New Schaff-Herzog: Johann Michael Feneberg

johann michael feneberg

Nicht nur die katholische Seite weiß Johann Michael Feneberg zu würdigen. Auch in der englischsprachigen New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, der protestantischen Enzyklopädie im Angloamerikanischen Raum, findet sich zu Feneberg folgender Eintrag.

Feneberg, Michael Nathanael

By A. Hauck

Roman Catholic; b. of peasant parents at Oberdorf (37 m. n.w. of Würzburg), Bavaria, Feb. 9, 1751; d. at Vöhringen (40 m. s.w. of Stuttgart), Württemberg, Oct. 12, 1812. He was educated by the Jesuits at Augsburg, and joined the order on the advice of his friend the famous Johann Michael Sailer (q.v.). After completing his studies at Ingolstadt and Regensburg, he became teacher at the Regensburg Gymnasium in 1775, then engaged in practical church work in his native village. In 1785 he was appointed professor of rhetoric and poetry in the Augsburg diocesan gymnasium at Dillingen. Being on intimate terms with Sailer, Weber, and Zimmer, who taught at the University of Dillingen, he labored in Sailer’s spirit, aiming mainly at true and sincere piety without empha­sizing any confessional tendency. Sailer’s views awakened the hostility of the Jesuits and their friends, and in 1793 a trial implicating the most prominent teachers of the University was held, at which Feneberg bravely defended his friends. Although the teachers were not condemned, Feneberg left Dillingen and took charge of the parish of Seeg. He held convictions regarding justifica­tion which approached rather closely to Evangelical teachings. The tendency of his view shows itself most prominently in the fact that he laid stress on personal communion with God, and especially with Jesus Christ as personal redeemer, with entire elimination of the Church. Feneberg, however, was so little conscious of his opposition to the dogma of the Roman Church that he honestly believed he possessed the old Catholic faith. In 1797 he was subjected to a trial, but was allowed to go back to his old parish. In 1805 he removed to Vöhringen. There he completed a translation of the New Testament (ed. and published by M. Wittmann, afterward bishop of Regensburg, Nuremberg, 1808), which for a long time was much used by German Roman Catholics.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. M. Sailer, Aus Fenebergs Leben in Sämmtliche Werke, vol. xxxix., Sulzbach, 1841; C. von Schmid, Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben, 4 vols., Augsburg 1853-57; V. Thalhofer, Beiträge zur Geschichte des Aftermysticismus im Bisthum Augsburg, pp. 68-69, Regensburg, 1857; KL, iv. 1324-27.

Source: The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 4 (1914), page 296.

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