Philipp Jakob Spener, a German theologian, born at Rappoltsweiler, Alsace, in January, 1G35, died in Berlin, Feb. 5, 1705. He studied at Strasburg, early lectured on philosophy and history, and was tutor to several of the princes palatine. After attending Swiss and French universities, he began in 1663 to preach at Strasburg. In 1664 he was made doctor of theology, and in 1666 chief of the clergy at Frankfort. While the orthodox Lutherans based their theology on the Bible as explained by the symbolical books, he based it on the Bible as confirmed and explained by personal experiences. He instituted at Frankfort classes for catechizing the young, and his prayer meetings (collegia pietatis) and conventicles (eccle-siolce in ecclesia) created a popular and strictly Biblical theology. From his collegia sprang the sect of the pietists, so called at first in derision, but finally the name was accepted by themselves. In 1686 he removed to Dresden, where he was appointed chief court preacher and a member of the consistory. His views were violently opposed by the Saxon clergy, especially after the foundation of the new university at Halle, the professorships in which were filled by his disciples, and which became at once the central point of the pietistic doctrines.
The faculty of Wittenberg designated in his writings about 300 false doctrines, although he fully adhered to the confession of Augsburg. He defended himself with ability and success; but in 1691 he gladly accepted an invitation from the elector Frederick of Brandenburg to reside at Berlin, as provost, inspector of the church of St. Nicholas, and assessor' of the consistory. He wrote Pia Desideria (1675; new ed. by Feldner, Dresden, 1846), and other theological as well as genealogical works. - See Hossbach, Philipp Jakob Spener unci seine Zeit (2 vols., Berlin, 1828; 3d ed. by Sohweder, 1861), and Thilo, Spener als Kate-cliet (Stuttgart, 1841).