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Hans Egede

1686-1758. “Apostle of Greenland.” Born in Norway, he became a pastor in Vagan in N Norway. Deeply concerned about the descendants of Norwegian settlers on Greenland, of whom nothing was known for about two centuries, and aware of the fact that the inhabitants were pagans who spoke an unknown language, he decided to go there as a missionary. He eventually got the king's permission to go to Greenland and arrived there in 1721. He learned the difficult language of the Eskimos, fought the witch doctors, and evangelized the people. From 1736 he lived in Copenhagen, supervising the mission work. From 1740 he was titular bishop of Greenland. Egede's publications are important contributions to the theory of missions. Influenced by H. Müller, P.J. Spener, and C. Gerber, he believed in the responsibility of the church to bring the Gospel to the pagans. His sons Paul and Hans carried on the missionary work of their father. Paul wrote a dictionary and a grammar of the language of the Greenland Eskimos and translated the NT into that language.