« Arndt, Augustin Arndt, Johann Arndt, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm »

Arndt, Johann

ARNDT, ɑ̄rnt, JOHANN: German mystic; b. at Edderitz, near Ballenstedt (36 m. s.w. of Magdeburg), Anhalt, Dec. 27, 1555; d. at Celle (23 m. n. of Hanover), Hanover, May 11, 1621. He studied theology at Helmstedt, Wittenberg, Strasburg, and Basel and in 1583 became pastor at Badeborn in Anhalt. He was removed in 1590 by Duke Johann Georg because of his refusal to submit to the duke’s order proscribing the use of images and the practise of exorcism. Summoned to Quedlinburg in the same year Arndt had to contend with the malice of a faction among the townspeople with whom his aggressive preaching found little favor, and in 1599 he followed a call to Brunswick. Here too, after some years of quiet, he came into conflict with his colleagues, largely because of the general opposition aroused by the appearance, in 1606, of the first part of his Von wahren Christenthum. In 1609 he became pastor at Eisleben, but two years later received the important post of general superintendent at Celle and in this position remained till his death, exercising a lasting and beneficent influence on the constitution of the Lüneburg church system. In 1609 appeared three additional books of the Wahre Christenthum and in 1612 he published his no less famous Paradiesgärtlein aller christlichen Tugenden. The appearance of the Wahre Christenthum gave rise to a violent controversy. Steeped in the mysticism of the Middle Ages, Arndt asserted the insufficiency of orthodox doctrine toward the complete attainment of the true Christian life, and upheld the necessity of a moral purification made possible by righteous living and by bringing the soul into communion with God. Though he held fast, formally, to the doctrine of the Lutheran Church, he nevertheless became thus the great precursor of Pietism and his is the greatest name in the history of German mysticism after Thomas a Kempis. The first book of the Wahre Christenthum was translated into English in 1646, and complete translations were made by A. W Boehm in 1712 and by W. Jaques in 1815. An American edition appeared at Philadelphia in 1842, revised in 1868. The Garden of Paradise appeared in English in 1716.

(H. Hölscher.)

Bibliography: F. Arndt, Johann Arndt. Berlin. 1838: H. L. Pertz, De Joanne Arndt ejusque libris, Hanover. 1852.

« Arndt, Augustin Arndt, Johann Arndt, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm »
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