Vicedom, Georg Friedrich (1903-1974)

German Protestant missiologist

Photo courtesy of the Archives Mission EineWelt, Neuendettelsau, Germany
Photo courtesy of the Archives Mission EineWelt, Neuendettelsau, Germany

Vicedom was born into a farmer’s family in northern Bavaria and was trained in the seminary of Neuendettelsau, with additional ethnological preparation at Hamburg University. In 1929 he took up pioneer mission service in the highlands of central New Guinea, following the example of Christian Keysser. The outbreak of war in 1939 forced his return to Germany where he confronted the challenge of combining a leading post at the mission headquarters with teaching assignments in the mission seminary, at the church faculty of Neuendettelsau, and later, on a part-time basis, at Erlangen University. His wide-ranging publications are an indication of Vicedom’s significance as teacher and researcher. While a massive ethnological survey of the Mbowamb tribe in New Guinea (Die Mbowamb, 3 vols., 1943) established his reputation in the field of anthropology, there followed a whole range of missiological studies, centered around the biblical foundation of missions, the importance of mission for the church, and the dialogue of religions. Vicedom’s bibliography contains more than 400 titles, a dozen of them major books. He also exercised a profound influence on world Lutheranism as a whole and in the ecumenical movement. On behalf of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, Vicedom undertook a survey of Christianity among the hill tribes of Taiwan, published under the title Faith that Moves Mountains (1967). His missiological heritage will be widely remembered in connection with the term missio dei, which, though not coined by him, he interpreted with a theocentric emphasis for the theology of mission.

Hans-Werner Genischen, “Vicedom, Georg Friedrich,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 701-2.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.



Vicedom, Georg F. Actio Dei: Mission und Reich Gottes. München: Kaiser, 1975.

_____. Beiträge zur systematischen Theologie. München: C. Kaiser, 1968.

_____. Church and People in New Guinea. London: United Society for Christian Literature, 1961.

_____. Das Abendmahl in den jungen Kirchen. München: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1960.

_____. Das Dilemma der Volkskirche: Gedanken u. Erwägungen. München: Claudius Verl, 1961.

_____. Das Geheimnis des Leidens der Kirche. München: Chr. Kaiser, 1963.

_____. Die Mission am Scheideweg. Berlin, Hamburg: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1967.

_____. Die Mission der Weltreligionen. München: C. Kaiser, 1959.

_____. Die Mission stellt sich der Kritik unserer Zeit. Bad Salzuflen: MBK-Verlag, 1961.

_____. Die missionarische Dimension der Gemeinde. Berlin: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1963.

_____. Die Rechtfertigung als gestaltende Kraft der Mission. Neuendettelsau: Freimund, 1952.

_____. Die Taufe unter den Heiden. München: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1960.

_____. Die Weltreligionen im Angriff auf die Christenheit. München: Chr. Kaiser, 1956.

_____. Ein Volk Findet Gott: Erweckung in Formosa. Bad Salzuflen: MBK-Verlag, 1962.

_____. Faith That Moves Mountains: A Study Report on the Amazing Growth and Present Life of the Church Among the Mountain Tribes of Taiwan. Taiwan: China Post, 1967.

_____. Gebet für die Welt: das Vater-Unser als Missionsgebet. München: C. Kaiser, 1965.

_____. Jesus Christus und die Religionen der Welt: Die Botschaft des Neuen Testaments in der Auseinandersetzung mit den Fragen der Religionen nach Wahrheit, Offenbarung und Erlösung. Wuppertal: Aussat-Verlag, 1966.

_____. Junge Kirche in Neuguinea. Stuttgart: Evangelischer Missionsverlag, 1962.

_____. Missio Dei: Einführung in eine Theologie der Mission. München: C. Kaiser, 1958.

_____. Mission im ökumenischen Zeitalter. (Gütersloh): Gütersloher Verlagshaus G. Mohn, 1967.

_____. Mission in einer Welt der Revolution. Vorträge über die Aufgaben der Mission in einer Zeit der sozialen Erneuerung. Wuppertal: Theologischer Verlag Brockhaus, 1969.

_____. The Mission of God; An Introduction to a Theology of Mission. Saint Louis: Concordia Pub. House, 1965.

_____. A Prayer for the World; The Lord’s Prayer, a Prayer for Mission. St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House, 1967.

Vicedom, Georg F. and Andrew Strathern. Myths and Legends from Mount Hagen. [S.l.]: Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, 1977.

Vicedom, Georg F., Barbara Hertz, and Karl H. Hertz. The Challenge of the World Religions. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963.

Vicedom, Georg F. and Herbert Tischner. Die Mbowamb; die Kultur der Hagenberg-Stämme im östlichen Zentral-Neuguinea. Hamburg, Cram: de Gruyter, 1943.

Vicedom, Georg F. and José Míguez Bonino. Christ and the Younger Churches: Theological Contributions from Asia, Africa and Latin America. London: S.P.C.K., 1972.


Müller, Klaus W. Georg F. Vicedom As Missionary and Peacemaker His Missionary Practice in New Guinea ; a Research Based Mainly on His Own Writings. Neuendettelsau: Erlanger Verl. für Mission und Ökumene, 1993.


The photo has been used with permission from Archives Mission EineWelt, Neuendettelsau, Germany, and information about the archive and its collection may be found at: