Heinrich Plütschau (last name also Plütschow or Plütscho; 1676, Wesenberg, Germany – 4 January 1752, Beidenfleth, Denmark) was, along with Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, the first German evangelical priest to arrive in India.
Life and work
Plütschau attended Friedrichswerdersches Gymnasium in Berlin with Joachim Lange as rector and then studied theology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. There he came into contact with August Hermann Francke, the founder of the Francke Foundations. On a request of the Danish King Frederick IV for potential missionaries, Plütschau and his peer Ziegenbalg were suggested by Lange. In 1705, they travelled to the Danish colony of Tranquebar on the southeastern coast of India, known as the Danish-Halle Mission.
The missionaries had already begun during the voyage to learn Portuguese, the lingua franca, and the local Indian language, Tamil. With increasing work, the missionaries shared their community tasks. Plütschau focused on the parishioners, who spoke Portuguese, and Ziegenbalg, because of his particular language skills, on the Tamil-speaking community. In 1711, Plütschau returned to Germany for health reasons. There he brought out Luther's Small Catechism in Tamil and taught mission candidates in the language. In 1714, he received the pastorate of Beidenfleth, ruled at the time by the Danish Crown, where he worked until 1750. He died two years later.
- Werner Raupp (1994). "Heinrich Plütschau". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 7. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 757–758. ISBN 3-88309-048-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Viktor Hantzsch (1907), "Plütschau, Heinrich", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 53, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 85–87
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- Literature about Heinrich Plütschau in the State Bibliography (Landesbibliographie) of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern