Practices of Erudition - Knowledge Production - Arcane Knowledge

The study of practices of scholarship and their significance for the scholarly production of knowledge in the early modern period has long been one of the research foci of the FZG and its director Martin Mulsow. Thus, since 2013, among other things. projects and conferences on the important orientalists Johann Ernst Gerhard (1621-1668) and Hiob Ludolf (1624-1704) as well as on the knowledge production of the Enlightenment, from each of which a number of publications have emerged (see below).

Of central importance for this field of research is the investigation of early modern (scholarly) letter networks. Handwritten scholarly correspondence is one of the most important treasures of the libraries. At the FZG, several editions and projects for the research of correspondences have already been created, among others of the botanist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), the Gotha duchess Luise Dorothea (1710-1767) with her lady-in-waiting Friedrike von Montmartin (1729-1752), the Baltic writer Garlieb Merkel (1769-1850), the theosophist Friedrich Breckling (1629-1711), and the radical pietist networks of the so-called Philadelphians. Currently, preliminary work is underway on the edition of the correspondence of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535) and on the complete edition of the writings of Jacob Böhme (1575-1624). In the future, the correspondence of Wilhelm Ernst Tentzel (1659-1707) and the correspondence between Duchess Luise Dorothea and Ernst Christoph von Manteuffel (1676-1749) will be made accessible through digital editions in cooperation with the Gotha Research Library and the Thuringian State Archives - Gotha State Archives.

One of the most renowned fields of philosophical and legal knowledge production from the 17th to the early 19th century was early modern natural law, for the study of which the FZG has maintained a research unit in cooperation with the Max-Weber-Kolleg and the network "International Law 1625-1850. An International Research Project" since 2019. In this context, several individual projects and studies are currently being carried out or prepared, among others on natural law at universities in the Baltic region, on natural law in Heinrich and Samuel Cocceji as well as in Samuel Pufendorf, and on Christian natural law in Johann Christian von Boineburg (1622-1672), as well as a subproject within the SFB "Structural Change of Property", which explores the natural law relations between property and custom.

Among the most prestigious fields of scholarly knowledge production in the early modern period were arcane 'sciences' such as alchemy . At the Gotha court at the end of the 17th century, alchemy was intensively practiced in order to be able to produce gold; in parallel, the princes collected manuscripts and books on the subject. An interdisciplinary working group of historians and chemists has been working on the process regulations(partly experimentally) for several years with the support of the Gerda Henkel Foundation. An anthology on alchemy in Gotha is in preparation. Finally, the focus "Arcane Knowledge" addresses research on Illuminati and Freemasons, which is described in more detail in the research field "Court - Socialization - Enlightenment".

A relatively new focus, with which Martin Mulsow at the same time returns to his dissertation, deals with Renaissance philosophy and late humanist scholarship. In addition to a project for the edition of Matteo Palmieri's "Della Vita Civile", several German-Italian summer schools on the Renaissance should be mentioned here, which will take place every two years in Loveno di Menaggio starting in 2024 in cooperation with Villa Vigoni, the German-Italian Center for European Dialogue. Also new is the program of an Intellectual Depth History. Until now, historiography has been largely limited to written certificates; the horizon usually reaches back only to ancient Greece. "Deep History", on the other hand, asks about continuities with so-called prehistory.

Research projects and networks



Publications (selection)