Pietism and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Prussia

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From to his death in , Friedrich Hoffmann, a Halle university professor of medicine, personal friend of Francke and great collector himself, helped with his connections to acquire objects for the collections, especially exquisite minerals.

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He also contributed towards writing textbooks to teach anatomy and botany. The online database of archival manuscripts at the Francke Foundations gives an overview of the extent of the network of letters around the Curiosity Cabinet of the Francke Foundations.


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Between and , about a hundred letters sent to Halle were directly connected to the natural cabinet. Most of them accompanied natural or artificial specimens sent to Halle with the explicit aim of being displayed in the cabinet. Table 1 shows the places, from which the letters were sent: donations from other cabinets, for example duplicates of whale penises, as well as ore samples were sent mainly from neighbouring places in Prussia and other parts of the conglomerate of states that the Paris publisher Guillaume de Lisle called in L'Allemagne. Sometimes, the ore samples were sent by explorers directly from neighbouring mines.

They are documented in 16 letters between and ; and 22 letters between and Manuscript Database Website. Town Provenience. Number of Letters. Harzgerode, Germany. Altengottern, Germany.

Esslingen, Germany. Regensburg, Germany.


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Hannover, Germany. Arkhangelsk, Russia.


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Tranquebar, India. Kopenhagen, Denmark.

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Querfurt, Germany. Astrakhan, Russia. Saalfeld, Germany. Sankt Petersburg, Russia. Bayreuth, Germany.

The Prussian Military State

Sondershausen, Germany. The development of the Realschule, a new type of secondary school leading towards engineering, the crafts, and the arts, thus all disciplines that are non-universitarian, and work with materials, is due to this Pietist hub. The first long-lasting school model, after attempts at Halle, was the Royal Realschule at Berlin, founded by a former teacher of the Francke Foundations, Johann Julius Hecker, in There have been single attempts to explain this phenomenon: 1. The missionary work in India had from its beginning, a strong scientific and explorative background, partly due to the interest of the British Royal Society.

The objects sent from India to Halle reflect this interest.

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The Prussian kings of the 18th century, foremost Friedrich Wilhelm I and Friedrich II, were interested in making the crafts, mining, and agriculture more efficient by adapting scientific methods. The whole science of economy had as its background explorations of nature and its use.

The Francke Foundations had to raise money to finance themselves, and they had children to educate that were not particularly adapted to university studies, so they might have embraced directives from the developing sciences of cameralism that integrated studies of agriculture, mining and economy as a welcome solution for their financial and educational questions, fostered by the new politics. Parts of the collections, such as the craft models, botanical and mineral specimens have catered to these goals.

Pietism and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Prussia

Apart from Francke himself, single outstanding personalities helped to shape the direction of the Francke Foundations, who happened to be not only Pietists, but also collectors and producers of mathematical and craft models, like the Theologian Christoph Semler, or collectors and vivid taxonomic discussants of natural goods, like the medicine professor Friedrich Hoffmann.

As Whitmer has worked out, many of the founding colleagues had a strong mathematical-geometrical and astronomical-background, and all believed in visual forms and aids of educational explanation. Taken together, these single considerations form an interpretive network, which reveals the Francke Foundations as an institution of strong Pietist belief that was nonetheless deeply rooted in political, scientific and social movements of their time.

by Dr. John C. Rao

The collections are an expression of this very successful bifocal character. Museen und Gartenkunst des Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen , Hallesche Forschungen ; Bd. Shantz, Douglas H.

Prof. Dr. (University of Zurich), Associate in History at Harvard University

Leiden: Brill, , Subrahmanyam, Sanjay. Europe's India: Words, People, Empires, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, The campaign to inculcate the new ideology of disciplined energetic obedience to the state authority derived its moral vision and institutional forms from Lutheran Pietism, a German version of ascetic Protestantism strongly influenced by English Puritanism. This work describes systematically how the collaboration between Pietism and the Prussian state not only led to an increase in the latter's power but also laid the cultural basis for the subsequent political modernization of Germany.

Io The impact of Pietist pedagogy on the Prussian army. Gawthrop , Gawthrop Richard L. Preface page xi.

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