views updated


An eminent Saxon family of orthodox Lutheran theologians and jurists of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Benedikt, b. Wittenberg, May 27, 1595; d. Leipzig, Aug. 30, 1666. He was a man of deep religious convictions. From 1620 on he was a member of the bench at Leipzig, serving as professor of law (1645), privy councilor at Dresden (1653), and again judge at Leipzig (1661). A judge for more than 40 years, he became the father of German penal law, and in Jurisprudentia ecclesiastica (1649) he systematized Lutheran episcopal polity and church law.

Johann Benedikt (I), brother of Benedikt; b. Rochlitz, June 22, 1607; d. Leipzig, Oct. 22, 1657. He was a pastor and professor of theology at Leipzig (1645), the author of Isagoge in libros ecclesiarum luth. symbolicos (1665), and a forerunner of the specialized study of symbolics. In the Syncretistic controversy he was a mediating influence, strictly Lutheran in principle, though respectful of the opinions of Georg calixtus.

Johann Benedikt (II), son of Johann Benedikt; b. Leipzig, April 24, 1639; d. Leipzig, March 23, 1699. He was a professor of ethics (1665) and of theology (1684), and a pastor of St. Thomas church (1679). He was a violent opponent of pietism; and against Philipp Jakob spener, August Hermann francke, and Christian Thomasius he wrote De jure decidendi controversias theologicas (Leipzig 1696).

Samuel Benedikt, son of Johann Benedikt (I); b. Leipzig, Jan. 17, 1647; d. Dresden, Aug. 31, 1707. As a student at Wittenberg (1668), he became a friend of Abraham calov. He was court preacher at Dresden (1674), superintendent (1680), and successor of Philipp Spener as senior court preacher (1693). He wavered in his public attitude toward Pietism.

Johann Gottlob, son of Samuel Benedikt; b. Dresden, Sept. 26, 1679; d. Lübeck, April 7, 1767. He was the most learned of the family, an orthodox Lutheran OT scholar and an opponent of Pietists and Moravians (see pietism; moravian church). He served as professor of Hebrew at Leipzig (1713) and as superintendent at Lübeck (1730). His Introductio ad libros canonicos bibliorum VT (171421) vigorously defended the orthodox Lutheran view of verbal inspiration against the rising progressive Biblical criticism.

Johann Bendikt (III), grandson of Johann Benedikt(II); b. Leipzig, May 20, 1720; d. Königslutter, April 28, 1803. He was one of the last representatives of old Lutheran orthodoxy, an authority on the NT and patristics as well as on theology. Professor of philosophy at Leipzig (1747) and of Greek at Helmstedt (1748), he wrote Liber doctrinalis theologiae purioris (1767) to combat the rationalistic theology of W. A. Teller.

Bibliography: e. beyreuther, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 1:162324. f. schÜhlein et al., Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 2:955956. h. leube, Die Reformideen in der deutschen lutherischen Kirche zur Zeit der Orthodoxie (Leipzig 1924).

[r. h. fischer]