Protten, Christian Jacob (A)

1715-1769
Moravian Church
Ghana

Multiple versions are available: (B)

Pioneering Moravian missionary in Ghana.

Born in Christianborg, on the coast of present-day Ghana, of a Danish father and a Ga mother, Protten was sent to Denmark to be educated in 1726. King Frederick IV took a great interest in him and served as godfather when he was baptized in Copenhagen. In 1735, at the Danish court he met Nicolaus Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravians, and joined the Moravian fellowship. Zizendorf sent him back to his native country in 1737 with the assignment of founding a school for Euro-African children in Elmina. Because of a war being waged at this time between the Dutch and the Dahomey, he was not successful in his effort, was imprisoned, and fell ill with malaria. Recalled to Europe in 1740, he went briefly to the West Indies, where he married a mulatto Moravian, Rebecca Freundlich. From 1756 to 1761 and again from 1764 to his death he taught at the mission school in Christianborg. During those years he prepared a trilingual catechism with the text in Danish, Ga, and Twi. The appendix to his booklet, intended to assist European missionaries in learning Ga and Twi, was the first published grammar of a Ghanaian language.

Otto Dreydoppel, Jr.


Bibliography

Hans Debrunner, A History of Christianity in Ghana *(1967); P. Steiner, *Ein Blatt aus der Geschichte der Brudermission (1888).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.