Pietism was a word of derision applied to a movement of Lutheran clergy and laity, who insisted that the Lutheran Church must apply its faith in Jesus Christ practically in real life with spiritual discipline and loving acts of kindness:
1690s, from German Pietismus, originally applied in derision to
the movement to revive personal piety in the Lutheran Church, begun in
Frankfurt c.1670 by Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705).
early 14c. (late 12c. as a surname), "mercy, tenderness, pity,"
from Old French piete "piety, faith; pity, compassion" (12c.),
from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "dutiful conduct, sense of
duty; religiousness, piety; loyalty, patriotism; faithfulness to
natural ties," in Late Latin "gentleness, kindness, pity;"
from pius "kind" (see pious). Meaning "piousness" attested in English
Also see pity (n.).
early 13c., from Old French pite, pitet "pity, mercy, compassion,
care, tenderness; pitiful state, wretched condition" (11c., Modern
from Latin pietatem (nominative pietas) "piety, loyalty, duty" (see
Replaced Old English mildheortness, literally "mild-heartness," itself
a loan-translation of Latin misericordia.
English pity and piety were not fully distinguished until 17c.
Transferred sense of "grounds or cause for pity" is from late 14c.
As in so many other controversial countercultural movements, the derogatory term was co-opted by Pietists to motivate adherents toward their transformational goals:
In Pia Desideria, Spener made six proposals as the best means of
restoring the life of the Church:
- to more thoroughly acquaint believers with scripture by means of private readings and study groups in addition to preaching
- to increase the involvement of laity in all functions of the church
- to emphasize that believers put into practice their faith and knowledge of God
- to approach religious discussions with humility and love, avoiding controversy whenever possible
- to ensure that pastors are both well-educated and pious
- to focus preaching on developing faith in ordinary believers
A self-defined pietistic denomination of Christianity would not acquiesce to the disparaging misrepresentations of its opponents, but would vigorously pursue its goals to balance robust intellectual disciplines with effective practical behavior.
The Oxford English dictionary faithfully describes both the pietist and anti-pietist connotations of pietism:
1.0 Pious sentiment, especially of an exaggerated or affected nature.
1.1 (usually Pietism) A 17th-century movement for the revival of piety in the Lutheran Church.
Considering the goals of Pietism, the consistent, self-defined pietist would be neither hostile nor unreasonable, so the definition of anti-intellectual doesn't seem to apply:
Hostile or indifferent to culture and intellectual reasoning:
In the flexible art of Jujutsu, it does seem quite plausible to describe an under-informed critic of these kind reasonable people as pseudo-intellectual:
a person exhibiting intellectual pretensions that have no basis in sound scholarship.
a person who pretends an interest in intellectual matters for reasons of status.
- of, relating to, or characterized by fraudulent intellectuality; unscholarly: