Sepp, Christiaan (1820-1890)

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Christiaan Sepp
Source: Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1905)

Christiaan Sepp, born 3 April 1820, at Amsterdam, died 10 May 1890, at Wijk aan Zee, a son of Jan Sepp and Christina Bakker, was a Dutch Mennonite minister and an outstanding church historian of the Netherlands. He was married in 1848 to C. E. A. Spin of Amsterdam. Sepp studied theology at the Amsterdam Mennonite Seminary in 1837-43, and served as minister at Westzaan-Zuid 1843-48, Zaandam-Oost 1848-54, and Leiden 1872-79, then retiring and moving to Amsterdam. Sepp was a beloved preacher and a loyal pastor; he was one of the leading Dutch ministers of the 19th century. During his service at Leiden he also took charge of the Mennonites living at The Hague and promoted the founding of the Hague congregation in 1881. He was a trustee of the Algemeene Doopsgezinde Sociëteit and a curator of its seminary. He opposed radical liberalism, and was a friend of Pietism, always maintaining Biblical supranaturalism against the theological trend of monism and anti-supranaturalism, "His Christianity was mild and Biblical," says Binnerts.

Sepp was also a man of learning. As early as 1837, at the age of 17, he started his many translations of German theological works into Dutch. His study in Latin on the doctrines of St. Paul was awarded a gold medal by the University of Utrecht in 1843. Other books published by Sepp were: Herinneringen uit het leven van een hulpprediker (Amsterdam, 1846), Johan Albrecht Bengel, een waardig discipel van dem Heer (Amsterdam, 1848), De leer des Nieuwen Testaments over de Heilige schriften des Ouden Verbonds (Amsterdam, 1849), Proeve eener Pragmatische geschiedenis der theologie in Nederland 1787-1858 (Haarlem, 1860, reprinted Amsterdam, 1860; Leiden, 1868), Johannes Stinstra en zijn tijd (Amsterdam, 2 vv., 1865, 1866), Geschiedkundige Nasporingen, 3 vv. (Leiden, resp. 1872, 1873, 1875), Het Godgeleerd Onderwijs in Nederland in de 16de en 17de eeuw, 2 vv. (Leiden, 1873-74), Drie Evangeliedienaren uit den tijd der Hervorming (Leiden, 1879), Polemische en irenische theologie (Leiden, 1881, reprinted Leiden, 1882), Bibliographische Mededeelingen (1883), Kerkhistorische Studiën (Leiden, 1885), Bibliotheek van Nederlandsche Kerkgeschiedschrijvers (1886), Verboden Lectuur (1889), Uit het predikantenleven van vroeger tijden (Leiden, 1890); after his death his Het staatstoezicht op de godsdienstige literatuur in de Noordelijke Nederlanden was published by L. Knappert and J. Sepp.

Besides these books Sepp published many articles, particularly in Godgeleerde Bijdragen, a periodical of which he was the editor; a devotional book De Zeven Kruiswoorden, voor vrienden van Jezus verklaard (Amsterdam, 1856); a few sermons, two funeral sermons, one in memory of Matthijs Siegenbeek (Leiden, 1855), and one to commemorate Daniel Tieboel Siegenbeek (no publisher or date indicated-Leiden, 1866). For the Association of Dutch Literature, of which Sepp was a member, he wrote obituary biographical notices for K. Sybrandi (1873), Samuel Muller (1876), and others.

Apart from his book on Stinstra, Sepp did not publish much about Mennonite history; he was, however, well informed in it. A few papers on Mennonite history are found in his Geschiedkundige Nasporingen. His article "Menno Simons in de eerste jaren zijner Evangeliebediening 1536-39" is found in his book Uit het Predikantsleven.

Sepp was a member of a number of learned associations. In 1875 the University of Leiden awarded him an honorary degree in theology. The biographical notice for Sepp published in the records of the "Maatschappij voor Nederlandsche Letterkunde" was written by Samuel Cramer.


Cramer, S. Levensbericht van Chr. Sepp. Leiden, 1891.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1867): 110-41 (review of Sepp's book on Stinstra); (1889): 64; (1892): 1 and following; (1896): 64-66; (1905): 89.

Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1905): 21-31 with portrait.

Molhuysen, P. C. and P. J. Blok. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. 10 vols. Leiden, 1911-1937: v. V, 720-24.

Sepp, J. Ter gedachtenis aan Christiaan Sepp, Theol. Dr en rustend predikant. 1890.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Sepp, Christiaan (1820-1890)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 19 Sep 2018.,_Christiaan_(1820-1890)&oldid=111010.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Sepp, Christiaan (1820-1890). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 September 2018, from,_Christiaan_(1820-1890)&oldid=111010.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 502. All rights reserved.

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