Religion Past and Present

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People’s Church (Volkskirche)
(1,695 words)

[German Version]

I. Concept

The concept of the people’s church (Volkskirche) plays a prominent role in debate on ecclesial conceptions, notably in German Protestantism. It is first attested in the writings of F.D.E. Schleiermacher in 1822/1823 (cf. Die christliche Sitte, ed. L. Jonas, 1843, 569) – in demarcation from the state church (requiring membership), and from a voluntary church based on subjective choice.

While the New Testament gave a transnational interpretation of the church in its talk of the peop…

Cite this page
Hein, Martin, Hüffmeier, Wilhelm and Preul, Reiner, “People’s Church (Volkskirche)”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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