations, and prophetic tendencies; innovations in sacramental practice; and unconventional attitudes toward sexual norms. Radical Pietism had no single representative, institution, or geographical center.

IMPACT AND COMPARISONS

Pietism's impact on early modern European society is difficult to evaluate because it was so varied. Its adherents came from a wide range of social stations, and their actions and beliefs both supported and undermined established social and political norms. Philosophically Pietists participated in both the Enlightenment and the Romantic movement. Although often vehemently antipapal, they contributed to the weakening of confessional boundaries, especially among Protestant churches. Protestant revivalism and evangelicalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries owe much to Pietist traditions.

The godly impulse so characteristic of Pietism was also shared by other religious groups in the eighteenth century. In Christian Europe these included Catholic Jansenists and Protestant Camisards in France, as well as English Methodists. Scholars could also find similarities (although not direct historical connections) with Jewish Hasidism in eastern Europe.

See also Apocalypticism ; Calvinism ; Leipzig ; Lutheranism ; Moravian Brethren ; Prussia ; Puritanism ; Zinzendorf, Nicolaus Ludwig von .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Primary Sources

Erb, Peter C., ed. Pietists: Selected Writings. New York, 1983. Excerpts from the works of Spener, Francke, Tersteegen, Zinzendorf, and others.

Spener, Philipp Jakob. Pia Desideria. Translated and edited by Theodore G. Tappert. Philadelphia, 1964.

Secondary Sources

Fulbrook, Mary. Piety and Politics: Religion and the Rise of Absolutism in England, Württemberg, and Prussia. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1983.

Gawthrop, Richard L. Pietism and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Prussia. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1993.

Geschichte des Pietismus. Vol. 1: Der Pietismus vom siebzehnten bis zum frühen achtzehnten Jahrhundert. Edited by Martin Brecht. Vol. 2: Der Pietismus im achtzehnten Jahrhundert. Edited by Martin Brecht and Klaus Deppermann. Vol. 3: Der Pietismus im neunzehnten und zwanzigsten Jahrhundert. Edited by Ulrich Gäbler. Göttingen, 1993.

Pietismus und Neuzeit: Ein Jahrbuch zur Geschichte des neueren Protestantismus. Göttingen, 1974. The major journal on the subject. Includes some articles in English.

Stoeffler, F. Ernest. German Pietism during the Eighteenth Century. Leiden, 1973.

Wallmann, Johannes. Der Pietismus. Göttingen, 1990.

Michael D. Driedger

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Pietism

PIETISM

PIETISM. The name given to the renewal movement in German Protestantism that flourished in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Pietism aimed to combat growing formalism in the Lutheran Church. The father of the movement was Philipp Jakob Spener, the senior Lutheran minister in Frankfurt am Main, who began collegia pietatis, small lay groups formed to promote bible study and prayer. He stressed the Christian behavior in daily life, urged lay members to play a larger role in church work, and promoted reform of theological education. His younger protégé, August Hermann Francke, established near the University of Halle a massive complex of institutions (including an orphanage, several schools, and bible and mission societies) that became the principal pietistic center.

In the American colonies the influence of churchly Pietism was exerted chiefly through the German Lutherans and the Moravians. Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg was sent to North America in 1742 by the church fathers at Halle to bring the troubled Lutheran congregations into order and to counter the proselytizing efforts of Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravian Church. Mühlenberg succeeded in organizing the Lutheran parishes and is thus referred to as the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America. The American Moravians were the most pietistic of all the colonial religious bodies and were especially adept at creating religious music. In addition, various movements were influenced by Radical Pietism, which advocated separation

from state churches. These included the Brethren (nicknamed Dunkers), who arrived in 1719, and the communitarian Ephrata Society that broke from them, led by Conrad Beissel. Later communal bodies of similar orientation were the Harmonists, the Separatists of Zoar, and the Amana Colonies. Pietism was from the beginning strongly missionary in emphasis and for that reason had large significance in colonial America and later church development.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pitzer, Donald R., ed. America's Communal Utopias. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Stoeffler, F. Ernest, ed. Continental Pietism and Early American Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1976.

Donald F.Durnbaugh

William W.Sweet

See alsoReligion and Religious Affiliation .

Justice James C. McReynolds, from thePierce opinion:

"The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."

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Pietism

Pietism (pī´ətĬzəm), a movement in the Lutheran Church (see Lutheranism), most influential between the latter part of the 17th cent. and the middle of the 18th. It was an effort to stir the church out of a settled attitude in which dogma and intellectual religion seemed to be supplanting the precepts of the Bible and religion of the heart. Although the movement bore resemblance to aspects of Puritanism, e.g., use of distinctive dress and the renunciation of worldly pleasures, the essential aim of the true Pietist was to place the spirit of Christian living above the letter of doctrine.

The first great leader was Philipp Jakob Spener, who began (1670) to hold devotional meetings. His Collegia Pietatis were designed to bring Christians into helpful fellowship and increase Bible study. Spener's book, Pia desideria (1675), emphasized the need of earnest Bible study and the belief that the lay members of the church should have part in the spiritual control. Although Spener did not intend separation from the church, his repudiation of the importance of doctrine and his desire to limit church membership to those who had experienced personal regeneration tended to undermine orthodoxy, and Pietism was severely attacked.

After Spener's death the work was carried on by August Hermann Francke, but after his time Pietism declined. Its effect was strongest in N and central Germany, but reached into Switzerland, Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe. A number of foreign missions were begun. Through Count Zinzendorf the Moravian Church was influenced by it. Pietism earned a lasting place in the European intellectual tradition through its influence on such figures as Kant, Schleiermacher, and Kierkegaard.

See D. H. Shantz, An Introduction to German Pietism (2013).

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Pietism

Pietism. A movement in Protestant Christianity which reacted against too rigid a confessional orthodoxy, and emphasized good works and a holy life. It began soon after the Thirty Years War (1618–48), led by Jakob Spener (1635–1705). Invited to write a preface to a book of sermons, he wrote a short tract, Pia Desideria (1675; tr. T. G. Tappert, 1964), which became a kind of ‘manifesto’, laying down six ‘simple proposals’ (einfältige Vorschläge) for a more godly life: individual study of the Bible; the exercise of the priesthood of all believers (i.e. including the laity); the importance of good works; the control of charity in controversy; the better training of ministers, with training conforming to life; and the reformation of preaching to serve all these purposes. Spener was widely influential (though also opposed, as all reformers are), affecting especially A. H. Francke (1663–1727), who committed himself to the poor of Halle. Among many influenced by Pietism were Count Zinzendorf (who brought together the Moravian Church) and John Wesley.

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"Pietism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Pietism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pietism

pietism

pi·e·tism / ˈpī-iˌtizəm/ • n. pious sentiment, esp. of an exaggerated or affected nature. ∎  (usu. Pietism) a 17th-century movement for the revival of piety in the Lutheran Church. DERIVATIVES: pi·e·tist n. pi·e·tis·tic / ˌpī-iˈtistik/ adj. pi·e·tis·ti·cal adj. pi·e·tis·ti·cal·ly / -tik(ə)lē/ adv.

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"pietism." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pietism." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 24, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pietism

"pietism." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pietism

Pietism

Pietism Influential Christian spiritual movement within Protestantism, founded in the late 17th century by a German Lutheran minister, Philipp Spener (1635–1705). Its aim was to revitalize evangelical Christianity by emphasizing spiritual rather than theological or dogmatic issues.

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pietism

pietism movement for the revival of piety in the Lutheran communion; hence gen. XVII. — G. pietismus. f. L. pietās PIETY; see -ISM.
So pietist XVII.

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"pietism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"pietism." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pietism-0