Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer
Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer, a booklet of 314 pages by the (Reformed) minister Johannes Jakob Wolleb of Thenniken (Switzerland), published in Basel in 1722. It is of interest because of the controversy, due at that time, between old-fashioned Anabaptism (as represented by the Swiss Brethren in the Emmental and the Jura area) and the newly arisen Protestant piety of subjectivism and emotional warmth called Pietism. The author came from an old Basel family of theologians; at the time of the publication of the book he seems to have been under the influence of Spener and Francke; later he leaned more toward Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church.
The main argument in this fictitious discussion between a Pietist and an Anabaptist centers around the question as to how one could know or demonstrate that the "spirit" which fills the soul of the believer is genuinely derived from the Holy Spirit and not a mere fancy or imagination. Naturally, neither side could undisputably prove its point, but the churchman Wolleb claimed to see the genuine Gospel spirit rather in his church than in that of the Anabaptists. Nevertheless, the author is rather fair in his portrayal of the "Anabaptist," even allowing him long and rather good speeches. Throughout the book Wolleb is afraid of false enthusiasm (Geisttreiberei) and of confused inspirationalism, the old temptation of all Left-Wing Protestants. The booklet closes with a sermon against the oath. In general, an irenic spirit prevails and the new Pietism seems to be open-minded to learn also from the once slandered Anabaptists. Today the book is extremely rare; only three copies are known—one in the Goshen College Library, one in the Library of the Mennonite Church in Amsterdam, and one in Basel.
Friedmann, Robert. Mennonite Piety Through the Centuries: its Genius and its Literature. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1949. Reprinted Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1976.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 508. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Friedmann, Robert. "Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/gesprach_zwischen_einem_pietisten_und_einem.
APA style: Friedmann, Robert. (1956). Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/gesprach_zwischen_einem_pietisten_und_einem.