Mennonitische Blätter (Periodical)

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Mennonitische Blätter, the oldest periodical of the German Mennonites (not published after 1941), was founded on 1 January 1854 by Preacher Jakob Mannhardt of Danzig. Determinedly and faithfully following the motto of Menno Simons (1 Corinthians 3:11) he considered it "as the beautiful goal of our work to bring about a closer community among our congregations, to awaken or revive the consciousness that we belong together and of our brotherhood on a basis of faith and work and so to lead to deeper bonds of union, and help to cultivate and promote the kingdom of God and its concerns everywhere in our churches." In nine points he drew up the program of work for the paper. Above all else it was to present historical information, then articles on the faith and organization of the brotherhood, excerpts from the writings of our Reformers, contemporary events in the churches, articles of a devotional nature, on home and foreign missions, religious news, hymns (of the martyrs), and notices of various kinds. Assisted by a staff of co-workers, including B. C. Roosen of Hamburg-Altona, Heinrich Neufeldt, of Ibersheim, Johannes Risser of Sembach, and Johannes Molenaar of Monsheim, he successfully carried out his program. Under his leadership the Mennonitische Blätter became a mine of historical research and a reflection of the intellectual and spiritual life of the German Mennonites of the time. In 1874 old age compelled him to retire from its direction.

Mannhardt was followed by Hinrich van der Smissen, who had been called as pastor of the Ibersheim congregation the year before. For fifty years (1874-1924) he conducted the paper with skill. During the first five years he was supported by his older cousin Johannes van der Smissen, pastor of the Sembach congregation. As the interest of the churches was stirred by the historical research of Ludwig Keller, the periodical became the vehicle of publication of many articles in the field of Mennonite history.

In 1888 H. G. Mannhardt became an associate editor and the paper was published twice a month. After six months, when H. G. Mannhardt resigned, the paper ended its bimonthly appearance. The volumes 1887-1889 printed sermons by preachers of various congregations; volumes 1890-1891 offered interesting and entertaining supplements. Both of these innovations were experimental. During World War I the paper was able to continue its work. The postwar period was more difficult. The volume of 1924 appeared in double numbers. In September 1925 it ceased publication until 1927.

Then the Vereinigung (a German Mennonite conference) intervened. At its request Pastor Emil Händiges assumed the editorship of the revived paper on 1 January 1927, with the voluntary assistance o£ H. G. Mannhardt and Christian Neff of Weierhof. When the former died (July 1927), Pastor Erich Göttner stepped into his place. Thus the paper was able to fulfill a great and important mission in reviving, strengthening, and uniting the German Mennonites (Menn. Bl. 1929, 1 ff.). In 1939 the issue numbered 1,450 copies. The last issue was dated March 1941, when it was forced to cease publication by order of the German government


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 107.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1957

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Neff, Christian. "Mennonitische Blätter (Periodical)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 20 Mar 2019.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1957). Mennonitische Blätter (Periodical). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 March 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 644. All rights reserved.

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