|The Soldier King, Some of the Pietists and Halle
|Lutheran Philipp Jacob Spener, 1635-1705, is considered the Father of Pietism. After winning his
degree of master from the University of Strassburg in 1665, he obtained a position of tutor to the
young princes of the Palatinate and he also lectured at the university. From 1659 to 1662, he visited
various universities and started a lifelong study of heraldry. After his stay in Geneva, his views
became somewhat mystical, and in 1663, he returned to Strassburg as an appointed preacher with the
right of holding lectures.
He was a prolific writer and published many works as he was bounced from city to city amid
controversy. He had become concerned that the teachings of Luther had gone astray, and in 1670,
he began to bring together small groups in "little churches" of believers for prayer, study and talk.
Spener was severely maligned during his life by the orthodox clergy but was an inspiration to others
as "house churches" sprang up all over Germany. He himself was not a true "pietist" as some of his
later followers became. He departed from the orthodox church in only a couple of areas. He viewed
his little "churches" not as a new religion, but as an extension of the Reformations, where neighbor
could encourage neighbor, and laymen could express their feelings more personally than in church.
There were actually two groups of Lutheran Pietists: one centered in Halle which included Spener
and August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), and the other in Württemberg. Both were instrumental in
restoring and reforming the Bible studies from two hundred years earlier which were called the
Collegia Pietatis in academic circles of the Halle group, more commonly known as Stunden among
the movement in Württemberg. Spener deserves the credit for this recovery, and this would also
become an important part of the Anabaptist legacy. Spener's godchild was Count Nikolaus Ludwig
von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), later one of the most dynamic leaders of the Pietist movement and
leader of the Moravian Brethren.
Spener offers three suggestions for the increased use of the Bible: First, that every housefather
should have a Bible or at least a New Testament and read it aloud for his household on a daily basis;
secondly, that books of the Bible should be read one after another at specified times in public
services of the congregation, and thirdly, that special meetings should be organized for the reading
and application of the Scriptures. It is the development of this third point which was the most
influential in pietism. Spener also wrote 11 hymns.
August Hermann Francke was born in Lübeck in 1663 to a counsellor in the court of Duke Ernst the
Pious of Saxe-Gotha. He attended the Universities of Erfurth, Kiel and Leipzig, where he took his
Masters Degree in 1685. Francke was so impressed by Spener's ideas and his work in developing
orphanages and work- houses in Augsburg, Darmstadt, Leipzig and Hanover that he even stayed with
Spener for several months. When Franke returned to Leipzig, he became a strong intellectual leader
When the elector of Saxony responded to criticism by exiling Francke and Spener in 1690, the Pietist
movement in Saxony was curtailed. Prussia welcomed them, however, and ensconsed them at the
new University of Halle established by the Elector of Brandenburg Friedrich III (later King Friedrich
I of Prussia) in 1694. Francke became Professor of Oriental Languages, and would promoted their
controversial ideas for the next fifty years. Although only twenty-five years old, Halle had a large
student body and was soon the most prestigious university in Germany.
In 1698, with a charter from the Elector, Francke established the celebrated school-orphanage
(Waisenhaus) just outside the city wall of Halle, which brought in and taught poor children from all
over Germany so they either learned a trade or were prepared for the university.
By the 1720s, the institution included several buildings, a hospital, an 18,000 volume library and
a missionary center. Other institutions described by Francke were the “Royal Pedagogium”
established in 1695, for the education of the "sons of the higher estates," the "gynaceum" for the
daughters of gentlemen, a "Cherotrophea" for the support of poor widows, an apothecary shop of
pharmaceuticals for the Germans in America, a bookseller’s shop and printing presses. By 1700,
Halle was the leading European center for the study of foreign languages which included translating
and printing the Bible into many languages.
The Pietists' disciplined teaching methods also attracted the next Hohenzollern monarch, the deeply
religious "Soldier King" Friedrich Wilhelm, who went on to fund several schools that were put under
Francke's direction, and in 1717 the King mandated compulsory elementary education for all children
who lived near a school. He assisted the Pietist clergy who were educated at Halle find positions in
Prussia's Lutheran churches and in foreign missions. Even his military was trained according to
The Pietists emphasized deep, personal religious devotion, ethical purity, charity and pastoral
theology rather than sacramental or dogmatic precision. They believed in Bible study, youth work,
missionaries, and even had a belief in being "born again." Pietism emerged partly in reaction to the
formality of Lutheran orthodoxy. In the case of some Salzburgers, it was born of necessity, since
church worship was not an option in the secret practise of their Protestant faith (the Catholics kept
inventories of books seized on suspected Protestant farms and homes. In 1731, one family raid
netted 86 devotional books, 80 books were Protestant and six Catholic).
The connection between the American Revolution and Germany is deeper than meets the eye. In
the great university at Halle in the early eighteenth century, ecumenical efforts based on the common
good or public welfare are associated with the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Halle was
an extremely important center of language, science and religion. Both the Elector of Hanover and
Brandenburg’s Elector Friedrich and his wife Sophie Charlotte were principal sponsors of Leibniz’s
work, and in 1700, Friedrich and Sophie Charlotte established the Berlin Society of Sciences (later
the Berlin Academy of Sciences) and appointed Leibniz in charge. Halle became the center of
communications between the German "Leibniz networks" and Russia. In 1697, Peter the Great of
Russia met with Sophie Charlotte and her mother, who put him in contact with Leibniz. Leibniz was
named Privy Counsellor of Justice to the Czar, along with collaborators from Halle and they later
formed the Russian Academy of Sciences. Leibniz maintained similar correspondences all over the
world at the time when Halle was the leading center for foreign language studies.
As part of the "Leibniz networks" August Hermann Francke not only coordinated the German
emigration to Pennsylvania in the early Eighteenth century, but the Palatinate emigration to New
York and to the German settlements in Virginia under Governor Spotswood.
Through the influence of Johann Arndt's 'True Christianity', and also the collection of Arndt's
sermons, for which his 'Pia Desideria' was originally written as a preface, Spener is thought of as the
Father of Pietism. However, both of these men should be, although these two were not the only
voices suggesting that Lutheran Orthodoxy should become more a religion of the heart. The
Reformation was in full swing When Johann Arndt was born in Anhalt on December 27, 1555.
His parents taught him themselves and then sacrificed dearly so that he could be further educated.
Once in school, he studied medicine and the sciences, but became afflicted with a deadly disease.
Doctors gave him no hope for recovery, and he vowed that if God would heal him, he would devote
his life to the Lord. He recovered, and left the world with an enormous book which once provided
many a cold winter's night of reading to the spiritually starved crypto-Protestant Salzburgers.
Arndt was a devoted follower of Melanchthon, and after finishing his education, he accepted a
pastorate in Anhalt in 1583, but had to leave after seven years because he fought with the Calvinist
Duke. Next, he accepted a position at Quedlinburg, where he remained an unpopular figure for nine
years. Concerned that theologians overly emphasized the technical achievement of Christianity while
neglecting spiritual rebirth which formed the "true Christian", he encouraged his listeners to worship
from the heart to maintain "practical Christianity" and to realize the need for a savior because of an
awareness of sin. He emphasized a personal intimacy with Christ. His large, mystically illustrated
book of prayers and meditations, 'Sechs Böcher vom Wahren Christentum', (Four Books Concerning
True Christianity) was widely read and popular among the Salzburg Protestants and Mennonites.
|The first evidence of occupation at Halle, comes from artifacts of the Upper Paleolithic period. Salt
deposits in a nearby valley were mined and there is evidence of salt trade in the area as far back as
the Bronze age. First mentioned in 806 AD as a fortress, Halle was first part of the archbishopric of
Magdeburg in 968, and chartered by the Emperor Otto II in 981.
Halle maintained its liberty as a member of the Hanseatic League from 1281 until 1478, and
accepted the Protestant Reformation in 1522. The city passed to Brandenburg in 1648. Martin
Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg was founded in 1694, closed by Napoleon in 1806 and closed
again in 1813. It was reestablished in 1815 and has long been recognized as one of the principal seats
of Protestant learning. Halle was not only the center of German Pietism, it was also the birthplace of
Georg Friedrich Händel. It also had a profound influence on early America. Heinrich Muhlenberg and
others were sent from Halle as missionaries to a young Pennsylvania where they helped establish the
first American Lutheran church. Muhlenburg's son Friedrich, a Halle graduate, was the first Speaker
of the U.S. House of Representatives.
|Spener, Francke and Arndt
|THE SALZBURGERS: EAST PRUSSIA