Hochmann von Hohenau, Ernst Christoph (1670-1721)

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Ernst Christoph Hochmann von Hohenau (1670-1721), grew up in Nürnberg, Germany, as a Lutheran, was awakened while a student at the University of Halle (1662) by August Hermann Francke, in 1697 became associated with Gottfried Arnold, and was thereafter an active Separatist, without however joining a church brotherhood, zealously proclaiming the Gospel when he was not prevented by imprisonment and persecution of all kinds. In his creed of 1702 he said, "Concerning water baptism I believe that Christ instituted it only for adults and not for children, for there is found in all of the Holy Scriptures not an iota of an express command. Faith and baptism belong together." His position on government is also akin to that of the Mennonites; for he acknowledges it as a divine ordinance, but "things which conflict with the Word of God and conscience and against the liberty of Christ ... it has been granted no authority." When a group of his adherents led by Alexander Mack, yielding to the influence of the English Baptists, regarded immersion as the only true baptism and necessary to salvation, and therefore required a second baptism of those who had been baptized as children, he took a moderate position (Max Goebel comments, "agreeing with Mennonite doctrine"), namely, that the sprinkling performed on children was valid and sufficient, if it was only followed later on by rebirth or the baptism of the Spirit.

It is therefore not surprising to find that Hochmann made contacts with the Mennonites. Goebel states (13) that in his speeches and writings he made many references to Menno Simons. In Krefeld he was given friendly reception by the Mennonite congregation and its three preachers (Gosen Goyen, Leonhard Ewald, Joh. Crous), and preached in their church. In the Palatinate he also frequently visited the Mennonites in Zuzenhausen, Eppstein, Guntersblum, Mutterstadt, and Lambsheim, and preached for them. Though the members of these congregations living now have no knowledge of his visits, his influence must have been deep and lasting. He is said to have preached with such power that "his hearers felt themselves lifted above the earth, as if eternity were dawning." His influence on the religious life of the Rhineland was fraught with extraordinary blessing. This is attested by both Jung-Stilling, who set him a memorial in Theobald oder die Schwärmer, and Gerhard Tersteegen, who wrote the verse found on his tombstone.


Auge, Fr. "Acht Briefe Ernst Christoph Hochmanns von Hohenau." Monatsblatt für rheinische Kirchengeschichte 19 (1925): 133 ff.

Cattepoel, D. "Das religiöse Leben in der Krefelder Mennonitengemeinde des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts." Beiträge zur Geschichte der rheinischer Mennoniten (1939).

Die Religion in Geschichte and Gegenwart, 2.ed. Tübingen: Mohr, 1927-1932: II.

Goebel, Max. Geschichte des christlichen Lebens in der rheinisch-westphälischen evangelischen Kirche. Coblenz: Commission bei Karl Bädeker, 1852.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 321.

Herzog, J. J. and Albert Hauck, Realencyclopedie für Protestantische Theologie und Kirche. 3. ed. Leipzig: J. H. Hinrichs, 1896-1913: VIII, 162 ff.

Nieper, Fr. Die ersten deutschen Auswanderer von Krefeld nach Pennsylvanien. Neukirchen, 1940: 126, 151, 201 f., 217 f., 275 f.

Renkewitz, H. Hochmann von Hohenau. Breslau, 1935.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Hochmann von Hohenau, Ernst Christoph (1670-1721)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 24 Apr 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hochmann_von_Hohenau,_Ernst_Christoph_(1670-1721)&oldid=146486.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1956). Hochmann von Hohenau, Ernst Christoph (1670-1721). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 April 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hochmann_von_Hohenau,_Ernst_Christoph_(1670-1721)&oldid=146486.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 771. All rights reserved.

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