« Catechesis, Catechetics Catechisms Catechumenate »



I. The Middle Ages.

Need of Catechetical Instruction (§ 1).

Influence of Confession (§ 2).

Pre-Reformation Catechisms (§ 3).

II. The Post-Reformation Period.

Early Lutheran Catechisms (§ 1).

Gradual Supremacy of Luther's Smaller Catechism (§ 2).

Early Catechisms Based on Luther's Work (§ 3).

Orthodox and Pietistic Catechisms (§ 4).

Rationalistic Catechisms of the Eighteenth Century (§ 5).

Modern German Lutheran Catechisms (§ 6).

Modern German Reformed Catechisms (§ 7).

Switzerland (§ 8).

Austria-Hungary (§ 9).

Slavic Countries (§ 10).

Scandinavian Countries (§ 11).

Holland (§ 12).

England (§ 13).

France (§ 14).

Italy (§ 15).

American Lutheran Catechisms (§ 16).

The Moravians and Bohemian Brethren (§ 17).

Methodist Catechisms (§ 18).

Baptist and Irvingite Catechisms (§ 19).

Unitarian Catechisms (§ 20).

Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Catechisms (§ 21).

The Greek Church (§ 22).

Catechisms are written or printed summaries of the principal doctrines of the Christian faith, intended for the instruction of the unlearned and the young. These formal aids to systematic instruction are of comparatively modern growth. For the system of the primitive Church, See Catechumenate.


I. The Middle Ages:

1. Need of Catechetical Instruction.

The beginnings of modern catechetical instruction, as to the development of which see Catechesis, Catechetics, are found principally in the Germanic Churches. Here, as in primitive days and for the same reason, it originally addressed itself chiefly to adults. Sometimes whole tribes had been converted to Christianity in which the individuals did not possess the most elementary knowledge of the Christian faith, and it was necessary to impart by further teaching what had been neglected at the time of baptism. The Anglo-Saxon Church, and afterward Charlemagne, under the influence of his Anglo-Saxon adviser Alcuin, decreed that every baptized person should know by heart the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. But the rising generation was not left altogether out of view. There was from the beginning an indefinite feeling among the Teutonic Churches that the Church, by its acceptance of infant baptism, was bound to care for the instruction of the children thus brought into its fold. It was naturally impossible, in view of the widely scattered parishes and the necessity of instruction being almost exclusively oral, to undertake the actual teaching; but the need was to some extent indirectly met by the requirement that no sponsor should present a child for baptism without being able to recite the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, and that sponsors should teach the same articles to their godchildren.

2. Influence of Confession.

Another influence that helped to enforce a certain amount of Christian knowledge was the system of regular confession, especially after an annual confession was made obligatory by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. With the act of confession was usually connected a recitation of the articles which the sponsors were supposed to have impressed upon their godchildren. The system further led to an enlargement of the scope of regular instruction. As the Creed and the Lord's Prayer hardly formed a suitable basis for the confession of sins, there originated lists of the sins which required ecclesiastical penance; and these, with corresponding lists of virtues, were often ordered to be learned by heart; in this connection the decalogue was redeemed from oblivion. It became a regular practise to preach sermons on the Ten Commandments in Lent, the most usual time for confession; and thus catechetical preaching developed. The reformers of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, such as Gerson and Geiler von Kaisersberg, were strong advocates of these sermons on the foundations of Christian doctrine. The Ave Maria was included among the articles to be learned, and came to take equal rank with the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. The tendency was to enlarge the material, though some attempts were made, on the other hand, to condense it; thus Johann Wolf of Frankfort showed that all the articles used in confession could be traced to the decalogue. He also laid special emphasis upon the religious instruction of youth in a period when the councils of the Church paid no particular attention to it as a distinct branch of church work.

3. Pre-Reformation Catechisms.

The beginning of a reformation in this respect was the work of humanists like Jakob Wimpheling and Erasmus. Colet in England drew up a manual of religious instruction under the title of Catechyzon for the boys of St. Paul's School, which Erasmus put into Latin hexameters, thereby perhaps giving the impulse to Petrus Tritonius to produce a similar work. Outside, however, of such efforts, which were rather scholastic than ecclesiastical, catechisms in the modern sense, or compilations of the principal articles of faith for children, were practically unknown to the medieval Church.

There were, indeed, such compilations for the clergy, which with the invention of printing began to circulate widely among the laity. The Tafel des christlichen Lebens (c. 1480) is in more ways than one a direct predecessor of Luther's smaller catechism, but a comparison shows the characteristic difference between the medieval and the Evangelical Church. In the Catholic table are found numerous pieces without any explanatory word, sacred formulas that were frequently repeated without comprehension; in Luther's catechism appear the five main articles, with the emphasis laid upon the explanation. Great importance was attached to the religious instruction of youth by the Bohemian Brethren and the Waldenses. The Interrogacions menors of the Waldenses date from the end of the fifteenth, or at least from the beginning of the sixteenth, century. The Kinderfragen of the Bohemian Brethren are still older, since they served as a model for the Interrogacions.

II. The Post-Reformation Period:

From the beginning of the Reformation care was taken to provide for the religious instruction of youth. Almost simultaneously the two places where the movement had its origin established institutions which were followed as models; in 1521 Johann Agricola was appointed catechist at Wittenberg, and in 1522 systematic instruction of youth in the Christian faith was established in Zurich in place of the Roman confirmation.

1. Early Lutheran Catechisms.

Luther's popular expositions of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer, especially his Kurze Form and his Betbüchlein, are not catechisms in the proper sense of the word, but rather prepared the way for them. Several adaptations of the Kinderfragen of the Bohemian Brethren, German translations of Melanchthon's Enchiridion and Scholia, and numerous other compilations of the Christian truth adapted for children show the demand for an Evangelical text-book. Toward the end of 1524 Justus Jonas and Agricola were ordered to write such a book; they did not execute their commission, but toward the end of 1525 there was published the Büchlein für die Laien und Kinder (possibly by Bugenhagen), which provisionally at least supplied the want. About the same time Luther urged, in his Deutsche Messe, the introduction of religious instruction for children. His appeal called forth numerous expositions of the articles of faith, and in many places systematic teaching was begun. In 1529 Luther published his Smaller Catechism 444(sometimes known as Enchiridion), and with it the material of the catechism was firmly established for the future (see Luther's Two Catechisms). In some places, especially under the influence of the Nuremberg Kinderpredigten (1533), the power of the keys was added as a sixth article, and is still used as such in some of the churches of Germany.

2. Gradual Supremacy of Luther's Smaller Catechism.

At first Luther's catechism was merely one among several others, though it was almost universally adopted in both parts of Saxony, in Brandenburg, and in Pomerania. Apart from manuals produced under the influence of the Swiss theology, like those of Leo Jud and Bullinger, there are others which follow Luther's doctrine, among them Kaspar Löwer's Unterricht des Glaubens (1529), Johann Brenz's Fragestücke (1535), which is still used in Württemberg, Butzer's catechisms for Strasburg (1534 and 1537), and others. It was only by degrees that Luther's work assumed the supremacy over other catechisms of the same tendency, until it finally attained the importance of a standard of doctrine. It was treated as such for the first time in 1561 in the articles of Lüneburg, where it had its place beside the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, and the Schmalkald Articles (see Corpus Docrinæ). It attained a still stronger position in contradistinction to the Heidelberg Catechism. The latter, which from the first was considered in the light of a confession of faith, was compiled in 1563 by Olevianus and Ursinus from the catechisms of Leo Jud and Bullinger, from the Emden catechism of 1554, from Calvin's catechism of 1542 (see below), and from two catechisms used among Low-German emigrant churches of the sixteenth century, and was soon introduced in all countries where the Reformed faith prevailed. In 1580 the Smaller Catechism was included in the Book of Concord, and took rank everywhere as the corresponding standard of Lutheran doctrine. While the Heidelberg Catechism, as the more comprehensive work, retained everywhere its old form, Luther's Enchiridion formed frequently only the basis for fuller expositions, in connection, e.g., with Brenz's Fragestücke of 1535 and a booklet printed in 1549 at Erfurt under Luther's name, though really compiled by Johann Lang, entitled Fragestücke fur die, so zum Sacrament gehen wöllen.

3. Early Catechisms Based on Luther's Work.

No little influence on the development of a traditional form for catechisms was exercised by the Latin ones prepared for the Latin schools. The material of these, based partly upon the Loci of Melanchthon, grew to such an extent that they almost formed regular dogmatic works. Among the catechisms which originated from such sources on the basis of Luther's Encheiridion the Kleiner Catechismus D. M. Lutheri, by Nicolaus Herco (1554) shows a fairly definite form already assumed by the development. A wider circulation was attained by the Fragestücke of Bartholomæus Rosinus (1580). The first regular catechism with expositions was the Goldene Kleinod of Johann Tetelbach (1568); and the first of such to receive official sanction was the Nuremberg Kinderlehrbüchlein. (1628).

4. Orthodox and Pietistic Catechisms.

During this whole period catechetical instruction consisted of nothing more than the memorizing by the children of the catechisms. Further explanations were left to the catechetical sermons which gradually became more common, modeled after Luther's Larger Catechism and the Nuremberg Kinderpredigten of 1533. Frequently it was decided that the children should be questioned on these sermons. On the other hand, efforts were early made to guard children against a mechanical memorizing by making the text intelligible to them. A school edition of the Heidelberg Catechism (1610) gives four rules in this respect; (1) difficult passages are to be explained; (2) a long paragraph is to be condensed by the pupil; (3) the text of the catechism is to be analyzed by the teacher, putting questions which the children have to answer from the text; (4) the catechism is to be confirmed and proved by Bible texts and stories. The method laid down in these rules dominated catechetical instruction until a late time in the eighteenth century. Orthodox and pietistic catechists agreed in the use of the analytical method; but the latter emphasized more strongly the cultivation of the heart, and in formulating the questions and answers of the catechism laid stress upon the practical side of life, as may be seen from Philipp Jakob Spener's Tabulæ catecheticæ (Frankfort, 1683). The two principal pietistic catechisms are Spener's Erklärung der christlichen Lehre (1677) and the Dresden Kreuz-Katechismus (1688). But even Pietism could not hinder the gradual degeneration of catechetical instruction into mere formalism.

5. Rationalistic Catechisms of the Eighteenth Century.

A fresh impulse was received from the new methods introduced by the rationalist school. Starting from rationalistic premises, Johann Bernhard Basedow demanded in his Abhandlung vom Unterricht der Jugend in der Religion (Lübeck, 1764) that children should not be forced to memorize anything but what they already understood, and that they should be left to acquire new knowledge only by their own thinking, with the help of instructive questions. Basedow laid down these views in his catechism for two grades entitled Grundriss der Religion, welche durch Nachdenken und Bibelforschen erkannt wird (1764). This, which gradually became known as the Socratic method, was developed further by Karl Friedrich Bahrdt in his Philanthropinischer Erziehungsplan (Frankfort, 1776) and confirmed from the philosophy of Kant by Johann Friedrich Christian Graeffe in his Vollständiges Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Katechetik (Göttingen, 1799). Its most prominent representatives were Johann Peter Miller, Johann Christian Dolz, and especially Gustav Friedrich Dinter. With these new ideas new manuals appeared which either dropped altogether the old catechisms based on the articles of faith or relegated them to an appendix. Johann Gottfried Herder attempted 445to explain the smaller catechism of Luther according to the new principles (Weimar, 1800). The weak point of the Socratic method is its inseparable connection with rationalist theology. Pestalozzi criticized this method because it tried to elicit from children what is not in them. Schleiermacher pointed out that the Socratic method ignored the revelation of the Christian religion and its history. Marheinecke, Nitzsch, Kraussold, Harms, and Hüffell followed him is opposition to it. The modern method of catechizing has retained from the Socratic method its feature of development; it does not, however, consider human reason and natural religion as the basis of this development, but rather the documents of revelation and the history of the Church.

6. Modern German Lutheran Catechisms.

The catechisms used in the different territories of Germany are too numerous to mention. In the territories of the Evangelical Union as well as among the orthodox Lutherans the Smaller Catechism of Luther forms the basis of instruction. But in accordance with their peculiar doctrines the Unionists have made concessions to the Reformed teachings, so that their manuals represent more or less a compromise between Luther's Smaller Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism. The chief country of the Union is Prussia, and here the consistories in agreement with their respective provincial synods have selected a number of compendiums to be used in instruction. Manuals of the same sort are found in the other Unionistic territories, Anhalt, Baden, Hesse, Waldeck, Hanau, the Rhenish Palatinate, Nassau, and Birkenfeld.

In the distinctively Lutheran territories Luther's Smaller Catechism is used everywhere, in Hesse in connection with the so-called Hessische Fragestücke, in Württemberg with Brenz's catechism. The text is at present formulated after the revision proposed by the Evangelical conference held at Eisenach in 1882. In the selection of aids to be used besides the text a certain freedom exists in Saxe-Coburg, in the Lutheran Church of Alsace-Lorraine, in Hamburg, in the Lutheran Church of the province of Hanover, and in Frankfort-on-the-Main. In certain places besides the text of the Smaller Catechism are mostly Spruchbücher, that is, collections of Bible texts and hymns. The use of such books for the explanation of Luther's catechism has been made obligatory in the kingdom of Saxony, in Altenburg, Meiningen, the principalities of Reuse, in Sleswick-Holstein and Eutin, in Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe. Besides the Spruchbücher, various expositions of Luther's catechisms have been introduced, the use of which has been made obligatory in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Lübeck, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Brunswick, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, the former county of Schaumburg, Weimar, Bavaria, and in the Free Lutheran Church of Prussia.

7. Modern German Reformed Catechisms.

As regards the Reformed territories, the Heidelberg Catechism is used in the Reformed Church of Lippe-Detmold, in the Reformed congregations of East Friesland, in the former county of Bentheim, in the synodal district of Bovenden (near Göttingen ), and in the confederation of Reformed Churches in Lower Saxony. In the Reformed territories of the consistorial district of Cassel (Lower Hesse) and in the synodal district of Hamburg the Hessischer Landeskatechismus, a Reformed revision of Luther's Smaller Catechism with the Hessische Fragestücke inserted, is used. In Bremen and in the Reformed Church of Alsace-Lorraine no special manual for religious instruction is prescribed.

8. Switzerland.

In Switzerland there appeared at St. Gallen in 1527 a compilation of the Kinderfragen of the Bohemian Brethren. About the same time Œcolampadius published his Kinderbericht for Basel. In 1534 Leo Jud published his catechism for Zurich. An epitome of it followed in the next year, which in 1598 was declared obligatory to the exclusion of the catechisms of Heinrich Bullinger (1559) and Burckhardt Leemann (1583), and was introduced also in Grisons and Schaffhausen. In 1536 Kaspar Grossmann (Megander) revised Jud's catechism for Bern; as in the course of time it was made to serve the views of Zwingli, it had to be revised anew, and in this form became known as the Bern Catechism. These old catechisms were either superseded or influenced by the Heidelberg Catechism. The Zurich Catechism of 1609, the work of Marcus Bäumlein, originated in a combination of the Heidelberg Catechism with those used in Zurich. It was introduced in different cantons and used until 1839. Under the influence of rationalism most of the cantons adopted new catechisms between 1830 and 1850. Basel took the lead in 1832, then followed Zurich with a new catechism (1839). In French Switzerland Calvin's Catechismus Genevensis (1542) was used at the beginning. In the canton of Vaud it was replaced in 1552 by a translation of the Bern Catechism, which gave way to that of Heidelberg in the eighteenth century. In 1734 there appeared in Geneva the small catechism of Jean Frédéric Osterwald, which, after revision, was also adopted in Vaud. About 1620 Stephen Gabriel, pastor at Ilanz, compiled a catechism for the Romance districts which remained in use even after a translation of Osterwald's catechism had appeared. But entire freedom exists as to the choice of religious manuals in Switzerland. In many cases the individual preachers write their own books of instruction.

9. Austria-Hungary.

Since the edict of toleration of Joseph II., the Lutheran Church in Austria has used Luther's Smaller Catechism and the Reformed Church the Heidelberg Catechism. According to the constitution of the Evangelical Church in Austria, all further guides in religious instruction have to be sanctioned by the Evangelical Supreme Church Council in Vienna, and approved by the ministry of ecclesiastical affairs and public instruction. Some of the approved manuals are, in German, Buchrucker's and Ernesti's editions of Luther's Smaller Catechism, in Bohemian that of Molmar. Among those approved for the Reformed Church 446may be mentioned the enlarged German edition of the Heidelberg Catechism by Franz (Vienna, 1858), and the Bohemian by Von Tardy (Prague, 1867), and by Vesely (1885). In Hungary and Transylvania the same conditions exist as in Austria.

10. Slavic Countries.

In the Baltic provinces of Russia an Esthonian translation of the Smaller Catechism seems to have appeared as early as in 1553. In 1586 a Lettish translation by J. Rivius was printed at Königsberg. It was revised in 1689 by E. Glück and used a long time among the Lettish congregations of Livonia. Another by H. Adolphi appeared in 1685 and found a large circulation in Courland. In accordance with a resolution of the Synod of Livonia and Courland in 1898, a new Lettish standard text has been established (Riga, 1898), which has supplanted all earlier translations. An Esthonian exposition of the Smaller Catechism was introduced in Esthonia in 1673 as the official catechism, and used almost exclusively until 1866. The catechism of Martin Körber (1864), modeled after the official catechism of Neustrelitz, has found a considerable circulation. The Germans in the Baltic provinces also produced numerous interpretations of their own; Jodocus Holst, Einfältige Auslegung des Kleinen Katechismus Luthers (Riga, 1596); Immanuel von Essen, Christliche Katechismusübung (1781); Werbatus, Dr. Martin Luthers Kleiner Katechismus (1895); and many others. For the Lutheran congregations of Poland there has been recently approved Maly Katechizm Doktora Marcina Lutra (Lublin, 1900). It is an exposition of the Smaller Catechism by Alexander Schönaich, preacher at Lublin. An official text of the Smaller Catechism has been published for the Russian-speaking Lutherans (St. Petersburg, 1865).

11. Scandinavian Countries.

The first catechetical writings in Sweden were a working-over of Luther's Betbüchlein, a translation of the revision of the Kinderfragen of the Bohemian Brethren published at Magdeburg in 1524, and a translation of the Handbüchlein für junge Christen by Johann Toltz. The Smaller Catechism was translated by Laurentius Petri into Swedish perhaps as early as 1548; the oldest extant copy dates from 1572. 1n 1595 the Smaller Catechism was officially introduced, but came into general use only after the Church Order of 1686. An official translation of Luther's Larger Catechism dates from 1746. The exposition of the Smaller by Olaf Swebelius, which had been in use for some time, was revised in 1811 by Archbishop J. Axel Lindblom and introduced as an official catechism. In 1843 a new revision appeared, but in 1878 the Doktor Mårten Luthers Lilla Katekes med kort utveckling, stadfäst af konungen den 11. Oktober 1878 took its place and is still used. In 1532 the Smaller Catechism was translated into Danish by Jorgen Jensen Sadolin. In 1537 there appeared almost simultaneously two further translations, Den lille danske Catechismus by Franz Wormodson and Luthers lille Katekismus by Petrus Palladius. The latter was republished in 1538 as Enchiridion sive Manuale ut vocant and officially recognized. H. P. Petersen edited the Latin text of the Smaller Catechism side by side with a Danish translation for the use of schools (1608). In 1627 he used the Danish text for a manual destined for popular instruction. The text deviates frequently from the original, and these variants have crept into other compilations modeled after it. It retained its authority in Denmark until 1813, in Norway until 1843. The standard work for Norway is at present Dr. M. Luthers Lille Katekismus (9th ed., Christiania, 1897), and for Denmark C. F. Balslev's Luthers Katekismua meden kort Forklaring (Copenhagen, 1899).

12. Holland.

In the Dutch Reformed Church absolute freedom exists in the choice of guides to be used in religious instruction. Besides the Geneva and Heidelberg catechisms, Abraham Hellenbroek's Vorbeeld der goddelyke Waarheden has been used.

13. England.

The Established Church of England uses to-day the catechism from the Book of Common Prayer, with but slight changes from the original form of 1552. An exposition of it by John Palmer (London, 1894) shows the text of the original catechism in prominent type and provides each individual paragraph with an introduction. The Congregationalists have also adopted the catechism of the Established Church, but besides this they use a manual by Samuel Palmer, A Catechism for Protestant Dissenters (London, 1772, 29th ed., 1890), which contains a brief history of non-conformity and treats of the reasons for it. In the Sunday-schools the Congregationalists use a catechism by J. Hilton Stowell revised by A. M. Fairbairn (1892). The Presbyterian Church of England and the Church of Scotland have accepted the Westminster Catechism as the basis of their instruction. It is divided into the doctrines we are to believe and the duties we are to perform (The Moral Law; Faith and Repentance; Sacraments; Prayer). The form of religious instruction chiefly cultivated in England is the Sunday-school, for which the Sunday-school Union furnishes manuals. Dr. Watt's first and second catechisms have also found a large circulation; the former contains a short survey of the doctrines of Christian salvation and especially a catechism on Scriptural names, the latter an interpretation of the decalogue and information on the sacraments and prayers. Before the catechism of the Book of Common Prayer appeared, Luther's Smaller Catechism was used for several years in England; at the instance of Cranmer the Nuremberg Kinderpredigten which interpret it was in 1548 translated into English under the title A Short Introduction into the Christian Religion.

14. France.

In the French Reformed Church Calvin's catechism of 1542 was at one time almost universally used, later with Osterwald's smaller catechism, but has now been superseded by Bonnefon's Nouveau catéchisme élémentaire (14th ed., Alais, 1900) and Decoppet's Catéchisme populaire (Paris). Less popular are Babut's Cours de religion chrétienne (6th ed., 1897) and Nyegaard's Catéchisme à l’usage des Églises evangéliques (13th ed., 1900). The Free Church uses the same catechisms. In the "Église 447de la Confession d’Augsbourg" Luther's Smaller Catechism has always been in use. The Petit catéchisme de Luther (Chateauroux) has added to Luther's text Bible texts and stories and renders the Ten Commandments exactly as they are found in Ex. xx. 1–17, combining the ninth and tenth commandments and treating the prohibition of the worship of images as a separate commandment.

15. Italy.

As a result of the Evangelical movement in Italy, there originated about 1535 the "Christian Instruction for Children" by Juan de Valdés, apparently first written in Spanish, but published first in Italian and then translated into various languages (cf. the polyglot edition of E. Böhmer under the title Instruction cristiana para los niños por Juan de Valdés, Bonn, 1883). To-day the "Free Church" uses Il catechismo ossia sunto della dottrina cristiana secondo la parola di Dio, by G. P. Meille (Florence, 6th ed., 1895). Of a similar nature are the catechisms used by the Waldenses, Catechismo della Chiesa evangelica Valdese o Manuale d’istruzione cristiana ad uso dei catecumeni di detta Chiesa (1866) and Catechismo evangelico ossia sunto della dottrina christiana (1895).

16. American Lutheran Catechisms.

The Lutherans in the United States use Luther's Smaller Catechism, which exists in many German, English, and German-English editions. In the Synodical Conference the Dresden Kreuzkatechismus of 1688 has a large circulation, in the Missouri Synod Dr. M. Luthers Kleiner Katechismus in Frage und Antwort gründlich ausgelegt by J. K. Dietrich (St. Louis, Mo.) and a condensed edition of the same are much used; the former also in English. In the Ohio Synod originated Der Kleine Catechismus Dr. M. Luthers mit erklärenden und beweisenden Bibelstellen, also in English (Allentown, Pa.). It contains besides the Smaller Catechism the "Order of Salvation," that is, a survey of the whole contents of Christian doctrine, an analysis of the catechism formed like Spener's catechetical tables, and the Württemberg Konferenz-Examen, which is an epitome of the Kinderlehre introduced in 1682 in Württemberg. Prof. M. Loy, Prof. F. W. Stellhorn, and Rev. C. H. Rohe wrote an exposition of the Smaller Catechism on the basis of Dietrich's, under the title Dr. M. Luthers Kleiner Katechismus, in Frage und Antwort ausgelegt (Columbus, O., 1882). On the basis of Caspari's catechetical exposition, W. J. Mann and G. F. Krotel, of the Synod of Pennsylvania, published Luthers Kleiner Katechismus in Fragen und Antworten zum Gebrauch in Kirche, Schule and Haus (Allentown, 1863). The General Council uses also a catechism which contains the Württemberg Konferenz-Examen as an appendix. It appeared under the title Dr. M. Luthers Kleiner Katechismus mit Erklärung für die evangelisch-lutherlische Kirche in den Vereinigten Staaten, also in English (New York). A recent addition explains Luther's text by Bible texts and stories—Luthers Kleiner Katechismus mit Bibelsprüchen (Philadelphia). The German-Evangelical synod, which is akin to the Evangelical Union in Germany, has published its own official catechism, Kleiner evangelischer Katechismus, also an edition with German and English on parallel pages (St. Louis). It is a free revision of the Smaller Catechism, differing from it especially in the doctrine of the sacraments. The German Reformed Church uses a catechism prepared in 1862 by Philip Schaff and entitled Christlicher Katechismus: ein Leitfaden zum Religionsunterricht in Schule und Haus (Philadelphia). These rather comprehensive books are intended for the school and especially for young people to be confirmed. In the numerous Sunday-schools the children are frequently instructed only in Biblical stories. A catechism intended for that purpose is The Little Lamb's Catechism by J. R. Lauritzen (Knoxville, Tenn.). The same author wrote another manual which has become very popular—Dr. M. Luther's Kleiner Katechismus, also in English (Knoxville, Tenn.). The German-Evangelical Synod possesses an excellent manual for the instruction of Sunday-schools in Kurze Katechismuslehre (St. Louis, 1899), which extends its material over three grades and is considered a preparation for the catechism proper.

17. The Moravians and Bohemian Brethren.

In the German Moravian congregations the department for churches and schools under the direction of the Unitas Fratrum has reserved to itself the right of selecting manuals to be used is instruction. Luther's Smaller Catechism is chiefly used, in some places also Hauptinhalt der christlichen Heilslehre zum Gebrauch bei dem Unterricht der Jugend in den evangelischen Brüdergemeinden (8th ed., Gnadau, 1891), compiled by Samuel Lieberkühn in 1769. Among the Bohemian Brethren the Katechismus der christlichen Lehre zum Gebrauch bei dem Unterricht der Jugend in den evangelischen Brüdergemeinden (Dauba) has become the standard. It is based upon a catechism written by L. T. Reichel for the American congregations of Brethren. Among the earlier catechisms which are out of use now may be mentioned Zinzendorf's works—;his strange production Lautere Milch der Lehre von Jesu Christo (1723) and his Gewisser Grund christlicher Lehre nach Anleitung des einfachen Catechismi seel. Herrn Dr. Luthers (1725).

18. Methodist Catechisms.

Among the German-speaking Methodists of the United States the only books used are the manuals written at the order of the General Conference in 1868 by Wilhelm Nast in Cincinnati, especially with the aid of Schaff's catechism, Der grössere [kleinere] Katechismus für die deutschen Gemeinden der Bischöflichen Methodistenkirche (Cincinnati). The English Methodists use A Brief Catechism for the Use of Methodists Compiled by Order of the Conference (London) and The Catechism of the Wesleyan Methodists (ib.). The latter work consists really of three catechisms, arranged in gradation for pupils of different ages.

19. Baptist and Irvingite Catechisms.

The manuals used among the Baptists in Germany are Rode's Christlicher Religionsunterricht für die reifere Jugend (Hamburg, 1882) and Kaiser's Leitfaden für den Religionsunterricht, which first appeared in English under the title of Prize Catechism. Besides these, Weert's Katechismus, ein 448Leitfaden für den Religionsunterricht (Cassel, 1899) is used. [Several catechisms were prepared by English Particular Baptists in the seventeenth century: A Soul Searching Catechism, by Christopher Blackwood (1653); Catechism for Children, by Henry Jersey (1673); The Child's Instructor: a New and Easy Primer, by Benjamin Krach (1664). The General Assembly of the Particular Baptists at its session in London in June, 1693, requested William Collins to draw up a catechism "containing the substance of the Christian religion, for the instruction of children and servants." It has been reproduced in authentic form in Confessions of Faith, and other Documents, edited for the Hanserd Knollys Society, by E. B. Underhill (London, 1854). Among the Baptists of the United States in the South and Southwest Question Books (four series) by A. C. Dayton, and a Catechism by J. A. Broadus, have been widely used.

A H. N.]

The catechism of the Irvingites contains three chapters; the first two represent practically the Prayer-book catechism; the third part treats of the doctrines peculiar to the Irvingites, the doctrine of the Church and its offices.

[For the catechisms used in most Presbyterian communions see Westminster Standards.]

20. Unitarian Catechisms.

The English Unitarians use especially two small manuals—Ten Lessons in Religion by Charles Beard (London, 2d ed., 1897) and A Catechism of Religion by H. W. Hawkes. While the former contains only an exposition of the Lord's Prayer and instruction on the Bible, the latter treats in fifty-two questions of the most important terms in Christian faith and interprets them in the Unitarian sense. The latter is in some respects dependent on An Evangelical Free Church Catechism for Use in Home and School (London), which is used by Unitarians, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and some smaller denominations.

21. Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Catechisms.

The Roman Catholic Church learned from the Evangelicals its solicitude for the religious instruction of youth. Numerous manuals appeared as imitations of Evangelical catechisms. The catechism of John Dietenberger, a very popular book, was in some passages copied verbatim from Luther's. But all the catechisms previously published were far surpassed in popularity by the Summa doctrinæ christianæ, per quæstiones tradita et ad capitum rudiorum accommodata (1556) by the Jesuit Peter Canisius. It forms an epitome of his Summa doctrinæ christianæ of 1555 and was translated into all European languages. It was used even in India and remained for about two centuries the principal catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1559 Canisius enlarged it under the title Parvus Catechismus catholicorum, which became the model for numerous expositions of the Summa. In 1566 appeared the Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini ad Parochos Pii V. Pontificis Maximi iussu editus, intended as a homiletical and catechetical handbook for the clergy; but the influence of the Jesuits was so great that it could not compete with the catechisms of Canisius; and even those of Bellarmin, which appeared in 1598, did not attain equal popularity with them. The Roman Catholic books of instruction, like the Evangelical catechisms, did not escape the influence of rationalism, at first in method and then even to some extent in contents. A return to the stricter teaching of the Church made itself felt in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Since 1847 J. Deharbe's catechisms have been generally recognized as standard works. They include Katholischer Katechismus für Stadt- und Landschulen (Regensburg, 1847); and Kleiner katholischer Katechismus zunächst für solche Landschulen, welche nur während des Sommer-oder Wintersemesters besucht werden (1847). In the United States the Catholic Church provides manuals of catechetical instruction, such as those edited by W. Faerber in German and English (St. Louis, 1897 and often), and Catechisms of Catholic Teaching (New York, n.d.).

The Old Catholic Church has two official catechisms, the Katholische Katechismus, herausgegeben im Auftrage der altkatholischen Synode (Bonn) and Leitfaden für den katholischen Religionsunterricht an höheren Schulen, herausgegeben im Auftrage der altkatholischen Synode (Bonn, 1877).

22. The Greek Church.

In 1721 the synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decreed that three small manuals for the instruction of youth and the common people should be made, one on the principal doctrines of faith and on the decalogue, a second on the special duties of each class, and a third containing sermons on the principal doctrines, virtues, and vices. On the strength of this order there appeared a book entitled "First Instruction of Youth, Containing a Primer and a Short Exposition of the Decalogue, the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, by order of his Majesty Peter L, emperor of all the Russias," which is probably the first real catechism in the Greek Church. The catechism used at the present time, the "Complete Christian Catechism of the Ortho dox Catholic Eastern Church," first published in 1839, originated under the influence of a manual composed by Jeromonach Platon in 1765 for the heir to the throne, the Grand Duke Paul Petrovitch, which is influenced in the arrangement of material by the Confessio orthodoxa of Peter Mogilas (1643). Like the latter, it groups its material under the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love. After an introduction on revelation, Holy Scripture, and catechetical teaching, it begins with an exposition of the Nicene Creed, followed by the Lord's Prayer and the Beatitudes, the union between faith and love, and an exposition of the Ten Commandments. The book closes with the application of the doctrine of faith and of piety.

(Ferdinand Cohrs.)

Bibliography: The works under Catechesis, Catechetics; Catechumenate; Luther's Two Catechisms; and Heidelberg Catechism should be consulted. Collections of early catechisms are made in Monumenta Germaniæ pædagogica, ed. C. Kehrbach, vols. 4, 20–33, 39, Berlin, 1887–1907, and in Katechetische Handbibliothek, ed. F. Walk, Kempten, 1891–1905 (containing not only catechisms but 449works on catechetics). On the catechisms of the Middle Ages consult: G. Langemack, Historia catechetica, vol. i., Stralsund, 1729; J. Geffeken, Der Bilderkatechismus des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts und die katechetischen Hauptstücke in dieser Zeit bis auf Luther, vol. i., Leipsic, 1855; H. Brück, Der religiöse Unterricht . . . in Deutschland, Mainz, 1876; P. Göbl, Geschichte der Katechese im Abendlande vom Verfall des Katechumenats bis zum Ende des Mittelalters, Kempten, 1880; F. Probst, Geschichte der katholischen Katechese, Breslau, 1887; F. Falk, Der Unterricht des Volks in den katechetischen Hauptstücken am Ende des Mittelalters, in Historisch-politische Blätter, cviii (1891), 553 sqq., 682 sqq., cix (1892) 81 sqq., 721 sqq.; P. Bahlmann, Deutschlands katholische Katechismen bis zum Ende des sechszehnten Jahrhunderts, Münster, 1894; Hauck, KD, vols. i.–iii.

For collections of catechisms in post-Reformation times in Germany consult, besides the collections of Kehrbach and Walk, ut sup.: J. Hartmann, Aelteste katechetische Denkmale der evangelischen Kirche, Stuttgart, 1844; F. W. Bodemann, Katechetische Denkmale der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, Harburg, 1861; G. Kawerau, Zwei älteste Katechismen der lutherischen Reformation, Halle, 1890. For a bibliography of newer literature consult: F. Schneider, Kritischer Wegweiser durch die Litteratur des Konfirmandenunterrichts und der öffentlichen Christenlehre, Stuttgart, 1899. The history of catechisms is treated in: G. Langemack, ut sup., vols. ii.–iii., Stralssund, 1730–40; K. J. Löschke, Die religiöse Bildung der Jugend und der sittliche Zustand der Schulen im 16. Jahrhundert, Breslau, 1846; F. R. Ehrenfeuchter, Zur Geschichte des Katechismus. Göttingen, 1857: K. Neumann, Der evangelische Religionsunterricht im Zeitalter der Reformation, Berlin, 1899.

On other than German lands consult: S. Hess, Geschichte des Zürcher-Katechismus, Zurich, 1811; Tercentenary Monument. In Commemoration of the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism, Philadelphia, 1863; C. A. Toren, Der evangelische Religions-Unterricht in Deutschland, Grossbritannien and Dänemark, Gotha, 1865; H. Bonar, Catechisms of the Scottish Reformation, London, 1866; A. T. Mitchell, Catechisms of the Second Reformation . . . with Historical Introduction, London, 1886; A. C. Bang, Dokumenter og studier vedrörende den lutherske katekismus' historie in Nordens kirker, 2 vols., Christiania, 1893–99; I. Moschakes, Catechism of the Orthodox Eastern Church, London, 1894; J. Poynet, The Real Reformation Catechism of 1553, ib. 1894; W. Eames, Early New England Catechisms. A bibliographical Account of some Catechisms published before 1800, Worcester, 1898.

The literature on Roman Catholic catechisms is very voluminous; the following may be consulted: The Catechism of John Hamilton, Oxford, 1844; C. Moufang, Die Mainzer Katechismen von der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkunst bis zum Ende des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, Mainz, 1877; Commentaire sur le catéchisme des provinces ecclésiastiques de Quebec, Montréal, Ottawa, Montreal, 1897; F. X. Thalhofer, Entwickelung des katholischen Katechismus in Deutschland von Canisius bis Deharbe, Freiburg, 1899; F. Spirago, The Catechism Explained, New York,1899; T. E. Cox, Biblical Treasury of the Catechism, ib. 1900; T. L. Kinkead, Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, ib. 1902; J. Perry, Explanation of the Catechism, St. Louis, 1902.


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