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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K068-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

‘Pietism’ refers to a Protestant reform movement, arising in the late 1600s in Lutheran Germany, which turned away from contests over theological and dogmatic identity in Protestant confessionalism and urged renewed attention to questions of personal piety and devotion. As such, it has only the most tenuous historical connections to the Christocentric piety of the devotio moderna or the northern humanist piety of Erasmus or Zwingli. It found its first major voice in P.J. Spener and A.H. Francke, and established its principal centres of influence at the state university at Halle in 1691 and the Moravian community at Herrnhut in 1722. Pietism found followers and allies in the European Reformed churches, in the Church of England (especially through the example of John and Charles Wesley and through the Moravian exile community in England), and in Britain’s English-speaking colonies. In the colonies, pietism not only found Lutheran and Reformed colonial hosts, but also saw in New England Puritanism a movement of similar aspirations. Pietism’s impact on the spirituality of western Europe and America was clearly felt in the eighteenth-century Protestant Awakenings, and continues to have an influence in the shape of Anglo-American evangelicalism.

Citing this article:
Guelzo, Allen C.. Pietism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K068-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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