Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer, a booklet of 314 pages by the (Reformed) minister Johannes Jakob Wolleb of Thenniken (Switzerland), published in Basel in 1722. It is of interest because of the controversy, due at that time, between old-fashioned Anabaptism (as represented by the Swiss Brethren in the Emmental and the Jura area) and the newly arisen Protestant piety of subjectivism and emotional warmth called Pietism. The author came from an old Basel family of theologians; at the time of the publication of the book he seems to have been under the influence of Spener and Francke; later he leaned more toward Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church.

The main argument in this fictitious discussion between a Pietist and an Anabaptist centers around the question as to how one could know or demonstrate that the "spirit" which fills the soul of the believer is genuinely derived from the Holy Spirit and not a mere fancy or imagination. Naturally, neither side could undisputably prove its point, but the churchman Wolleb claimed to see the genuine Gospel spirit rather in his church than in that of the Anabaptists. Nevertheless, the author is rather fair in his portrayal of the "Anabaptist," even allowing him long and rather good speeches. Throughout the book Wolleb is afraid of false enthusiasm (Geisttreiberei) and of confused inspirationalism, the old temptation of all Left-Wing Protestants. The booklet closes with a sermon against the oath. In general, an irenic spirit prevails and the new Pietism seems to be open-minded to learn also from the once slandered Anabaptists. Today the book is extremely rare; only three copies are known—one in the Goshen College Library, one in the [[Amsterdam Mennonite Library (Bibliotheek en Archief van de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam)|Library of the Mennonite Church in Amsterdam]], and one in Basel.


Friedmann, Robert. Mennonite Piety Through the Centuries: its Genius and its Literature. Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1949. Reprinted Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1976.

Author(s) Robert Friedmann
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Friedmann, Robert. "Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 Jun 2021.

APA style

Friedmann, Robert. (1956). Gespräch zwischen einem Pietisten und einem Wiedertäufer. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 508. All rights reserved.

©1996-2021 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.