« Breckinridge, Robert Jefferson Breckling, Friedrich Bredenkamp, Konrad Justus »

Breckling, Friedrich

BRECKLING, FRIEDRICH: A forerunner of the Pietistic school; b. at Hanved near Flensburg, Sleswick, 1629; died at The Hague Mar. 16, 1711. He studied at Rostock, where he imbibed the theology of Arndt; then at Königsberg, where syncretism was dominant, at Helmstädt, where his relation Calixtus then was, at Wittenberg, Leipsic, Jena, and Giessen. Here his thesis for the master's degree (1653) was criticized as savoring of Weigelianism, but he refused to alter it, and published it at Amsterdam under the title Mysterium magnum, Christus in nobis (1662). He became closely allied with Tackius, and went deeper into theosophy by the aid of Hermes Trismegistus, Paracelsus, and Böhme. Going to Hamburg, he read Betke's Antichristentum, and was much influenced by its conception of priestless Christianity. After some years of wandering in search of knowledge, he was ordained to be his father's assistant and ultimate successor; but violent attacks on the local clergy caused his deposition and imprisonment in 1660. Escaping, he went to Amsterdam and got a charge at Zwolle, where he spent eight years of comparative quiet, but was again deprived of his office, and lived in retirement at Zwolle (1668–72), Amsterdam (1672–90), and The Hague (1690–1711). He maintained a correspondence with Spener and with Gottfried Arnold, whom he helped in his church history, and was busily engaged as a writer. In spite of his weaknesses, he deserves remembrance as a link in the chain of mystical natures who prepared the way for Spener and the Pietistic movement.

(F. Nielsen†.)

Bibliography: G. Arnold, Kirchen und Ketzergeschichte, iii, 148–149, iv, 1103–04, Frankfort, 1729; A. Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus, ii, 1, 128, 146, Bonn, 1884; L. J. Moltesen, F. Breckling, et Bidrag til Pietismens Udviklingshistorie, Copenhagen, 1893.

« Breckinridge, Robert Jefferson Breckling, Friedrich Bredenkamp, Konrad Justus »
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