Inventory of the correspondence of Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654)

Kupferstich von Wolfgang Kilian, Inventar-Nr. A 372

Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), writer of devotional literature, preacher, Christian utopian, art collector, naturalist and member of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, represents an imposing but ambiguous figure among theologians of the first half of the 17th century. As the newly emerging research on Andreae has pointed out, his practical- and piety-oriented theology, his effort to found a societas Christiana and his fundamental participation in Rosicrucianism, which he denied later in his life, all these aspects of his work belong to a European movement for the renewal of intellectual culture, spiritual literature and modern sciences. The correspondence of Johann Valentin Andreae provides an important key to understanding the network of theologians and scholars with whom he was in contact, as well as to investigating the development of his concept of piety and his connections with Rosicrucianism, as well as to tackling questions about the history of the production of art and its circulation or aspects of everyday life. His correspondence therefore opens up new research perspectives on 17th century-church history as well as on hermetic traditions and thus makes a contribution to German studies, to research on Pietism and to the histories of “mentality” or “war”.

The project aims to catalogue the correspondence of Johann Valentin Andreae, to digitalize the documents and to provide a Repertoire in form of an on-line database and a printed catalogue. The basis of sources for the project comprises a collection of about 5300 letters, most of which are hold in the Herzog August Bibliothek (according to latest estimates, about 4827 items from the total amount). In addition, 350 “occasional poems” and 10 entries in family registers have to be catalogued. Andreae’s early correspondence was almost completely destroyed by a fire in the city of Calw in 1634, during the Thirty Years War. The writings preserved in the Herzog August Bibliothek cover Andreae’s exchange of letters with theologians and scholars during the last period of his life. The most extensive correspondence – about 1295 letters – consists of his exchange with Duke August von Braunschweig-Lüneburg. In the course of his work on gospel harmony the Duke sought the advice of Andreae, who in 1638 was given the position of court chaplain in Stuttgart. The project will establish a list of letters with information on any attached documents, correspondents, their original dates and numbers as well as places of destination and secondary literature thus offering a practical research tool for those wishing to work with the Andreae correspondence and provide a basis for further work on their content. In addition, the project will make a substantial contribution to the database Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO) which has been established at the University of Oxford and the Bodleian Library under the direction of Howard Hotson, and thus open up the Andreae correspondence to international research.




Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Duration: October 2012 – September 2015 (printed inventory will be published in 2018)
Researcher: Dr. Stefania Salvadori