Johann Friedrich Rock

1678-1749. German religious leader. Born at Oberwälden, Württemberg, of poor parents, he became a harnessmaker, but in 1707 underwent a mystical experience, was “seized with inspiration,” and became a prophet or “vessel” of the ecstatic communities of the True Inspired, closely related to, if not descended from, earlier French prophetic movements. He led his sect together with Eberhard Ludwig Gruber till 1728, and thereafter alone. A powerful teacher and leader, he lost many followers through personal quarrels, including that with Zinzendorf* in 1734 over Rock's rejection of preaching and the sacraments, through defections to the Herrnhutters and allied movements, and through emigration to America. After Rock's death his mystical communities declined rapidly, despite a temporary revival in Germany and America in the early nineteenth century.