Jakob Pier Mynster

1775-1854. Danish bishop. From Pietistic circles, he turned his back on them in his youth, adopting the theological and political radicalism of the so- called Enlightenment. Afterward the influence of Kant and German Romanticism made him skeptical of rationalism. In 1803 he had a spiritual experience that led to personal conversion and acceptance of the Christian faith. He developed into an eminent preacher, attracting a large section of the “cultural élite,” and through his works influencing still greater numbers. He was rector of Copenhagen Cathedral (1811-28), personal chaplain to the king from 1828, and bishop of Zealand from 1834 until his death.

By most of his contemporaries Mynster was regarded as the great central figure in Danish church life, standing between rationalists on one side, revivalists on the other. Though individualistic, he was a conservative, authoritarian champion of the state church in opposition to N.F.S. Grundtvig* and the Pietistic conventicle Christians. He even introduced compulsory baptism of Baptist children. He with H.L. Martensen* and the national church as a whole was later attacked fiercely by S. Kierkegaard.*