Jacob Peter Mynster
|Bishop of Zealand|
Bishop Jacob Peter Mynster.
Portrait by Johan Vilhelm Gertner.
|Church||Church of Denmark|
|Predecessor||Peter Erasmus Müller|
|Successor||Hans Lassen Martensen|
|Born||November 8, 1775|
|Died||January 30, 1854(aged 78)|
|Parents||Christian Gudzon Peter Mynster|
Frederica Christiane Nicoline (née Ring)
|Spouse||Maria Frederica Franzisca ("Fanny") Münter|
|Children||Marie Elizabeth Paulli|
Christian Ludvig Nicolai Mynster
|Education||University of Copenhagen|
Doctor of theology, 1815
Mynster was notably used as an exemplar of conservative religion by Søren Kierkegaard in his book Attack Upon Christendom.
Early life and education
Mynster was born on November 8, 1775 in Copenhagen. His father, Christian Gudzon Peter Mynster, was a Chamber Councillor (kammerråd) and inspector at Frederiks Hospital. His mother was named Frederica Christiane Nicoline (née Ring). His father died in 1777 of tuberculosis, and his mother was remarried to Frederik Ludvig Bang, a doctor who was superintendant of the same hospital as her first husband. Mynster's mother died shortly thereafter of tuberculosis in 1779, and he and his brother Ole Hieronymus Mynster, who was three years his senior, were then brought up their stepfather.
Their stepfather, was a wealthy and well respected medical doctor who was superintendant of the same hospital as their birthfather. Bang was later widowed by the death of his second wife, Louise (née Hansen) whom he married in 1782. In his stepfather's household, Mynster was raised following pietism which was commonplace in Denmark at the time. According to Mynster, his stepfather was incredibly strict, and his pietic views often went against the church's doctrine.
During his childhood, Mynster was largely taught by private tutors. One of his tutors gave him the nickname "Job" after the biblical prophet: a nickname which he went by for much of his life. When not being privately taught at his home, Mynster briefly attended the Metropolitanskolen where he was tutored by an uncle.
As a student at the University of Copenhagen, Mynster associated with fellow students such as Henrik Steffens and Jens Wilken Hornemann whose ideas contributed to his spiritual development. In 1794, he received a Cand.theol. degree in theology. Immediately after graduating, Mynster was employed as a tutor to Adam Wilhelm Moltke. He later received a doctorate in theology in 1815.
He began his first position as a priest in 1802 in Spjellerup, a small parish south of Copenhagen. While there, he was confronted by contradictions between his faith and the dogma of the church he was preaching in. Following a religious breakthrough in 1803, Mynster became outspoken about his own beliefs. His writings and the publications of his sermons from this period gained him attention, and he received a position back in Copenhagen as a chaplain at the Church of Our Lady.
While in Copenhagen, he was a lecturer in psychology at Pastoralseminarium, a theological seminary, of which he became co-director in 1812. In 1814 he elaborated the basis for the version of Luther's Small Catechism which was authorized for use in Danish schools. In 1815, Mynster married Fanny Münter, the daughter of Friedrich Münter, a former Bishop of Zealand. Through her father, he was given status and station. In particular, he became a member of the commission tasked with revision of the New Testament and he became a member of the University of Copenhagen. In 1819, Mynster became a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.
In 1826, Mynster was appointed the court chaplain at Christiansborg Palace where he served as confessor to King Frederick VI. In 1828, he was appointed a commander of the Order of the Dannebrog. He became a member of the Royal Mission College in 1834, and was director of the college's orphanage. As an elected member of the royal Stænderforsamlingerne he met in Roskilde in 1835, 1838, 1840, 1842, 1844, and 1848. He later received the Grand Cross in 1836, and was awarded the rank of 1st class of the order in 1847.
Mynster was appointed the Bishop of Zealand on September 9, 1834. This followed the death of his father-in-law, Bishop Friedrich Münter, and his successor Peter Erasmus Müller. Mynster remained in office until his death in 1854. He was succeeded as Bishop of Zealand by Hans Lassen Martensen.
Relationship to Kierkegaard
While serving as a chaplain at Our Lady Church, Mynster was introduced to the Kierkegaard family, who were members of the congregation. He had an amicable relationship with Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard. In later years, his beliefs were criticized by Michael Kierkegaard's son, Søren Kierkegaard. Mynster was one of the principal objects of scorn in his book Attack Upon Christendom. Although their beliefs differed, Søren Kierkegaard had some respect for Mynster, and had originally intended to publish his criticisms after his death so as to spare him.
Søren's brother, Peter Kierkegaard, was briefly a pastor under Mynster's authority as the bishop of Zealand. In an incident in 1842, Peter defied Mynster and refused to baptize Baptist children against their will.
In 1815, Mynster married Maria Frederica Franzisca Münter. Maria was born in 1796 and went by the name "Fanny." The couple had two children. Their son, Christian Ludvig Nicolai Mynster, was born March 19, 1820 and died in 1883. Like his father, he received a degree in theology at the University of Copenhagen where he was later a professor. He was an author and historian, and compiled many works about the lives of his notable relatives, especially his father, including:
- Nogle Erindringer og Bemærkninger om J.P. Mynster (1877)
- Breve fra J.P. Mynster (1860)
- Nogle Blade af J.P. Mynsters Liv og Tid (1875)
Mynster's daughter, Marie Elizabeth, was born on October 25, 1822. In 1842 she married a noted pastor and close associate of her father's, Just Henrik Voltelen Paulli, with whom she had three sons.
In January of 1854, Mynster complained of a pain in his chest, but decided not to seek medical attention. He died shortly thereafter on January 30.
Many of Mynster's sermons were transcribed and published for the public. He also produced a number of works on theology and the church, some of which were published posthumously.
- Prædikener paa alle Søn- og Hallige-Dage i Aaret (Sermons for Every Sunday and Holiday in the Year). Copenhagen: Gyldendal. 1823.
- Kleine theologische Schriften. Copenhagen. 1825
- Om Begrebet af den christelige Dogmatik. Copenhagen: Gyldendal. 1831.
- Betragtninger over de christelige Troeslærdomme (Observations on the Doctrines of the Christian Faith). Copenhagen: Gyldendal. 1833.
- Kirkelige Leiligheds-taler. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag. 1854.
- Meddelelser om mit Levnet. Copenhagen: Gyldendal. 1854.
- Blandede Skrifter. Copenhagen: Gyldendal. 1856
- Bricka, Carl Frederik (1887–1905). DANSK BIOGRAFISK LEXIKON (in Danish). XII volume, Münch–Peirup. Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandels Forlag (F. Hegel & Søn). Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- Mynster, Jakob Peter (1854). Meddelelser om mit Levnet (in Danish). Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
- Stewart, Jon (2015). A Companion to Kierkegaard. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 195–198. ISBN 9781118783597.
- Niels Munk, Plum (1938). Jakob Peter Mynster som kristen og teolog (in Danish). Schubothe.
- Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab (1851). Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs skrifter (in Danish). Volume 5. Copenhagen: Munksgaard. pp. VII.
- Watkin, Julia (2010). The A to Z of Kierkegaard's Philosophy. Scarecrow Press. pp. 170–176. ISBN 9781461731771.
- Stewart, Jon (2008). Kierkegaard and His Contemporaries: The Culture of Golden Age Denmark. Netlibrary. pp. 149–163. ISBN 9783110200881.
- Kierkegaard, Søren (1854–1855). Attack Upon Christendom. Translated by Walter Lowrie, 1944, 1968, Princeton University Press
- Kirmmse, Bruce H. (1990). Kierkegaard in Golden Age Denmark. Indiana University Press. pp. 100, 186–187. ISBN 9780253330444.
- Dorrien, Gary (2012). Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 291–293. ISBN 9781444355895.
- Thulstrup, Niels; Thulstrup, Marie Mikulová (1982). Bibliotheca Kierkegaardiana. Apud librarium C. A. Reitzel.
- Lippitt, John; Pattison, George (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191612107.
- Erslew, Thomas Hansen (1847). Almindeligt forfatterlexicon for Kongeriget Danmark: med tilhörende bilande fra för 1814 til 1840 (2nd ed.). Copenhagen: Forlagsforeningens Forlag. pp. 321–326.
- Blangstrup, Chr. (1924). Salmonsens Konversations Leksikon: Mielck-Nordland. Volume XVII (2nd ed.). Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz Forlagsboghandel A/S. p. 513.
- Hundrup, Ferdinand E. (1854). Biographiske Efterretninger om dem. der ved Kjøbenhavens Universitet have erholdt de høieste akademiske Værdigheder (in Danish). Roskilde. pp. 69–70, 90.
- Jakob Peter Mynster: Fra hans senere praestelige periode og biskopstid (in Danish). Schubothe. 1901.