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Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf


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founder of the Herrnhuter ‘Brüdergemeine’ or Moravian Brethren. From 1722 he received on one of his estates Protestant emigrants from Austria, many of them descendants of the Bohemian Brethren. He left his government post in 1727 and devoted himself to the spiritual care of this colony, called Herrnhut. He was attacked by orthodox Lutherans as an innovator and exiled from Saxony from 1736 to 1747. He founded communities in the Baltic Provinces, the Netherlands, England, the West Indies, and North America.

He was opposed both to the spirit of the Enlightenment and to traditional Protestant orthodoxy. Believing that ‘God fulfils Himself in many ways’, he hoped to work pervasively within the Protestant Churches, but circumstances forced his movement to adopt a separate organization. In 1737 he received episcopal orders from a Moravian bishop in England. For a time he influenced the Evangelicals, notably J. Wesley, but exception was taken to his teaching on the relation between justification and sanctification and to the emotionalism of his ‘religion of the heart’. Through F. D. E. Schleiermacher, his emphasis on the place of feeling in religion influenced 19th-cent. theology.

Subjects: Religion

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