any of his proposed reforms in surroundings defined by the luxury of a Baroque court and a prince more interested in operas, fireworks, and hunting than in social reform. Thus in 1692, after only a few years, Spener left Dresden and moved to Berlin, to a somewhat inferior position, but to a court that was open to his ideas. Spener stayed in Berlin until his death in 1705.
In Berlin, Spener became what can be called the patriarch of the Pietist movement. He took an active part in reforming the social system of this socially very diverse city by supporting plans that helped beggars and the very poor, and he used his influence at court and among the high Prussian military officer class to protect Pietists who were persecuted in other territories. Most importantly, however, he counselled literally hundreds of persons who turned to him for help in practical matters and for spiritual advice. Spener answered all of the requests in long and detailed letters that were published even before his death as 'Theologische Bedenken', which means theological considerations or reflections. For historians of Pietism, these 'Theologische Bedenken' form a most informative source. Through his answers, Spener was keen to build a network that reached far beyond Berlin and even beyond the Holy Roman Empire. By the end of his life, Spener had developed the two most important means through which Pietists were able to communicate and gain influence: conventicles and letters. Other means of religious socialization, which were soon being exercised effectively, were regular visits of those who considered one another as brothers and sisters in the community of the reborn, meetings of the like-minded, and the establishment of Pietist educational and social institutions. Furthermore, Pietists soon made substantial contributions to the body of edifying tracts and hymns through which they expressed Pietist spirituality. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the new movement had gained many followers all over central Europe and, what was perhaps even more important, an unmistakable profile. In other words, a new tradition had begun. To be considered a Pietist, one had to place the influence of Spener and Johann Arndt next to that of Martin Luther.
Already in the 1680s, pious Protestants met regularly in conventicles in cities like Erfurt, Magdeburg, Liibeck, and Quedlinburg as well as in many other places. Very early on, women participated actively in many of these meetings, while pastors often played only a marginal role. This indicates that these early disciples of Spener were suspicious of the teachings of Lutheran orthodoxy as taught in theological faculties at German universities. At the same time, they were prepared to listen to what they considered direct inspiration and revelation, and such direct revelation could be given, as they believed, to women as
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