1 map, 2 figures, 5 facsimile reproductions
Text language: German
The present volume gives insight into the long missionary life of Ernst and Sophie Denninger. Together they worked for almost thirty years in the former Dutch East Indies, trying to bring their faith to the indigenous people. The last stage of their life full of deprivations and toil was on Nias, an island off the west coast of Sumatra. The independent protestant church on Nias today, with communities distributed all over the island, bears vivid witness of Ernst and Sophie’s creative power.
To be properly able to reach out to their flock the Denningers had to learn and document several indigenous languages. Unfortunately, most of their linguistic work got lost. Only two documents from the Nias period survived, as well as instructions on how to use the Nias language properly. One of the Denninger’s achievements was the written documentation of this language. According to the author, the description of the observations the couple made at the various missionary stations of their life are much more important than their linguistic work.
Ernst had the gift to vividly describe not only the rain forest in Borneo or the steep mountains and deep valleys on Nias under the pitiless burning sun, but also the difficulties of dealing with the people there, especially while trying to win them over to his own faith. The precision of Ernst Denninger’s reports render his writings a remarkable research study.