Hoffmann, Christoph (1815-1885)

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Christoph Hoffmann, the founder of the brotherhood of the Deutscher Tempel, grew up in Korntal near Stuttgart, Württemberg, Germany, which his father had founded. He was a delegate to the parliament of Frankfurt, in 1848 founded the Evangelischer Verein, which established a school for evangelists to revive the church, withdrew from it in 1853, served for a short time as inspector at St. Chrischona near Basel, in 1854 called a meeting of the Jerusalemsfreunde (Friends of Jerusalem) at Ludwigsburg, and in 1861, on the Kirschenhardthof near Marbach he founded the Deutscher Tempel zur Ausführung des Gesetzes, des Evangeliums und der Weissagung, which found adherents in Württemberg, Russia, North America, and Palestine. On a trip to Russia he and his friend Christian Paulus (1861-1863) gained a following among the Mennonites, giving rise to a Tempel movement. Many of Hoffmann's adherents among the Russian Mennonites, however, left him when in his open letter of 1877-1882 he abandoned his Biblical position for a rationalistic one. The periodical of the movement, Süddeutsche Warte, was also read by the Mennonites of Russia.

Gnadenfeld, where a movement originated which gave life to the Mennonite Brethren, was also the scene of the origin of the Tempel movement in Russia. Johannes and Friedrich Lange, who had attended the Paulusinstitut of the Templers in South Germany, became teachers in the Gnadenfeld Bruderschule, promoting a pietistic rationalistic chiliasm with a strong emphasis on the significance of education. Parallel with the Mennonite Brethren movement this caused a great disturbance in the Molotschna Mennonite brotherhood. In 1863 the group withdrew from the Mennonite Church under the leadership of Nikolai Schmidt and organized as a separate church, which established the Tempelhof settlement in the Caucasus in 1868. The group also became known as Jerusalemsfreunde, a sort of Mennonite Zionism which caused some of them to immigrate to Palestine. The Alexandrodar Mennonite Church of Jerusalemsfreunde consisted of 148 persons in 1905, with Isaak Fast as elder.


Dirks, Heinrich. Statistik der Mennonitengemeinden in Russland Ende 1905 (Anhang zum Mennonitischen Jahrbuche 1904/05). Gnadenfeld: Dirks, 1906 (1905): 69.

Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911: 88-91.

Görz, H. Die Molotschnaer Mennoniten. Steinbach, 1951: 86-90.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff.  Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 325 f.

Hoffman, Chr. Mein Weg nach Jerusalem: Erinnerungen aus Meinem Leben, 2 vols. 1881-1884.

Lange, Fr. Geschichte des Tempels. Jerusalem : C. Hoffmann, 1899.

Rohrer, E. Die Tempel Gesellschaft. 1920.

Sawatzky, Heinrich. Templer mennonitischer Herkunft. Winnipeg, Man.: Echo-Verlag, 1955.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Neff, Christian and Cornelius Krahn. "Hoffmann, Christoph (1815-1885)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 27 Sep 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hoffmann,_Christoph_(1815-1885)&oldid=118304.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Cornelius Krahn. (1956). Hoffmann, Christoph (1815-1885). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Hoffmann,_Christoph_(1815-1885)&oldid=118304.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 777-778. All rights reserved.

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