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Enchiridion Oft Hantboecxken van de Christelijcke Leere ende Religion, in corte somma begrepen, ten dienste van alle Liefhebbers der waerheit wt der Heyliger Schrift ghemaect, nv nieus gecorrigeert ende vermeerdert Door D.P. . . . Ghedruckt int Jaer ons Heeren M.D. LXIV. The Enchiridion (Handbook) by Dirk Philips is a collection of writings which had previously appeared separately. Dirk Philips himself prepared this edition, which was published in 1564 and contains eleven writings and five letters. The following writings were systematically (not chronologically) arranged with a detailed index: “Confession of Our Faith,” “The Incarnation of Christ,” “The True Knowledge of Jesus Christ,” “An Apologia, or a Response,” “About the Calling of Preachers and Teachers,” “Admonitions About How to Deal with Those Who Are Committing Carnal Deeds,” “About the True Knowledge of God,” “An Explanation of the Tabernacle . . . ,” “Concerning Regeneration and the New Creature,” “Concerning the Spiritual Restitution,” “Concerning the Church of God . . . .”

Like the Fundament-Boek (Foundation Book) of Menno Simons, this was to be a guide or handbook for the Christian to furnish him with basic doctrinal and ethical instructions in a day of distress and persecution. Dirk presents basic Christian convictions with some characteristics of Anabaptism such as the separation of the church from the world, strict church discipline, practical and fruitful Christian living, regarding the Dutch Anabaptist view on the incarnation of Christ, etc. Although he reveals a good knowledge of the Bible, deep Christian convictions, some knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, he scarcely quotes writers of the past or the days of the Reformation, not even his co-worker Menno Simons. Luther, Sebastian Franck, and Erasmus are each referred to once. The many reprints of the Enchiridion, however, prove that it filled a great need and fulfilled its intended purpose of being a guide for the Christian. Frederik Pijper, who made a special study of Dirk Philips and prepared and edited all his writings, which appeared as Vol. X of the Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, says, “What the Loci communes of Melanchthon was for the Lutherans, the Confession of Beza for the French Protestants, and the Leken wechwyser for the Dutch Reformed, the Enchiridion was for the Mennonites” (BRN X, 4).

The first edition of the Enchiridion of 1564 (of which there are at least two copies extant, at Amsterdam and at Goshen), was reprinted with no change in 1578, 1579, 1600, and 1627. The last contains also Dirk Philips’ response to two letters of Sebastian Franck, who, as a spiritualist, minimized the significance of a visible church, which view is criticized and corrected by Dirk Philips. The only known French edition of the Enchiridion appeared in a volume with the writings of Menno Simons and others and was published in 1626. The first German edition, edited by C. J. Conert and printed at Haarlem, Holland, in 1715, the above-mentioned response to Franck’s letters at the beginning. The next edition (Basel, 1802) places these letters in the back of the book and also “Von der Ehe des Christen . . .” and “Schrift und Handlung von dem Evangelischen Bann . . . .” The first two American German editions (Lancaster, 1811; Neu-Berlin, 1851) do not contain the latter two writings, while the Elkhart edition of 1872 and the Scottdale edition of 1917 included them. The first English edition, translated by A. B. Kolb, appeared in Elkhart in 1910. The final Dutch edition of the Enchiridion and the other writings of Dirk Philips, with a scholarly introduction and annotations by F. Pijper, appeared in Vol. X of BRN. Five previously unpublished letters and two songs were added. According to Vos (Menno Simons, p. 330) a writing concerning avoidance, to be found in the Mennonite Archives in Amsterdam, is missing in this edition. For the various editions of separate writings of Dirk Philips, see Catalogus Amst., pp. 92-96.


Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1956


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MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Enchiridion Oft Hantboecxken." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 16 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Enchiridion_Oft_Hantboecxken&oldid=80488.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). Enchiridion Oft Hantboecxken. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Enchiridion_Oft_Hantboecxken&oldid=80488.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 213. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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