The theological journal, Altes und Neues aus dem Schatz theologischer Wissenschaften (Wittenberg, 1701 ft), an important journal of the 18th century, which changed its name a number of times, published in 1730 under the title Fortgesetzte Sammlung von alten und neuen theologischen Sachen a lengthy article, "Kleines Mennonisten-Lexikon oder Nachricht von denen Lehrern der Mennonisten." The article was a listing of the Mennonite authors and a description of their works. The compilation began with Apostool and ends with Wybrandt. First on the list were the writers of devotional literature, as catechisms, sermons, and Bible studies. Most of these works and authors had been previously discussed in Hermann Schijn's Mennonite history, which was almost in every case cited as source. Since the discussions contained no critical notes, they were of no particular value today except to show that in Lutheran circles at that time Mennonite literature merited a review in such publications.
Since in that period the Dutch Mennonites, in their position of security, were the most active writers, they were naturally considered first in this lexicon. A few errors, probably due to faulty proofreading, do not disturb too seriously, as when 1339 is given as the date of the origin of the Mennonites in Friesland, or 1661 as the date of Menno's death. In general the lexicon was well informed. The biographical notes contained several items of interest. A Dutch Mennonite linguist by the name of Anton Dahlem was mentioned, who was for a time a Mennonite preacher. Connections with Danzig were revealed by the booklet written against the Socinians by Petrus Johann Twiskerus, Disputationes de Deitate Christi contra Montanum Socinianum, which was printed in Danzig in 1650.
This lexicon was supplemented by occasional references to contemporary Mennonite publications. In 1704, under the title Unschuldige Nachrichten, appeared a short article, "Nachricht vom neuen Zustand der Mennoniten." It was mostly a report on the followers of Galenus Abrahamsz de Haan, with whom many Socinians allied themselves. It also told of the persecution of the Mennonites of Jülich-Palatine lands, "which soon subsided through the intercession of the lord of Dyckfeld, who induced the glorious King William of Great Britain to come to their defense."
In further reviews the attitude of the publishers was unmistakably revealed. Concerning the Korte Historie der Mennoniten by Herman Schijn they cautiously mentioned that he protested against the designation Wiedertäufer and denied connections with the Münsterites and Müntzerites. That the publishers were not of Schijn's opinion was clearly revealed in their evaluation of the Latin edition of his book (1723): "There is so little history in this book that it should be called Apologia instead of Historia." Also in the discussion of K. van Huysen's historical treatises the protest against the alleged derivation from Münster, which was taught by every history of theology, was not taken seriously (1716). On the other hand, in the Fortgesetzte Sammlung (1720) the publishers very joyfully discussed J. Chr. Jehring's history of the divisions and disputes among the Mennonites and repeat Jehring's verdict: "Because of these dissensions the foundation of the Mennonites is a poor one, built up on lies."
It is evident that the publishers of the first Mennonite Lexicon, in spite of their good historical information, were enmeshed in the spirit of intolerance prevalent in the 16th century.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 95.
Cite This Article
Quiring, Horst. "Mennonisten-Lexikon." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 4 Mar 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonisten-Lexikon&oldid=111083.
Quiring, Horst. (1957). Mennonisten-Lexikon. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 March 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonisten-Lexikon&oldid=111083.
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