Between Sardis and Philadelphia: The Life and World of Pietist Court Preacher Conrad Bröske


This study examines the life and world of Conrad Bröske (1660-1713), Court Preacher in Offenbach/Mayn. His claim to fame lies in a ten year period between 1694 and 1704 in which this Marburg-trained pastor became a prolific author, polemicist and promoter of chiliastic writings, thanks to a meeting with Thomas Beverley in 1693 and the baptism of a Muslim convert in 1694. Bröske lived a complex existence “between Sardis and Philadelphia,” as a Reformed court preacher and Philadelphian chiliast. His two-sided experience was actually the norm among the Pietists, including so-called radicals. Life between paradigms was the German way of being radical in early modern times due to a lack of religious toleration compared to England and the Netherlands. Bröske’s story belongs to the rise of “Early Evangelicalism” that W.R. Ward has recently discussed.
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Biographical Note

Douglas H. Shantz, Ph.D. (1987) in History, University of Waterloo, is Professor of Christian Thought at the University of Calgary, Canada. His recent articles discuss Pietist historical writing, autobiography, conversion and migration.

Table of contents

List of Maps and Illustrations


The Court Preacher
I. Family and Student Life, 1660-1682
II. Bröske’s Educational Travels, 1683-1686
III. Court Preacher in Offenbach, 1686-1713
IV. Bröske’s Gospel and Funeral Sermons

The Philadelphian Chiliast
V. Turkish Baptisms in the Ysenburg Court in the 1690s
VI. Conrad Bröske, Thomas Beverley and the Coming Millennial Kingdom
VII. Eight Dialogues between a Politician and a Theologian (1698-1700)

Controversy and Withdrawal
VIII. Feud with Johann Konrad Dippel, 1700-1702
IX. Dispute with Reformed Preachers in Elberfeld, 1704-1706
X. Bröske’s Literary Career


1. Conrad Bröske’s Autobiography of 1710
2. Over-view of the Bröske-Dippel Feud, 1700-1702
3. Key Sources in Conrad Bröske’s Dispute with the Reformed Preachers in Elberfeld, 1704-1706
4. Conrad Bröske’s Publications and Writings, 1692-1710

Index of Names and Places


For scholars interested in early modern German Protestantism, early modern preaching, early modern theological education and controversies, and Pietist millennialism.


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