Biographical Introduction

  • J. V. Andreae
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 162)


The principal sources of primary biographical information on Johann Valentin Andreæ are his own manuscript autobiography Vita, ab eo conscripta,12 the Breviarium (for which the extract printed in Kienast has been followed, as being an earlier version of the text than the surviving copy in the Herzog August Bibliothek)13, and Andreæ’s Geschlecht-Register of 1644. These, and the available manuscript sources, have been studied in detail by Montgomery, whose account of ‘Andreæ’s life from the sources’ (1973:I,ii) is much the most comprehensive biographical study available in English. The following notes are severely selective, and are confined to aspects of Andreæ’s life and family history which may be considered to have a clear bearing upon the interpretation of Christianopolis. They are also restricted in general to the period up to 1620, by which time Christianopolis and the related Imago had been published.


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  1. 12.
    Published in Latin in 1849, and in the same year in a German version by Seybold as Selbstbiographie. Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    Kienast (1926). Conveniently, it breaks off in 1620 just after the publication of Christianopolis. Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    The name was commonly re-Germanised as Andreä in the 19th century.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    He was also known as Schmiedjakob, Schmiedlein, Faber Fabricius and Vulcan.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Aschenbläser, souffleurs. On Montgomery’s reading, Andreæ brought a (spiritual) alchemy and (Lutheran) theology together in his Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz. Montgomery (1973 :I,passim).Google Scholar
  6. 17.
    Distinguished as the family was, life was difficult for Maria Moser: her mother died early, leaving the child to be brought up by a formidable 74-year-old grandmother. Her father remarried but was eventually abandoned by his wife, and Maria took over the management of her father’s household. Only after the death of her father did Maria marry Johannes Andreæ. (Kienast 1926:12,13).Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    J. V. Andreæ (1633) ‘Mariae Andreanae merita maternœ ‘ cited in Montgomery (1973 :I,27).Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    Hafenreffer went on to become professor of theology and mathematics at the University of Tübingen, from which position he provided the Andreæ family with support when Johann Valentin and his three brothers were students there. It was with Hafenreffer that Johann Valentin lodged in 1611 when he decided to commit himself to a career in the church, and Hafenreffer supported him when his orthodoxy was challenged.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    Later, as an undergraduate, poverty denied him access to the usual student pastimes. He took a certain pride in having never had so much as a glass of wine with his friends at Tübingen, outside his mother’s house. (Kienast 1926:15,18; similarly Newald 1951:139) On the other hand, he acquired an exceptional expertise in working with horses, and this appears in Christianopolis (ch.54) as a suitable pastime for youngsters.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    Montgomery (1973 :I,28–9). Andreæ makes fun of disputes between the medical schools in Turbo, 4th entr’acte.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    Held cites ‘Erasmus, Lipsius, Scaliger, Heinsius and De Thou’ (p.12) In Myth. Andreæ particularly commends Luther’s Comitia picarum, Melanchthon’s Didymus, Erasmus’ Julius, Curio’s Ecstaticus, Fraxineus’ Hinnulus, Vergerius’ Actiones, D. Eberhard Wirtenbergiensis Dimnas, Scipio Gentili’s Australis terra, Barclay’s Satyricon of Euphormio, Johann Reuchlin’s Epistolae obscurorum virorum, Hutten’s Diologues, Erasmus’ Praise of Folly and Ciceronianum, More’s Utopia, the Somnium of Justus Lipsius, the Hercules of Daniel Heinsius, Cunaeus Sardos venales, Bernardino Ochino’s Apologos, Holder’s Asinum avem etc., Schopper’s Reiniken, Georg Rollhagen’s Batrachomyomachiam, Stephanus’ Apologiam, Seneca’s Claudius, Nicodemus Frischlin’ s Priscianus, NaoGeorge’s Jeremias, Cardon’ s Neronem, and the Rhytmos of Johann Fischart.Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    David Magirus, in whose memory Andreæ produced a tribute, printed in J.V. Andreæ (1642) Amicorum singularium clarissimorum Funera; he published a Synopsis chronologiae sacrae Michaelis Moestlini in the same year. Maestlin’s main claim to fame today is that he was the teacher of Kepler.Google Scholar
  13. 24.
    Martin Crusius, professor of Greek and ecumenicist who sought to reconcile the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox faiths. Christoph Besold, advocate at the Tübingen ducal court, and later professor of Law, who converted to the Roman Catholic faith in 1630.Google Scholar
  14. 25.
    Kienast (1926:33–4) suggests that the then University Chancellor Enzlin sought to promote the state and its ruler by weakening the influence of the familes of dignitaries of the church;Google Scholar
  15. 26.
    Martin Brecht (1977) Theologen und Theologie an der Uni. Tübingen pp.275–6, Edighoffer ‘Johann Valentin Andreae’ Daphnis 10 (1981) pp.221–2; cited in Dickson 1998:24Google Scholar
  16. 27.
    According to the list in the Breviarium he visited Strasburg, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Mainz, Worms, Spires and Lauingen (Lavingae) in 1607; Alsace in 1610; Lausanne, Geneva, Zürich, Basel, Lyons, Paris in 1611; Austria, Ingolstadt, Passau, Carinthia, Venice, Padua, Verona, Rome and Augsburg in 1612; Belgium in 1614.Google Scholar
  17. 28.
    ‘A strong religious experience in Rome gave impetus to his renunciation of the Rosicrucians. He collected systematically an abundance of impressions in the realms of art, science, theology, politics, morality and conventions, and he sought to go to the roots of things everywhere. The longing for God and the decision to be active as a theologian accompanied him on his journeys.’(Newald 1951:140).Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Wehr (1988:13), Held p.12. In Turbo Andreæ introduces passages in French, Italian, Spanish, ‘Sarmatian’ (Slovenian and Czech), Hebrew, Greek, Low German and Rotwelsch (German thieves’ argot).(Turbo II,3 and 1 st entr’acte); elsewhere he has the beatitudes in 12 languages. (Myth.IV,3 ‘Beati’)Google Scholar
  19. 30.
    Vita p.24. The translation is slightly different in Montgomery (1973:I,43–44).Google Scholar
  20. 31.
    Vita p.24. cited Held p.13. Berneri (1950:105) has ‘Another passage in his Vita...’ It is part of the same passage in the Vita as the above, but set out by Held at another location, on p.27..Google Scholar
  21. 32.
    Wishing to draw a distinction between false and true Rosicrucians, Dickson (1996:23) renders the conclusion of this passage as ‘impostors of the Rosicrucians and chymists’. The text however is ... vel Rosacruciorum, & Pseudochymicorum imposturis — impostures not impostors (which would require ‘impostoribus’).Google Scholar
  22. 33.
    Prefatory letter to Vita, written 30 Nov. 1642, MS in Herzog August Bibliothek, cited Montgomery (1973 :I,114).Google Scholar
  23. 34.
    Vita, cited Montgomery (1973:I,179).Google Scholar
  24. 35.
    For a discussion of the way in which Andreæ sought to combine or reconcile the pietistic and orthodox strands of Lutheran theology, see Montgomery (1973: I,112 ff.). Arndt had studied under Pappus in Strasbourg, and indeed as Montgomery observes both Crusius and Planer had strong connections with the university there.Google Scholar
  25. 36.
    Selbstbiographie xvi-xvii. Cited Montgomery (1973:I,47–8 n.109), Dickson (1998: 26 and n.25)Google Scholar
  26. 37.
    Montgomery continues in a footnote to this passage: ‘We have previously pointed out that “Turbo” is really Andreæ himself — and this is likewise true of Andreæ’s Pilgrim. Andreæ’s own early wanderings evidently became for him a symbol of the general human condition .. J.V. Andreæ evidently found in himself and his family a microcosm of mankind’.Google Scholar
  27. 38.
    For Sommer (1996:125) the marriage of heaven and earth, which is repeated in the Chemistry Laboratory (ch.44) is the completion of the Chymische Hochzeit. Google Scholar
  28. 39.
    qui benè vivere attentant proscribuntur (Turbo 4th entr’acte).Google Scholar
  29. 40.
    As Montgomery notes (1973:I,53n) in referring to Vaihingen as a‘Laboratorium’ Andreæ may have intended a reference to Khunrath’s Lab-Oratorium’ pun, suggesting it was a place both of work and of prayer. On the other hand, Andreæ’s enthusiasm for Khunrath was muted: ‘Oratoriolaboratorium’ is one of the mountebank’s fake medicines in ‘Thraso’ (Myth.45), and Khunrath is listed along with such undesirables as Valentin Weigel and Simon Studion in ‘Insolita’ (Myth. 23), where alchemy is pursued in a cloud of Rosicrucian confusion.Google Scholar
  30. 41.
    On the other hand Süss (1907:3) takes it that ‘from 1614 until 1620 Andreæ lived in Vaihingen in otium cum dignitate, during which Turbo, among many other works, was completed.’Google Scholar
  31. 42.
    Part of his defence is to describe with approval the older Deacon in Christianopolis: ‘Although they [the priest and the deacon] do not differ much in age, what is shown here is exactly the sort of mutual love that there ought to be between a father and his son.’ (ch.32)Google Scholar
  32. 43.
    In the context of a widespread desire for the reform of learning Besold describes Adami as ‘a man beyond my praise, yet very friendly towards me, who was vigorously attacking the Aristotelian heresy with the weapons of Campanella, an Italian monk, in part an imitator of Telesio.’(1626a:27) Andreæ refers to him as ‘the most fortunate traveller through the world’ (orbis felicissimus peragrator) who visits a new land discovered by the Dutch in ‘Circe’ Myth. I,15. Google Scholar
  33. 44.
    See too Van Dülmen 1978:148–183.Google Scholar
  34. 45.
    Here, as in many other contexts, Andreæ refers to the restoration of ‘a literary culture’. Literatura commonly means something close to ‘science’ or ‘knowledge’ in Andreæ, rather than ‘literature’ .Google Scholar
  35. 46.
    Those named were: Johann Arndt (Celle), Johann Gerhard (Jena), Christoph Schleupner (Hof), Johann Saubert (Nuremberg), Polycarp (II) Lyser (Leipzig), Daniel Sennert (Wittenberg), Laurentius Laelius (Anspasch), Wilhelm Wense and Tobias Adami (Aldeburg), Conrad Theodoricus and Balthasar Gockelius (Ulm), Thomas Wegelin and Matthias Bernegger (Strasbourg), Christoph Besold, Wilhelm Schickhardt, Tobias Hess and J.J. Heinlin (Tübingen), Wilhelm Bidenbach (Stuttgart), Georg Achatius Enenkel (Baron von Hoheneck), Daniel Hikler (Linz), Michael Zeller and Baron Balthasar von Seckendorf (Vienna), Joachim Wickefort (Amsterdam), Ehrhard Machtolph (Durlach); Conrad Baier and Christoph Leibnitz (Nuremberg).Google Scholar
  36. 47.
    See e.g. Montgomery (1973:I,176 and n.67).Google Scholar
  37. 48.
    In a marginal note in the Breviarium Andreæ dates his friendship with Wense from 1613. See too Newald (1951:140).Google Scholar
  38. 49.
    Imago and Dextera appear to have circulated in manuscript among supporters of the Society at first, and were printed in 1620 to stimulate wider discussion.Google Scholar
  39. 50.
    Letter from Andreæ to Duke August of Braunschweig-Lüneburg 26 March, 1645. Cited van Dülmen (1978:247 n.10), Dickson (1998:43 n.76).Google Scholar
  40. 51.
    Andreæ (1642) Amicorum ... Funera.p.9 Google Scholar
  41. 52.
    Blekastad (1969:150) exaggerates the commitment of Andreæ’s supporters in ‘J.V. Andreæ had already in all secrecy won a large circle of important members for his Societas Christiana, as Bernegger, Besold, Boccalini, Joachim Morsius, Jungius, Kepler and in Nuremberg a whole circle. Johann Gerhard and Johann Arndt were also a part of it. Wilhelm von der Wense collected members for a noble Societas Solis, whose “protecting Phoenix” was Duke August von Braunschweig-Lüneburg.’Google Scholar
  42. 53.
    The fable Andreæ devotes to Arndt in Myth (I,5 ‘Arndus’ pp.5–6) concerns the practical problems of keeping up charities when people are determined to be individualistic, contributing nothing to the common good.Google Scholar
  43. 54.
    The orthodoxy of Tobias Hess (d.1614) came seriously into question. Andreæ defended him in his Tobiae Hessi immortalitas of 1619, though even there he says: ‘We believed in the paradoxical spirit of Hess and in I know not what kind of imaginary golden epoch and in what kind of curious calculation of Judgement Day’. (cited in Gilly 1988:71)Google Scholar
  44. 55.
    In the previous year Andreæ contributed a poem alluding to Besold to his friend’s Politicorum libri duo. The twelve quatrains begin ‘Christum tragen Besoldet wol ... Christum tragen Besoldet gern ..., Christum tragen Besoldet bald ..., Christum tragen Besoldet gleich ..., Christum tragen Besoldet steht ... ‘ and so on.Google Scholar
  45. 56.
    Born, like Andreæ, in Herrenberg, he became professor of Mathematics and Astronomy after the death of Maestlin. He developed a cartographic method for surveying Württemberg, and built a calculating machine in 1623 (reconstructed 1960). His uncle designed Freudenstadt (see 3.1 below), and one cannot but wonder if Andreæ had access through him to the architect’s library.Google Scholar
  46. 57.
    Daniel Schwenter (1585–1636) was professor of mathematics and oriental languages at Altdorf, and had a scholarly interest in the Cabbala. Andreæ visited him in 1628 prior to composing the Verœ in support of the Nuremberg Unio Christiana.(6.1 below, and Dickson 1996:21,n.20)Google Scholar
  47. 58.
    Andreæ kept up a life-long correspondence with Kepler, as did Christoph Besold..Google Scholar
  48. 59.
    The dating assumes we can take the reference in Andreæ’s letter to Duke Augustus of 27 June, 1642, (‘it has been twenty-three or twenty-four years ...’) to be accurate, subtracting this number from the date of the letter.Google Scholar
  49. 60.
    Gilly 1988:70. Gilly and others have argued that if we assume Hess to have been one of the authors of the Rosicrucian pamphlets, and accept Melchior Breler’s assertion that they were written by ‘three men of the first rank’, the most obvious candidates for the other two would be Andreæ and Besold. Equally, if a different person or group composed the Fama, he or they could also have read Brocardo — or could have placed a similar interpretation on the well-known passage ‘he shall live for a hundred and twenty years’ (Genesis 6,3) Google Scholar
  50. 61.
    Subsequent translations included those into Dutch 1615, French 1616, Italian 1617, and English 1652. The Allgemeine Reformation der gantzen Welt that was bound in with the Fama is no longer regarded as a Rosicrucian work, being simply part of a translation of Boccalini’s Ragguaglio used by the printer to pad out the volume.Google Scholar
  51. 62.
    According to the Breviarium, Andreæ wrote the Chymische Hochzeit in 1605. It was not published until 1616. When Andreæ first admitted authorship of the Chymische Hochzeit in his catalogue of works in 1639, he described it as a‘game with the secrets of the alchemists.’(Blekastad 1969:29 n.37.)Google Scholar
  52. 63.
    ‘An Andreaes Verfasserschaft der Rosenkreuzerschriften ist eigentlich nicht mehr zu zweifeln.’ (Brecht 1988:29).Google Scholar
  53. 64.
    Montgomery (1973:I, 179,180). And perhaps also (ibid.114) ... the reveries of the enthusiasts, the predictive calculations of the Curious.’ Much earlier, in 1620, Andreæ had written that the Rosicrucian philosophy appeals to ‘divinatoribus, calculatoribus, decoctoribus, microcosmicis, ecstaticis, cabalistis, magis & in universum curiosis omnibus.’ (De curiositatis pernicie syntagma no.35).Google Scholar
  54. 65.
    Newald agrees: Andreæ held against the Rosicrucians ‘... that the true centre of life is Christ, and the Bible is the book of laws by which all people are bound; true fraternity must be a meeting of the followers of Christ ... The opposition between the true Christian and the Rosicrucians finds its clearest expression in the 25 dialogues of the Turris Babel. When the representatives of Christianity explain that it is a futile endeavour to give oneself up to astrology and numerological speculation, this means Andreæ’s complete renunciation of the things he had worked on in his youth. The work in which he describes his route to this recognition and to his critique of the times is Turbo (1616).’ (Newald 1951:144–5) This position can be challenged — in Christianopolis there are false and true astrology, false and true numerology, etc.Google Scholar
  55. 66.
    The Chymische Hochzeit was published (anonymously) by Lazarus Zetzner in Strasbourg, Andreæ’s usual publisher. The Fama and Confession were published in Cassel by W. Wessel. The Chymische Hochzeit makes no reference to the Fama or Confession; the Fama and Confession refer to each other, but make no reference to the Chymische Hochzeit. Google Scholar
  56. 67.
    ‘sondern auf das Chaös der Meinungen über Existenz, Sinn und Zweck der Fraternitas...’ (Gilly 1986:123). See too Brecht (1988a:143–1 5 1)Google Scholar
  57. 68.
    Held‘s translation runs’ ... impostors who falsely call themselves the Brothers of the Rosicrucians’ (ch.4), and in the Introduction he offers a slightly different rendition, ‘... impostors who falsely say they are Rosicrucians’ (Held p.19). It is of course in principle possible that ‘false’ is a word Andreæ habitually attaches to Rosicrucians, much as he might say ‘hypocritical priests’. In support of this, there is a passage in Verœ where it appears that Rosicrucians in general are condemned: ‘... vel Rosacruciorum, & Pseudochymicorum imposturis ... ‘(‘impostures of the Rosicrucians and pseudochymists’); the other reading would rquire ‘vel Rosacruciis ... imposturis’ (Verœ ‘pro unius Religionis’)Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

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