World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Alexander Mack

Article Id: WHEBN0020708426
Reproduction Date:

Title: Alexander Mack  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anabaptists, American clergy, German Baptist, Religious denomination, List of Christian Universalists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alexander Mack

Alexander Mack
Church Schwarzenau Brethren (German Baptist)
Ordination Minister, elder
Personal details
Born 27 July 1679
Schriesheim, Palatinate, Germany
Died 19 January 1735(1735-01-19) (aged 55)
Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Buried Upper Burying Ground, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Nationality German Palatine
Denomination Protestant Christian, Pietist Anabaptist
Residence Schriesheim, Palatinate; East Friesland; and Schwarzenau, Bad Berleburg, Germany and Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Parents Johann Phillip Mack (father) and Christina Fillbrun Mack (mother)
Spouse Anna Margarethe Kling
Children Johann Valentine, Johannes, and Alexander Mack, Jr. (sons) and Christina and unnamed infant (daughters)
Occupation Composer, elder and minister, philanthropist, theologian
Profession Miller
Signature }

Alexander Mack (c. 27 July 1679[a] – 19 January 1735) was the leader and first minister of the Schwarzenau Brethren (or German Baptists) in the Schwarzenau, Wittgenstein community of modern-day Bad Berleburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Mack founded the Brethren along with seven other Radical Pietists in Schwarzenau in 1708. Mack and the rest of the early Brethren emigrated to the United States in the mid-18th century, where he continued to minister to the Brethren community until his death.

Early life and founding of the Brethren

Mack's baptism alongside seven other Radical Pietists in the Eder marks the inauguration of the Brethren

Mack was born in Schriesheim, Palatinate in contemporary Baden-Württemberg, Germany, where he worked as a miller. He was born the third son to miller Johann Phillip Mack and his wife Christina Fillbrun Mack and baptized into the local Reformed church on 27 July 1679.[1] The Macks remained in Schriesheim throughout the Nine Years' War, intermittently seeking refuge in the hill country due to violence.[1] Upon finishing his studies, Mack took over the family mill and married socialite Anna Margarethe Kling on 18 January 1701.[1] By 1705, the Macks became moved by the Pietist movement locally led by Ernst Christoph Hochmann von Hochnau and started to host an illegal Bible study and prayer group at their home.[1]

In the early 1700s, Graf (Count) Henrich Albrecht Sayn-Wittgenstein provided refuge to religious dissenters from other German states and elsewhere. Many were settled around the small village of Schwarzenau, including Mack and his followers. The era of toleration for radical Pietism lasted only until ~1740, but had few precedents at the time and was denounced by the rulers of most other German states.[2] Schwarzenau is now part of the town of Bad Berleburg in the district of Siegen-Wittgenstein in the state of Nord Rhein Westfalen. The school (now closed) in Schwarzenau was named in honor of Alexander Mack.[3]

The initial group that became known as the Schwarzenau Brethren were inaugurated by Mack as a Bible study with four other men and three women. In 1708—having become convinced of the necessity of Believer's baptism—the group decided to baptize themselves, using a lottery system to choose who would baptize one another in the Eder.[4]

Emigration to the United States

Mack and several other Brethren emigrated to East Friesland due to pressure within the interfaith community in Schwarzenau in 1720.[5] They stayed until 1729, when the impoverished community found it impossible to sustain itself. In 1719, a different Brethren group led by Peter Becker had already emigrated to Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States for religious freedom.[5] Mack and his followers sailed for Germantown to establish a community in the New World.

Teachings and writings

Prior to the formation of any strict doctrine, the Schwarzenau Brethren espoused several fundamental tenets that would define the Brethren movement, including a rejection of any coercion in religion (such as infant baptism), viewing Christian rites and ordinances as a means of grace, and the New Testament as the only creed and Rule of Faith.[5] Mack was a Universalist and strict pacifist.


  • ^ Some sources (e.g. Schulz) cite this as Mack's birthday, others (e.g. Eberly) refer to this as his date of baptism.

Works cited


  1. ^ a b c d Willoughby, p. 1
  2. ^ Lückel
  3. ^ Grebe
  4. ^ Schulz, p. 21
  5. ^ a b c Schulz, p. 31

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.