GIBSON, ROBERT ATKINSON: Protestant Episcopal bishop of Virginia; b. at Petersburg, Va., July 9, 1846. After serving as a private in the First Virginia Artillery of the Confederate Army 1864-65, he was graduated at Hampden-Sidney College in 1867; and at the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1870. He became a missionary in southern Virginia, 1870, assistant of St. James' and curate of Moore Memorial Chapel, Richmond, Va., 1872; rector of Trinity Church, Parkersburg, W. Va., 1878, of Christ Church, Cincinnati, O., 1887. He was consecrated sixth bishop of Virginia, 1897.

GICHTEL, gl'H'tel, JOHANN GEORG: German ascetic and mystic; b. at Regensburg-May 14, 1638; d. at Amsterdam Jan. 21, 1710. He was a descendant of a Protestant family, and the religious impulse was awakened in him at an early age. He studied theology and history at Strasburg' but after the death of his father he took up the study of law and settled in Regensburg as a lawyer, but his religious life received a new impulse through his association with Justinian Ernst von Weltz (q.v.), a Hungarian baron who was endeavoring to propagate his ideas concerning a reformation of the Church, a reconciliation between the Lutherans and Reformed, and a revival of missionary activity. They aroused the suspicion of the orthodox clergy, however, and were denounced as fanatics. Weltz now resolved upon a missionary tour to South America and was accompanied by Gichtel as far as Holland. There mysticism, the natural trend of his religious development and disposition, claimed him for his own, and Friedrich Breckling, a mystic preacher in Zwo11e, exerted a decisive influence upon him.

The external church service now seemed to Gichtel an obstacle to inner communion with God, and he felt himself called to take up, the battle


against false church service, especially in Luther anism. After his return to Germany he addressed to his native city a letter filled with violent accu sations against the clergy, whereupon he was im prisoned, deprived of all civic rights, and exiled. In 1665 he began his wanderings, and after a short stay at the residence of Pistorius, a Pietistic preacher of Gersbach in Baden, he went to Vienna to settle some business affairs of Weltz. In 1667 he re turned to Zwolle, where Breckling employed him as chaplain, leader of the choir, and porter, but he became involved in Breckling's dissensions with his congregation and the consistory, and was exiled from Zwolle and the whole province of Upper Yesel. He spent the remainder of his life quietly in Amsterdam, winning many converts to his views. At first he earned his living by translating and proof-reading, but renounced even this work as in compatible with the trust which leaves all care to God.

Gichtel was opposed to sects of his time such as Quakers, Mennonites, and Labadists, nor was it his desire to found a sect. Violent dissensions arose among his followers, and at last only two of his friends remained-Isaak Passavant and Johann Wilhehn Ueberfeld. After Gichtel's death, Ueber feld became the leader of his Dutch adherents, while his followers in Hamburg and Altona were headed by Johann Otto Gliising. Gichtel's wri tings were regarded by them as equal to the Bible, and he himself was considered an elect instrument of God. Traces of the sect were also found in Ber lin, Magdeburg, and Nordhausen. In Amsterdam Gichtel became acquainted with the works of Böhme, which he declared to be on a par with the Bible, and his ideas were molded by his study of this mystic, especially his discourses on the struggle between the love and the wrath of God, on creation, on the fall of Lucifer and Adam. Like all the radical mystics of his period, he main tained a polemical attitude toward the established Church and toward the Reformation, which in his opinion had contented itself with the destruction of popery without putting anything better in its place, while with Böhme he shared the combination of Pietism and a mystical conception of nature. From his general contempt of learned writings were excepted only works on science "because of the light of nature." Gichtel strove to reduce the ideas of Böhme to practicality, and for this reason he rejected marriage, regarding it as unchastity in the sight of God and as a perversion of the original order of creation, advocating the priesthood of Mel chisedeck, and believing that man by prayer and absorption into the death and blood of Jesus might offer his soul as a sacrifice for others. With others, especially with Alhardt de Raedt, a former pro fessor of theology in Haderwijk, and with the finan cial aid of Coenraad van Beuningen, mayor of Amsterdam, Gichtel published the first complete edition of Böhme's works (Amsterdam, 1682). His own writings have been collected in seven volumes under the title of Theosophia practica (Leyden, 1722).

(A. Hegler.) K. Holl.

Bibliography: A life is contained in G. C. A. iron Harless, Jakob Böhme und die Alchymisten, Leipsic, 1882; and the Theoaophia practica, Leyden, 1722, contains both his works and a sketch of his life. Consult also: Ersch and Gruber, Eacbkloptidie, section 1, lxY. 437 sqq.; ADB, ix. 147-150


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