Feneberg, Johann Michael

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Priest and mystic; b. Marktoberdorf (Allgäu), Bavaria, Feb. 9, 1751; d. Vöhringen, Bavaria, Oct. 12, 1812. After studying at Kaufbeuren and the Jesuit Gymnasium at Augsburg, Feneberg was admitted into the Jesuit novitiate at Landsberg a Lech, Bavaria. After the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, he continued his studies toward the priesthood and was ordained in 1775. He taught humanities at the Gymnasium of St. Paul in Regensburg, and at Dillingen, at which time he wrote a plan for studies that caused controversy (Lehrplan, Dillingen 1789). In 1793 he, along with some other professors, was removed from teaching on suspicion of Illuminist tendencies. He was given the parish of Seeg (Allgäu), which he administered with great success. His association with the Pietist Martin Boos, who stayed with Feneberg at Seeg for a year, revived suspicions of unorthodox mysticism. Boos tried to convert Feneberg and his assistants, Christof Schmid and Xaver Bayer, to his doctrine of love of God without works. After an ecclesiastical interrogation at Augsburg in August 1797, Feneberg and his assistants were allowed to return to Seeg. In 1805 he exchanged Seeg for the parish of Vöhringen where he translated the New Testament later edited by M. Wittmann (Regensburg 1808).

Bibliography: f. w. bodemann, Leben J.M. Fenebergs (Bielefeld 1856). j. m. sailer, Aus Fenebergs Leben (Munich 1814). j.a. fischer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 195765) 4:75, bibliog.

[e. d. mcshane]