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Pietism - History, Significance Of Pietism, Bibliography

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Like the Enlightenment, Pietism has produced an extremely diverse body of historical scholarship, with opinions ranging from a denial of its existence to precise nationally, geographically, or chronologically defined variants, as well as views that see Pietism essentially as identical with the history of modern Protestantism. Such divergent opinion has led to the introduction of categories such as reformed, classical, enthusiastic, and radical Pietism. The picture often becomes more complex when the scope of Pietism is expanded to include other religions such as Judaism, where Hasidism appears at least on the surface as a similar phenomenon. But even within Christianity, apparently similar movements such as French Jansenism or Spanish Quietism emerged almost at the same time.

The term Pietist, created during the seventeenth century, served initially as a derogatory term in reference to people who exhibited excessively spiritual and devout behavior. Most were followers of the German Lutheran reformer Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705), who organized Bible study gatherings, the so-called collegia pietatis (colleges of piety), in addition to the regular church services, which indicates how the term Pietist was often used interchangeably with the term Spenerianer (Spenerian). But in 1689 Joachim Feller (1628–1691), professor of poetry at the University of Leipzig, used the term in a positive way by including it in a funeral poem to stress the deceased person's interest in the study of the Bible, his saintly life, and his true devoutness.

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