Nippold, Friedrich (1838-1918)
Friedrich Nippold (1838-1918) was a German Protestant theologian who served as professor of church history in a number of universities: Heidelberg 1867-1871, Bern 1871-1884, and Jena 1884-1907. He then lived in retirement in Oberursel. He was one of the founders of the Protestant League. In his youth he had become well acquainted with the Mennonites on both sides of the Dutch border. Until his death he was appreciative of and friendly toward the Mennonites. While he was teaching at the University of Jena he gave friendly assistance in the organization of the Vereinigung (a Mennonite conference in Germany), and participated in the examination of the first Mennonite theological students. In his writings he warmly defended the Mennonites. Among his articles and books were: Berner Beiträge zur Geschichte der Schweizerischen Reformations-kirchen (1884); a new edition of Hagenbach's Kirchengeschichte (1885-1887); Handbuch der neuesten Kirchengeschichte (1880-1906); various articles in the Protestantische Jahr-Bücher (especially 1887). Special mention must be made of his important monograph, "David Joris von Delft. Sein Leben, seine Lehre und seine Sekte," in Zeitschrift für die historische Theologie, 1863, 3-166, and 1864, 483-673.
Nippold was one of the first historians to take a position contrary to traditional biased historiography against the Mennonites. As early as 1861 he published in the Allgemeine kirchliche Zeitschrijt (618-628) a treatise, "Die niederländischen Taufgesinnten," in which he demonstrated that the prevailing principle of the brotherhood in the Reformation period as well as later was not the rejection of infant baptism, but the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth, and that in the Netherlands they were "one of the most important ecclesiastical phenomena on Protestant soil." Even though external changes have come about in the process of development, nevertheless "the contrast of the simple Biblical standpoint with symbolic Christianity remains."
In another article in the Protestantisches Monatsblatt (December 1865) Nippold discussed the "Anabaptist Tendencies in Their Significance for Understanding the Period of the Reformation," and in his greatest work, Handbuch der neuesten Kirchengeschichte (third edition, Vol. I, 1889, p. IX f.), in which he traces a parallel between the various churches back to the Reformation, he presents a thorough correction of the customary manner of presenting church history, by showing that the basis is found in the central point of the Gospel, in a sketch of the kingdom of God. "But this very Gospel is buried under all sorts of dogmatic repainting." The need of a thorough correction of the traditional presentation of church history is very clear, and is being more strongly voiced by professional historians year by year, says Nippold.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 263 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 888. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. "Nippold, Friedrich (1838-1918)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N574.html.
APA style: Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. (1957). Nippold, Friedrich (1838-1918). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N574.html.