Zinzendorf, Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von

German count and Moravian leader, born in Dresden. He studied at Wittenburg and in 1734 was ordained into the Lutheran ministry at Tübingen. Sympathizing with the Bohemian Brethren driven from their homeland by persecution, he offered them a site for a settlement called Herrnhut on his estate at Berthelsdorf, Saxony. He organized the 'Renewed Church of the United Brethren', better known as the Moravian Church, but alienated the authorities and was banished from Saxony in 1736. John Wesley first met him at Marienborn near Frankfort when on his way to Herrnhut in July 1738. Their relationship seems to have been problematical from the outset, partly because both were natural autocrats. They met again and conversed at some length in London in September 1741, by which time Wesley had begun to distance himself from the Moravians and had written a letter critical of some aspects of their community life at Herrnhut. Before he was allowed to return to Saxony in 1748, Zinzendorf had established further settlements in England and the Netherlands and had visited America.

  • A.G. Spangenberg, Life of Nicholas Lewis Count Zinzendorf (1838)
  • J.R. Weinlick, Count Zinzendorf (Nashville, 1956)
  • Edward Langton, 'Nicholas Lewis Zinzendorf: the Count who became a Bishop', in London Quarterly and Holborn Review', April 1957, pp.140-45
  • A.J. Lewis, 'Count Zinzendorf', in London Quarterly and Holborn Review, April 1960, pp.125-32
  • A.J. Lewis, Zinzendorf, the Ecumenical Pioneer (1962)
  • W.R. Ward, 'Zinzendorf and Money', in Faith and Faction (1993) pp.130-52
  • Peter Vogt, '"No inherent perfection in this life": Count Zinzendorf's theological opposition to John Wesley's concept of sanctification', in Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library, 85:2-3 (Summer/Autumn 2003) pp.297-307

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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