Erbkam, Wilhelm Heinrich (1810-1884)

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Wilhelm Heinrich Erbkam (1810-1884), professor of theology at the University of Königsberg, was the author of Geschichte der protestantischen Sekten im Zeitalter der Reformation (Hamburg and Gotha, 1848), a book that “is a valuable contribution to the history of the Reformation, based on most thorough study” (Realencyclopedie für Protestantische Theologie and Kirche V, 449). Later research has, of course, overtaken it. Its value lies in the author’s laudable attempt to present an independent, objective account, rare among Protestant theologians, of the history of the Anabaptists. He found the roots of this great movement in Christian Mysticism, and to it he devoted a lengthy study, which presents much that is noteworthy. In this connection he presented at great length Karlstadt, Sebastian Franck, and Caspar Schwenckfeld as representatives of Christian Mysticism, and in the second part of his book a brief summary of Anabaptist history. He exploited the sources available to him; but since he approached them with a bias, and, for example, regarded Bullinger’s statements as unassailable truth, and furthermore since many sources now available were unknown to him, he was unable to present a true picture of Anabaptist history. Hans Denck he handled with a few words; Michael Sattler he did not even mention. His book has a purely antiquarian value for Anabaptist history.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 602.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Erbkam, Wilhelm Heinrich (1810-1884)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 21 Sep 2020.,_Wilhelm_Heinrich_(1810-1884)&oldid=145020.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1956). Erbkam, Wilhelm Heinrich (1810-1884). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 September 2020, from,_Wilhelm_Heinrich_(1810-1884)&oldid=145020.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 242. All rights reserved.

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