« Ballard, Addison Balle, Nicolai Edinger Ballerini, Pietro and Girolamo »

Balle, Nicolai Edinger

BALLE, bɑ̄l´le, NICOLAI EDINGER: Bishop of Zealand; b. at Vestenskov, near Nakskov (on the w. coast of the island of Laaland, 80 m. s.w. of Copenhagen), Denmark, Oct. 12, 1744; d. in Copenhagen Oct. 19, 1816. He studied at Copenhagen, Leipsic, Halls, and Göttingen; in 1770-71 he gave lectures at Copenhagen on church history and philology, and then accepted a pastorate in the bishopric of Aalborg; in 1772 he returned to the university, was made court preacher and doctor of theology in 1774, first professor of theology in 1777, assistant to Bishop Harboe of Zealand in 1782, and finally his successor in 1783; he resigned as bishop in 1808. Balle lectured and wrote on almost all theological branches, but church history was his specialty, and in 1790 he published a Historia ecclesiæ Christianæ, reaching to the Reformation. His Theses theologici (1776), the last work on dogmatics written in Denmark in the Latin tongue, was used at the universities of Kiel and Wittenberg. He opposed rationalism and free-thinking, and when the candidate Otto Horrebow started a publication, Jesus og Fornuften ("Jesus and Reason “), Belle replied with Biblen forsvarer sig selv ("The Bible Defending Itself “). He introduced weekly Bible readings in the capital, advocated the public school, and believed in special training for teachers. In 1791 he published a primer, which contains supranaturalistic as well as rationalizing views, and in 1798 a new hymnbook. Both these works served their time, but were finally superseded on the revival of Christian and church life in Denmark. Balle’s position among the bishops of Denmark is an important and honorable one. In recognition of his labors,429 the citizens of Denmark presented to him in 1798 a gold medal with the inscription: “To the friend of religion, to the friend of the State, Matt. x, 32.” The pastors of Zealand erected a monument over his grave, and a bas-relief in the garrison church where he explained the Bible represents him with the Bible in his hand.

F. Nielsen.

Bibliography: L. Koch, Bishop N. E. Balle, Copenhagen, 1876; F. Nielsen, Bidrag til den evangelisk-kristelige Psalmebogs Historie, ib. 1895.

« Ballard, Addison Balle, Nicolai Edinger Ballerini, Pietro and Girolamo »
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