Named after Philipp melanchthon, designated a Melanchthonian interpretation of Lutheranism, whose conciliatory tone was opposed by Gnesio (genuine) Lutherans (see gnesiolutheranism). The differences became open and often bitter controversies after Martin Luther's death (1546) and lasted more or less continuously until the end of the 17th century. The disputes were various and were named for content or for prominent spokesmen, e.g., the Adiaphoristic (indifferent), Majoristic (see major, georg), Synergistic (see synergism), Interimistic (see interims), Crypto-Calvinistic (see crypto calvinism), and Calixtine (see calixtus, georg) controversies. Sometimes these have received separate treatment without proper emphasis on their common character of Philippism. The questions in dispute were not unimportant, e.g., the role of good works (Solafideism); the nature of Justification; efforts in the direction of ecumenism involving relations with Catholics (for a time some Philippists discarded even the Lutheran German hymns for Latin ritual) and with Calvinists (having mainly to do with the nature of the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper). Among Philippists, besides Georg Major, were Melanchthon's son-in-law Caspar Peucer (1525–1602), Justus Menius (1499–1558), Johann bugenhagen and Nikolaus Crell (1550–1601).
Philippism had practically disappeared by the end of the 16th century—partly because of Melanchthon's inadequacies as a leader and his lack of realistic political sense; and also because certain Gnesiolutheran leaders, especially Matthias flacius illyricus, were single-minded, as well as erudite and gifted with the power of poignant popular expression; and finally because of shifts in personnel of princely powers. Philippism received new strength in the era of Georg Calixtus. The Philippists helped preserve an irenic, ecumenical tradition in Protestantism.
Bibliography: o. ritschl, Dogmengeschichte des Protestantismus, 4 v. (Göttingen 1908–27) v. 2. h. w. gensichen, Damnamus: Die Verwerfung von Irrlehre bei Luther und im Luthertum des 16. Jahrhunderts (Berlin 1955). v. vajta, ed., Luther and Melanchthon in the History and Theology of the Reformation (Philadelphia 1961).