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Spangenberg, Augustus Gottlieb


Bishop and chief organizer of Moravian missionary activities in America; b. Klellenberg-Hohenstein, Germany, July 15, 1704; d. Berthelsdorf, Germany, Sept. 18, 1792. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor, and he studied at the University of Jena, where he received his M.A. in 1726. In his student days he was deeply influenced by pi etism and in 1730 visited Herrnhut, the estate of Count Nikolaus Ludwig von zinzendorf, Moravian leader. Coming increasingly under Moravian influence, Spangenberg was dismissed from his professorship of religious education at Halle and joined the Herrnhut community. He went to Georgia (1733), but moved to Philadelphia, Pa. (1736), with a view to making it a center for Moravian missions. He returned to Germany (1739), where he developed missionary organization. Chosen bishop in 1744, he went to Bethlehem, Pa., where he organized the Pilgrim (missionary) and Home Congregations (see moravian church). In 1752 he settled in North Carolina and petitioned for legislation to protect Indian rights. Five years later he reorganized the missions and from 1759 to 1762 disbanded the communal economy at Bethlehem. He returned to Herrnhut in 1762, but continued to supervise foreign missions. He wrote A Concise Historical Account of the Unitas Fratrum (London 1775) and a life of Count Zinzendorf (Barby 1775), as well as Idea fidei Fratrum (Leipzig 1789).

Bibliography: g. neisser, A History of the Beginnings of Moravian Work in America, tr. w. n. schwarze and s. h. gapp (Bethlehem 1955). e. e. gray, Wilderness Christians: The Moravian Mission to the Delaware Indians (Ithaca 1956). e. langton, History of the Moravian Church (London 1956).

[r. k. macmaster]

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