Doctoral defence: Üllas Linder "Adam Reinhold Schiewe. Biography of the Founder of the First Estonian Baptist Congregation"

On 10 June at 16:15 Üllas Linder will defend his doctoral thesis "Adam Reinhold Schiewe. Biography of the Founder of the First Estonian Baptist Congregation" for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Religious Studies).


Professor Tõnu Lehtsaar, University of Tartu


Doctor Tiit Pädam, the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church


The study deals with the biography of Polish German Baptist preacher Adam Reinhold Schiewe (22.05.1843–29.12.1930). Schiewe operated in what are now five countries: in Poland, in the Volhynia region in Ukraine, in the German-speaking congregation in St. Petersburg, Russia (and at the same time also in Estonia), and in Germany. Schiewe left his paramount mark in Estonia, where he founded the first Baptist congregation in Haapsalu in 1884 and was the actual leader of Estonian Baptism for 11 years.

The motivation for writing the research was the need to understand the historical background of Baptism as one of the religions operating in Estonia, to value an influential person of his time, to clarify the current image of Schiewe and to bring him out of the shadow caused by the passage of time.

The topics of the research are the principles and history of Baptism; Schiewe's written heritage; Schiewe's origin and family; how Schiewe became a Baptist and preacher; Schiewe's secular and spiritual education and how he applied them; Schiewe as a preacher and pastor; Schiewe as a person persecuted for his faith (including expulsion from Volhynia); Schiewe as a solver of spiritual and economic problems; important persons related to Schiewe – his attitude towards them and their attitude towards him; conditions in which Schiewe lived and worked – what they were before and what they became after him; portrayal of Schiewe in non-Baptist media; Schiewe's relations with state authorities; depiction of Estonians by Schiewe and other Germans; Schiewe's spiritual views; and assessment of Schiewe, including confirmation or refutation of previous assessments.

The author suggests that he managed to compile a scientific biography of Schiewe that is substantiated by sources, significantly expands the existing knowledge, solves several problematic situations, and corrects mistakes, thus filling a gap in the history of the church. According to the author, Schiewe deserves a solid place in the history of the worldwide Baptism because he brought Baptism to a new land – Estonia. He should also find a firmer place in the history of Baptism and church of the countries where he worked.