Johann Arndt

1555-1621. German Lutheran mystic. After studying theology at Helmstedt, Wittenberg, Strasbourg, and Basle, he became in 1583 minister at Padeborn, but an argument with the lay rulers over the place of pictures and ceremonies in the church caused him to leave. Later he served churches at Quedlinburg, Brunswick, and Eisleben. In 1611 he became general superintendent of the church at Celle, where he remained until his death. Here he exercised an important influence on the development of the Lüneburg church system. His fame rests upon his writings, especially Four Books Concerning True Christianity (1606-9). Arndt emphasized mysticism in his interpretations of the Christian life by asserting that orthodox belief is not enough to attain true Christianity, but moral purification made possible by righteous living and communion with God is also necessary. Though remaining within the Lutheran Church he nevertheless helped prepare the way for the Enlightenment* and for Pietism.*