Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 775 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
GERMAN EVANGELICAL SYNOD OF NORTH AMERICA, a Protestant church dating from October 1840, and known, in its early years, as the German Evangelical Association of the West. It was formed by six German ministers who had been ordained in Prussia and were engaged in missionary and pioneer work in Missouri and Illinois. The original organization was strengthened in 1858 by amalgamation with the German Evangelical Church Association of Ohio, and later by the inclusion of the German United Evangelical Synod of the East (186o), the Evangelical Synod of the North-West (1872) and the United Evangelical Synod of the East (1872). The church bases its position on the Bible as interpreted by the symbols of the Lutheran and Reformed churches so far as they are in agreement, points of difference being left to " that liberty of conscience which, as a component part of the basis of man's ultimate divided into 12 books, which are subdivided into tituli and chapters (aerae). It comprises 324 constitutions taken from Leovigild's collection, a few of the laws of Reccared and Sisebut, 99 laws of Chindaswinth (642-653), and 87 of Recceswinth. A recension of this code of Recceswinth was made in 681 by King Erwig (68o-687), and is known as the Lex Wisigothorum renovata; and, finally, some additamenta were made by Egica (687-702). In Zeumer's edition of the Leges Wisigothorum the versions of Recceswinth and Erwig, where they differ from each other, are shown in parallel columns, and the laws later than Erwig are denoted by the sign " nov." For further information see the preface to Zeumer's edition; H. Brunner, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1906); Ureiia y Smenyaud, La Legislation Gotico-hispana (Madrid, 1905). 2. Lex Burgundionum.—This code was compiled by King Gundobald (474-516), very probably after his defeat by Clovis in 500. Some additamenta were subsequently introduced either by Gundobald himself or by his son Sigismund. This law bears the title of Liber Constitutionum, which shows that it emanated from the king; it is also known as the Lex Gundobada or Lex Gombata. It was used for cases between Burgundians, but was also applicable to cases between Burgundians and Romans. For cases between Romans, however, Gundobald compiled the Lex Romana Burgundionum, called sometimes, through a misreading of the MSS., the Liber Papiani or simply Papianus. The barbarian law of the Burgundians shows strong traces of Roman -influence. It recognizes the will and attaches great importance to written deeds, but on the other hand sanctions the judicial duel and the cojuratores (sworn witnesses). The vehement protest made in the 9th century by Agobard, bishop of Lyons, against the Lex Gundobada shows that it was still in use at that period. So late as the loth and even the rrth centuries we'find the law of the Burgundians invoked as personal law in Cluny charters, but doubtless these passages refer to accretions of local customs rather than to actual paragraphs of the ancient code. The text of the Lex Burgundionum has been published by F. Bluhme in the Mon. Germ. hist., Leges, iii. 525; by Karl Binding in the Ponies rerum Bernensium (vol. i., 188o) ; by J. E. Valentin Smith (Paris, 1889 seq.); and by von Salis (1892) in the 4to series of the Mon. Germ. hist. Cf. R. Dareste, " La Loi Gombette," in the Journal des savants (July 1891). 3. Pactus Alamannorum and Lex Alamannorum.—Of the laws of the Alamanni, who dwelt between the Rhine and the Lech, and spread over Alsace and what is now Switzerland to the south of Lake Constance, we possess two different texts. The earlier text, of which five short fragments have come down to us, is known as the Pactus Alamannorum, and from the persistent recurrence of the expression " et sic convenit " was most probably drawn up by an official commission. The reference to affranchisement in ecclesia shows that it was composed at.a period subsequent to the conversion of the Alamanni to Christianity. There is no doubt that the text dates back to the reign of Dagobert I., i.e. to the first half of the 7th century. The later text, known as the Lex Alamannorum, dates from a period when Alamannia was independent under national dukes, but recognized the theoretical suzerainty of the Frankish kings. There seems no reason to doubt the St Gall MS., which states that the law had .its origin in an agreement between the great Alamannic lords and Duke Landfrid, who ruled the duchy from 709 to 730. The two texts have been published by J. Merkel in the Mon. Germ. hist., Leges, iii., and by Karl Lehmann in the 4to series of the same collection. 4. Lex Bajuvariorum.—We possess an important law of the Bavarians, whose duchy was situated in the region east of the Lech, and was an outpost of Germany against the Huns, known later as Avars. Parts of this law have been taken directly from the Visigothic law of Euric and from the law of the Alamanni. The Bavarian law, therefore, is later than that of the Alamanni. It dates unquestionably from a period when the Frankish authority was very strong in Bavaria, when the dukes were vassals of the Frankish kings. Immediately after the revolt of Bavaria in 743 the Bavarian duke Odilo was forced to submit the law of the Bavarians, where the chief provisions are reproduced. to Pippin and Carloman, the sons of Charles Martel, and to responsibility to God himself, is the inalienable privilege of every believer." The church, which has (1909) 985 ministers and some 238,000 communicant members, is divided into seven-teen districts, with officers responsible to the General Synod, which meets every four years. There are boards for home and foreign missions, the latter operating chiefly in the Central Provinces of India. The literature of the church is mainly in German, though English is rapidly gaining ground.

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.