Of Poets, Prophets, and Printers

Projects to Print Heterodox Religious Literature in the United Provinces and the Holy Roman Empire in the early Seventeenth Century

In: Quaerendo
Leigh T.I. Penman ARC Laureate Research Fellow in the Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University Melbourne Australia

Search for other papers by Leigh T.I. Penman in
Current site
Google Scholar
Open Access


This article identifies the personalities and circumstances behind two previously unknown heterodox religious publishing projects of the seventeenth century. The first was based in Leiden in the United Provinces, while the second originated in Dresden in Electoral Saxony. The Leiden project was likely led by the German jurist Johann Angelius Werdenhagen, who in 1628 had Jacob Böhme’s Weg zu Christo and Anna Ovena Hoyer’s Gespräch Eines Kindes mit seiner Mutter printed in Leiden at the presses of Govert Basson. This project demonstrates Werdenhagen’s centrality in the early distribution of Böhme’s theosophical doctrines in the United Provinces. The Dresden project was funded by Rosine Vogtin, who from 1642 commissioned the office of Gimel Bergen to print works by Jacob Böhme and Ludwig Friedrich Gifftheil.


This article identifies the personalities and circumstances behind two previously unknown heterodox religious publishing projects of the seventeenth century. The first was based in Leiden in the United Provinces, while the second originated in Dresden in Electoral Saxony. The Leiden project was likely led by the German jurist Johann Angelius Werdenhagen, who in 1628 had Jacob Böhme’s Weg zu Christo and Anna Ovena Hoyer’s Gespräch Eines Kindes mit seiner Mutter printed in Leiden at the presses of Govert Basson. This project demonstrates Werdenhagen’s centrality in the early distribution of Böhme’s theosophical doctrines in the United Provinces. The Dresden project was funded by Rosine Vogtin, who from 1642 commissioned the office of Gimel Bergen to print works by Jacob Böhme and Ludwig Friedrich Gifftheil.

In the landmark book Jacob Böhmes Weg in die Welt (2007), the Spanish scholar Carlos Gilly described, in exemplary fashion, the circumstances behind the publication of the first edition of the Lusatian theosopher Jacob Böhme’s Weg zu Christo (1624).1 Consisting of three short devotional tracts, this book was secretly printed in Görlitz by Johann Rhambau between the end of 1623 and the early months of 1624. The publisher of the work – the man who paid for the paper and labour involved – was the minor Silesian noble Johann Sigismund von Schweinichen. The sensation created by the volume – which marked only the second time that any of Böhme’s works had appeared in print – dominated the remaining months of the theosopher’s life, prompting disastrous recriminations even as it attracted new adherents.2 Yet our knowledge of the circumstances behind the printing of this work is exceptional. Indeed, as Gilly has remarked, when researchers approach other early editions of Böhme’s works, they are confronted with something of an evidentiary terra incognita. “Against all assurances to the contrary,” writes Gilly, “we know absolutely nothing about the place of printing or the publisher of the reprint of Der Weg zu Christo in 1628, and the same is true for almost all of Böhme’s other books, which are said to have been printed in his homeland in the seventeenth century.”3 This situation, Gilly asserts, contrasts greatly with our knowledge of the circumstances behind the early editions of Böhme’s work printed in the Netherlands, such as Josephus redivivus (1631), printed by Veit Heinrichs in Amsterdam, and the Latin-language Ψυχολογια vera (1632), printed by Jan Janszoon, likewise in Amsterdam, to say nothing of the many Dutch translations and German editions prepared throughout the 1630s and 1640s by Abraham Willemszoon van Beyerland.

The present article adds both clarity and complexity to the picture painted by Gilly. Taking advantage of comparative bibliographical data, typographical comparison, and print and manuscript evidence, it sheds new light on the publication of several little-studied editions of Böhme’s works issued in 1628 and 1642, as well the printing of heterodox religious books by other authors, like Anna Ovena Hoyer and Ludwig Friedrich Gifftheil. It identifies the key figures involved in their production and the locations where they were printed. This article is a contribution to ongoing research dedicated to charting the shifting personalities and centres of production of German-language heterodox religious literature in the seventeenth century.4 It provides evidence indicating that the first of Böhme’s books printed in the Netherlands was not Josephus redivivus (1631), as previously believed, but instead the 1628 edition of Weg zu Christo. By doing so, it reveals new dynamics, personalities and nodes behind the publication of heterodox German religious literature in the first half of the seventeenth century, and new perspectives on the sources of funding and technology necessary to produce this literature.

1 A Bibliographical Mystery: Jacob Böhme’s Der Weg zu Christo (1628)

Printed by Johann Rhambau in Görlitz in octavo format at the turn of the year 1623–1624, the first edition of Jacob Böhme’s Der Weg zu Christo was a compilation of three devotional tracts, numbering 101 leaves.5 By contrast, the 1628 edition of Jacob Böhme’s Der Weg zu Christo was issued in a smaller duodecimo format, consisting of some 263 pages.6 To the original three tracts, it added further texts by Böhme, including “Von den newen Wiedergeburt” (pp. 121–182), “De Poenetentia” (pp. 229–239), an excerpt from the fifteenth chapter of “Vom dreifachen Leben” (pp. 239–253), and a letter written by Böhme “an einem guten Freundt” on 20 April 1624 (pp. 253–260). Appended to these was an original compilation of excerpts titled “Erklärung etzlicher Wörter in den Schrifften J.B.” (pp. 260–263). The 1628 edition marked the first appearance in print of all of these additional texts. Copies are preserved in libraries in Lübeck, Münich, and Wolfenbüttel.

The seventeenth century sources, both print and manuscript, are silent about the personalities responsible for the 1628 edition.7 By the early eighteenth century, the circumstances surrounding its publication were a complete mystery, even among Böhme’s most ardent followers. A bibliographical essay printed in the 1715 and 1730 editions of Böhme’s collected works stated only that the edition added several texts to the editio princeps of 1624, as indicated above.8 Be that as it may, in the early 1750s new light was shed on the matter, in a manuscript tract by the Görlitz historian and pastor Christian Knauthe (1706–1784). Knauthe had several advantages over earlier, and many later, bibliographers. In addition to possessing a large library of manuscripts by Böhme and his followers – which, alas, had been destroyed by fire several years earlier – he had been able to directly compare the rare 1624 edition of Weg zu Christo with the edition of 1628. As far as Knauthe was concerned, both volumes were printed on the same press in Görlitz – that of Johann Rhambau – and were edited by the same person, whom Knauthe believed, albeit in error, to be Abraham von Franckenberg.9 It is unclear on what grounds Knauthe’s conclusions were based. Previously he had authored a history of Görlitz’s printers, so presumably he could be relied upon to compare paper, typefaces, and ornaments.10 Furthermore, it is possible that his library of manuscripts contained insights into the circumstances of the publication which have since been lost.

There the matter rested until 1937, when the Göttingen librarian Werner Buddecke issued a bibliographical survey of Böhme’s works. Compared to Knauthe, Buddecke had a considerable disadvantage, for he had access neither to the 1624 edition of Weg zu Christo nor to the manuscripts once in Knauthe’s possession. Although he corrected Knauthe’s mistaken assertion about Abraham von Franckenberg’s editorship, he was unable to shed any new light on the 1628 edition itself. As such, Buddecke merely repeated Knauthe’s conclusion that the book was printed in Görlitz by Johann Rhambau, adding only that “considerable care was taken with the printing.”11

Following Buddecke, later authorities also attributed the print to Rhambau. In 1991, Gerhard Dünnhaupt indicated in his landmark Personalbibliographien zu den Drucken des Barock that the 1628 edition was printed “o[hne] O[rt],” but in parentheses inserted the putative publication details as “[Görlitz: Johann Rhamba].”12 From thence, the standard German national bibliographical database Das Verzeichnis der im deutschen Sprachraum erschienenen Drucke des 17. Jahrhunderts (VD17) followed suit, indicating the place of printing as “[Görlitz]: [Rhamba], 1628.”13 The attribution has since been adopted in virtually all online library catalogues, both in Germany and abroad. There the matter rests today, but for Carlos Gilly’s warning in 2007 that, “contrary to assurances,” we know nothing at all about the printing of this book.

Gilly’s circumspection is more than warranted. That the attribution of the edition to Rhambau in Görlitz is false can be demonstrated in two ways. First, there is the evidence furnished by a bibliographical comparison of the 1628 edition of Weg zu Christo to other products of Rhambau’s press from between 1627 and 1633. An inspection undertaken in the reading rooms of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel reveals substantial differences between Weg zu Christo (1628) and all other products of Rhambau’s press. Its paper is different, the type is different, and the decorative panels and ornaments in Weg zu Christo are nowhere to be found elsewhere in Rhambau’s prints.14 Additionally, there is a recurring linguistic feature which suggests that the book was printed outside the Görlitz region. This is the presence of the negative injunction “nicht” in two separate forms, namely as nit and as nicht; the second version inclusive of the consonant phoneme known as the vocal palatal fricative ch or [ç]. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, the nit form dominated books printed in northern, western, and southern Germany, but was steadily losing ground to nicht, largely as a result of the popularisation of this form in Martin Luther’s Bible translation.15 In books issued in regions where ostmitteldeutschen dialects were spoken, like Böhme’s Lusatian and Luther’s Saxon, nicht was the form preferred in printed books. The Rhambau 1624 edition of Böhme’s work is a prime example, for in it the nit form does not appear.16 By contrast, the 1628 Weg zu Christo contains a mixture of both forms; nit occurs on at least thirty-nine occasions in the volume, while the rest of the time nicht is preferred. While the mixed usage may indicate that two separate compositors worked on the book, no other linguistic features seem to be present which confirm such a hypothesis.17 As such, the end result is apparent; the 1628 edition could not have been printed in Görlitz by Johann Rhambau, but must have been issued elsewhere.

2 Further Clues

Where, then, was the book printed? Who was its publisher? Or editor? I suggest that clues are provided in another book printed in 1628 without an indication of place or printer; Gespräch Eines Kindes mit seiner Mutter by the Eiderstedt poet and prophetess Anna Ovena Hoyer (also Hoyers, 1584–1655). This duodecimo volume of some 48 pages, the only known copy of which is preserved in the Braunschweig Stadtbibliothek, has long been known to researchers.18 It contains one of Hoyer’s earliest long-form verse works, ostensibly written for the edification of her own children. While it lacks much of the anticlerical fire of her later poems, it nevertheless promotes a subtle spiritualist teaching consonant with Böhme’s theosophy and the practical Christianity of the likes of Johann Arndt (1555–1621). For our purposes, the Hoyer book is significant because it has the same format, uses the same paper, the same type, and a typographical ornament that also appears in Weg zu Christo (1628).

To be more specific; the title-pages of both volumes (Figs. 1, 2) are not only set in a very similar fashion – note the use of roman type for the authors’ names instead of gothic – but use the same point and typefaces. This includes the capital E in ‘HErrn’ which bears a striking resemblance to the Greek ε (epsilon). The clinching aspect is that impressions from a unique ornament (6mm in height) featuring floral motifs can be found on both p. 3 of Hoyer and on pp. 183 and 260 of Weg zu Christo (Fig. 3). These typographical circumstances indicate strongly, if not conclusively, that both books were printed using the same type, on the same press, in the same year.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Böhme, Weg zu Christo (1628), title page

Citation: Quaerendo 52, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/15700690-20221145

Courtesy of Munich BSB
Figure 2
Figure 2

Hoyer, Gespräch eines Kindes (1628), title page

Citation: Quaerendo 52, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/15700690-20221145

Courtesy of Braunschweig SB
Figure 3
Figure 3

Woodcut ornament, 6mm

Citation: Quaerendo 52, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/15700690-20221145

Courtesy of Wolfenbüttel HAB

3 Identifying the Printer

Upon noticing the coincidence of the small ornament (Fig. 3), I hoped it could provide the key to identifying the printer of both volumes. To assist my inquiries, I sent images of both books to colleagues at the Ornamento project at University College Dublin.19 Within a matter of hours Prof. Alexander Wilkinson matched the ornament with one used in in multiple prints attributed to the presses of Nikolaus Bohmberg in Cologne, a printer active between 1572 and 1580. Bohmberg is a mysterious figure, who printed works in English and Low German by Hendrik Niclaes (1502–1570), founder of the Family of Love.20 The ornament in question appeared in Niclaes’ Exhortatio (1574) and Terra Pacis (1575), and was at this point substantially wider, measuring approximately 6mm × 65mm.21

There the trail would run cold, but for an observation by Herman de la Fontaine Verwey. In his landmark article on Niclaes’s bibliography, de la Fontaine Verwey noted that, after the liquidation of Bohmberg’s enterprise in or shortly after 1580, “fragments of [his] typographical material can be found in the Arnhem prints of Willem Jansz as well as in those of Thomas Basson, the English Printer in Leiden, who lived in Cologne before 1581.”22 Sure enough, when we turn to the books of Thomas Basson (1555–1613), who acquired Bohmberg’s typefaces in 1594, we find the ornament being used in multiple prints.23 The earliest usage that I have seen is in an octavo edition of Pseudo-Aquinas’s Secreta alchemiae magnolia (1598).24 Thereafter, Basson began to trim the woodblock to use in smaller formats. For example, a slightly lopsided version in Daniel Heinsius’s Eligarium liber III (1603) has a section trimmed from the left side to fit the forms of a duodecimo.25 In 1609, when preparing his octavo edition of Jacob Arminius’s Disputationes XXIV for print, Basson had more detail shaved off both sides of the woodblock, apparently to accommodate a fleuron on either side.26

In 1612, formal responsibility for the press passed to Thomas Basson’s son and successor Govert Basson (ca.1581–1643).27 He used the ornament on several occasions. In 1616, he shaved several more millimetres from both sides, until it measured 52mm, and used it in Robert Fludd’s Apologia compendiaria fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce suspicionis et infamiae (1616).28 The following year, it appeared in his edition of William Ames Ad responsum Nic. Grevinchovii rescriptio contracta (1617), a work printed for the so-called Pilgrim Fathers who were soon to emigrate to North America. This volume, however, appears to have been executed by a novice printer whom Basson granted access to his type and presses.29 In 1618, Basson shaved a few more millimetres from the left side of the woodblock before using it in the second edition of Daniel Heinsius’ Dissertatio epistolica.30 This gave the decoration a slightly lopsided look, with dimensions of 6mm × 49mm. It was in precisely this form that the ornament appeared again in both the Böhme and Hoyer volumes, issued in 1628.

The unbroken usage of this ornament by three printers over half a century suggests that both the Hoyer and Böhme books were printed using the typefaces of Govert Basson in Leiden. Further evidence for this conclusion is provided by the circumstance that the Böhme volume features two impressions of a decorative capital C (pp. 123, 239) that was from type that Thomas Basson purchased in 1605 from Christoffel Guyot (Fig. 4).31 Nevertheless, while Basson printed works in Dutch, Latin, and French, he is not presently known to have printed any books in German. It is therefore uncertain whence the German typefaces used in the 1628 volumes derived. Several solutions are however possible. First, if Basson allowed a third party to use his type and presses – in a fashion similar to the arrangement in 1617 with the Ames volume – they may have brought with them some of their own type. Second, Basson himself maintained relations with printers in Frankfurt am Main, and may have sourced his type from there at some point in anticipation of moving into the German market.32 Third, it is possible that German typefaces were acquired by Thomas Basson from Bohmberg in 1594. Although the mass production of typefaces hinders any conclusion to be made in this regard, Bohmberg’s German type is similar to that used by Basson in 1628.33 Indeed, a gothic capital D on p. 176 of Weg zu Christo appears to be an impression from the same capital used by Bohmberg in his edition of Hendrik Niclaes’ Terra Pacis (1580).34 This indicates that Bohmberg’s enterprise could have been the origin of the German typefaces used in 1628.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Capital letter, 12mm

Citation: Quaerendo 52, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/15700690-20221145

Courtesy of Wolfenbüttel HAB

To the typographical evidence we might also add some biographical material which provides personal contexts for Basson’s involvement in the enterprise. First, as Bögels has documented, Govert Basson’s life was to an extent defined by his religious commitments. His adherence to Remonstrant doctrines – officially suppressed in 1619—led to an interest in religious toleration, even as it narrowed the horizons of his business. Alastair Hamilton and Govert Snoek have both suggested that Basson’s interest in ‘occult sciences’ like alchemy and the Rosicrucian fraternity – emblematised by his printing of key works in these fields – might indicate an inclination toward tolerant theosophical doctrines of a kind promoted in the works of Böhme and Hoyer.35 Second, Basson’s fortunes had been in decline since 1619, when the printer’s Remonstrant faith was forbidden by order of the state. By 1625 Basson’s business was in terminal decline, as publications trickled from his presses. He found it difficult to attract new authors, and was criticised for his overreliance on worn typefaces. By the late 1620s Basson’s financial situation was dire, and it ultimately forced him to liquidate the business in 1630 and relocate to Amsterdam.36 In 1628, therefore, there was thus every reason for Basson to take up a potentially lucrative offer from a publisher to print works by German sectarians, even if secretly. We might add that Basson was no stranger to dabbling in unauthorised editions, having done so on occasions in the past.37

In sum, the typographical and bio-bibliographical evidence indicates that the 1628 edition of Jacob Böhme’s Weg zu Christo was not printed in Görlitz by Johann Rhambau, but in Leiden using the typefaces of Govert Basson. As such, the book is the first of Böhme’s books printed in the Netherlands, antedating his Josephus redivivus (1631) by some three years.

4 The Publisher

The identification of Basson in Leiden as the printer brings into focus the question of the publisher and editor of the Böhme and Hoyer volumes. Here there are relatively few candidates, for, as Carlos Gilly has observed, in the late 1620s there were “not many people in the Netherlands, foreign or native, who knew the name Jacob Böhme.”38 First, there is Basson himself, who was a publisher as well as a printer. We have seen above that some scholars believe Basson may have been sympathetic to heterodox religious doctrines, and might thus have been inclined to fund the production of these volumes. Nevertheless, Basson’s dire financial situation at the end of the 1620s suggests that he was unlikely to have been in a position to assume the publication costs. Indeed, the Böhme and Hoyer volumes seem not to have been intended for a commercial market, but instead for private distribution, likely by a third party.39

Who might this third party have been? While Weg zu Christo offers little concrete guidance on the question, the Hoyer volume again contains a substantial clue. On the title-page verso of Gespräch Eines Kindes mit seiner Mutter is a verse-form address “to the Christian reader.” This twenty-eight-line poem is an invitation to the reader to take the words of their female author seriously and to heart.40 Indeed, it advised that the book, on account of its inspiration by the Holy Spirit, meant that nobody should have reservations about the fact that it was written by a woman. If followed, its precepts would lead the reader to eternal repose in the Kingdom of God:

Das auch die Weißheit nicht zuholln
Von Welt-gelehrten und Hohen-Schuln/
Sondern vom Heyligem Geist allein
Mus erbeten und gelernet sein/
GOtt woll das sich niemand wol schämn
Von Frawn guth Exempel zu nehmn: […]
Der Heyliger Geist dich illustrir/
Und dich zum Reich Gottes recht führ.41

At the conclusion of the poem are the initials of its author, and, as Barbara Becker-Cantarino has suggested, the publisher of the volume; I.A.W.42 These are the initials of the well-known German jurist and statesman Johann Angelius Werdenhagen (1581–1652). If Werdenhagen is the putative publisher and editor of Hoyer’s book, it stands to reason that he also acted in the same capacity for the 1628 edition of Böhme’s Weg zu Christo.

Werdenhagen has long been known as a figure sympathetic to spiritualist Christianity.43 Born in Helmstedt, he was a child prodigy with a formidably acute mind. Despite his prominent position as a jurist and political theorist throughout the Holy Roman Empire, he was a long-standing opponent of Scholasticism and Aristotelianism as taught in German universities. Furthermore, he opposed a self-interested ratio status in European politics, preferring instead a politics informed by Christian brotherhood. He saw the doctrines of figures like Paracelsus (d. 1541), Valentin Weigel (1533–1588), and Johann Arndt – representatives of what he believed was a suppressed tradition of age-old Christian wisdom – as offering a corrective to political, religious, and educational shortcomings of his day.44

Although Werdenhagen is best known for his diplomatic exploits of the 1630s, the roots of his spiritualistic and quasi-heterodox religious commitments lie in his earlier years. In a series of controversial lectures held during the 1617 Reformation Jubilee in Helmstedt, he betrayed his admiration for the devotional works of Johann Arndt and praxis pietatis.45 The ensuing dispute and bitter departure from Helmstedt deepened his commitment to spiritualist Christianity. In the early to mid-1620s he encountered the works of Jacob Böhme, which were introduced to him by the Silesian physician Balthasar Walther. Walther was one of Böhme’s closest followers, who evangelized on the theosopher’s behalf throughout central Europe, Italy, and France.46 In his Ψυχολογια vera (1632) – a translation of Böhme’s “Vierzig Fragen von der Seelen Urstand” – Werdenhagen records that he convened with Walther on several occasions in Lüneburg.47 While Werdenhagen doesn’t mention when these meetings took place, Walther is known to have been in Lüneburg on several occasions after February 1622.48 We know Werdenhagen’s own movements during this period only in broad outlines. Between 1618 and 1626 he was Syndikus in Magdeburg, which gave him occasion to travel widely. On 24 June 1625, for example, he was in The Hague, from whence he wrote to Herzog August of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, complaining that his diplomatic duties left little time for buying books and maintaining correspondence.49 Werdenhagen’s biographer Voigt speculates that the jurist lived in Hamburg around 1626; if true, it was in the active service of Christian Wilhelm of Brandenburg (1587–1665), the titular bishop of Magdeburg, whose employ Werdenhagen entered in that year.50 When we consider that Hamburg was closely linked with the other Hanseatic cities of Lübeck and Lüneburg, Werdenhagen likely had several opportunities to encounter Walther during this period. In 1627, Werdenhagen relocated to Leiden, where he appears to have lived until 1632, sometimes spending lengthy periods in The Hague.51 Werdenhagen’s numerous diplomatic applications to the States General during this period are preserved in The Hague, while Govert Snoek has found record of the burial of one of Werdenhagen’s infant children in the Leiden Pieterskerk in May 1628. This entry shows that the statesman lived on the Rapenburg near the university; the same street as Govert Basson’s printery.52

From these details, we can make several tentative conclusions. First, Werdenhagen’s meetings with Walther, and his introduction to Jacob Böhme’s oeuvre, likely took place in Lüneburg between 1625 and 1627, but may have occurred earlier. Balthasar Walther would have been the likeliest source for the Böhme texts that Werdenhagen included with Der Weg zu Christo in 1628. Second, Werdenhagen lived in Leiden at the time the book was printed, and indeed dwelled on the same street as Basson.

Rather less is known about Werdenhagen’s knowledge of Hoyer’s works. For Werdenhagen, part of the appeal of the doctrines of the Görlitz cobbler and the Eiderstedt poet stemmed from the circumstance that both authors were unlettered, which must have seemed miraculous testaments to the divine inspiration of their writings. In Lübeck in the mid-1630s, Werdenhagen was known to have been “an almost daily guest” of Heinrich Ottendorf, a merchant who also supported sectarians like Hartwig Lohmann (d. ca. 1639), Nicolaus Teting (1590–1642), and Hoyer. Indeed, Ottendorf was distributing copies of Hoyer’s Gespräch Eines Kindes in Lübeck.53 But Werdenhagen’s 1628 edition shows that he was aware of Hoyer’s works years before this particular entanglement.54 The standard biographical accounts of Hoyer state that she began to author heterodox religious poetry around 1627. As such, her writings likely came to Werdenhagen’s attention only shortly after they were composed, possibly as the jurist was sojourning in Hamburg. This is a further testament to his enmeshment in the heterodox religious correspondence and interpersonal networks of the period, and thus further evidence for the likelihood of his responsibility for the publication of the Böhme and Hoyer volumes.

5 An Editorial Collaborator?

Werdenhagen’s involvement in these networks in northern Germany prompts us to examine another name that could also be linked to both publications; the Hamburg librarian and scholar Joachim Morsius. Morsius’s potential involvement is suggested by the circumstance that Weg zu Christo (1628) reprinted a letter by Jacob Böhme of 14 April 1624 under the title “Sendbrief an einem guten Freundt.”55 The content of this letter makes it apparent that its unnamed addressee was someone who moved in the circles around Böhme’s disciple Balthasar Walther in or around Lübeck.56

In his eighteenth-century church history of Lübeck, Caspar Heinrich Starck (1681–1750) produced evidence drawn from Lübeck’s archives to show that Morsius was involved in trafficking in Böhme’s writings in Lübeck in and before March 1624, where he colluded with Balthasar Walther and Johann Staricius, and attempted to have Böhme’s Aurora printed in nearby Hamburg. Starck also recorded that an exemplar of Böhme’s Weg zu Christo (1624) had been found in Morsius’s possession.57 There is indirect evidence explaining why Morsius was in Lübeck at this time. A contemporary Lübeck chronicle reveals that, after imperial troops were billeted in Hamburg in January 1624, a steady stream of displaced Hamburgers arrived in the city seeking reprieve from the adverse conditions.58 Morsius was likely among them.

On the basis of the evidence presented by Starck, in 1928 the German folklorist and historian Will-Erich Peuckert suggested that Morsius was likely the addressee of Böhme’s letter of 24 April 1624.59 A year later, Morsius’s biographer Heinrich Schneider sponsored Peuckert’s conclusion, calling it “undoubtedly correct.”60 If we also accept Peuckert’s findings, then the presence of Böhme’s letter in the 1628 edition of Weg zu Christo might indicate Morsius’s involvement in the publication, either as the publisher, or as the supplier of texts to Werdenhagen. It is pertinent to remark that Morsius himself was present in Leiden in January 1628, where he remained for a brief time.61 There was thus ample opportunity for him to have met Werdenhagen and even Basson during this period.

Nevertheless, there are three important points which cast doubt on Morsius’s involvement. First, despite the assurances of Peuckert and Schneider, there is no conclusive evidence to identify Morsius as the addressee of Böhme’s letter of 1624. Indeed, Morsius was only one of several persons in Lübeck in contact with Balthasar Walther. In a letter to Christian Bernhard of 5 May 1624, Böhme reveals that he had corresponded directly with at least three of them; the medical licentiate Johann Staricius, the patrician Leonhard Elver (d. 1649), and a certain “J. Vogen Mattje” or “J Voigt Mattze.”62 As such, Böhme’s crucial letter of 14 April 1624 could have been addressed any one of several people in Lübeck, including Werdenhagen himself, if his meetings with Walther dated back that far. Morsius is, in other words only one of several possible addressees of the letter included in Weg zu Christo (1628).

A second objection is raised by the circumstance that the book printed by Govert Basson bears none of the hallmarks of Morsius’s numerous other publications. Morsius is well known as a manuscript collector, who edited and published writings by dozens of figures during the 1620s and 1630s, including texts by the likes of Heinrich Nollius, Pseudo-Paracelsus, Paul Felgenhauer, Hugo Grotius, Jean Dartis, Gerhard Culemann, and others.63 For philological, poetic, medical, and historical works, Morsius indicated his responsibility for the publication of such books by means of the formulae “ex musaeo Morsii,” “ex bibliotheca Joachimi Morsii” and similar.64 In the case of heterodox religious works, Morsius used the evocative pseudonym “Anastasius Philareta Cosmopolita,” which might be translated as the “resurrected [or reborn] cosmopolite inclined to do good.”65 Neither of these hallmarks are present in Weg zu Christo or the Hoyer volume.

Finally, Morsius’s involvement is not essential to the publication of either book. As we have seen, Werdenhagen was in direct contact with Balthasar Walther since at least 1627—if not earlier – from whom he could have received all of the additional writings included in the 1628 edition of Weg zu Christo. It may be important to note in this regard that Werdenhagen did not sign Morsius’s Album amicorum until 9 June 1630, well after the publication of the Leiden volume.66 In sum, then, while it remains possible that Joachim Morsius played some role in Werdenhagen’s publication project, more evidence is necessary to document this role precisely.

6 Werdenhagen and Böhme’s Doctrines in the Netherlands

The identification of Basson as the printer and Werdenhagen as the publisher of Der Weg zu Christo (1628) casts the early history of the theosophical movement in the United Provinces in a new light. It upsets the narrative that the first publication of one of Böhme’s writings in the Netherlands was Veit Heinrichs’s edition of Josephus Redivivus (Amsterdam 1631).67 Equally, it contradicts Jost Eickmeyer’s suggestion that Werdenhagen’s interest in Böhme’s works was awoken after he came into contact with Böhmists in the Netherlands.68 Given that he knew Balthasar Walther personally, Werdenhagen must have been one of the earliest, if not the earliest, ambassador of Böhme’s teachings in the United Provinces.

While further research is required to substantiate this picture, it is interesting to note that, currently, the earliest known mentions of Böhme and his doctrines in the Netherlands all arrive in quick succession after Werdenhagen’s relocation to Leiden and the publication of Weg zu Christo. For example, in the late 1620s Theodor Gravius acquired a manuscript of Böhme’s De signatura rerum from some “honourable men” in the Netherlands, one of whom could have been the German jurist.69 One wonders if Gravius’s German copy of Böhme’s Vom dreyfachen Leben des Menschen, preserved today in the Bodleian Library, derived from Werdenhagen’s manuscript of that same work, which informed the substance of the jurist’s Politica Generalis (1632).70

Then there are the statements of Abraham Willemszoon van Beyerland (d. 1648), the foremost Dutch translator and publisher of Böhme’s books, who dates his own first encounter with Böhme’s works to around 1629, perhaps after coming into contact with Werdenhagen.71 Indeed, Beyerland probably owned an exemplar of Der Weg zu Christo (1628).72 In the mid-1630s, Werdenhagen provided manuscript copies of several of Böhme’s letters and tracts to Beyerland for the latter’s Dutch and German publications, and was therefore an important source of original manuscripts for Dutch Böhmists. One of the most important of these – Böhme’s especially informative letter to Abraham von Sommerfeld of 1620, in which he explained the nature and origins of his theosophy – Beyerland included in his Dutch edition of Böhme’s Vande drie Principien (ca. 1637), together with the following proemium: “This letter (together with several others) has been sent over to us, together with a request to translate the same, by Mr. Johann Angelius Werdenhagen, the better to get to know the author, his nature, wisdom, personality, and disposition, especially in his first four works.”73 In other words, Werdenhagen was an important source of original manuscript material for Beyerland, whose opinion also informed the Dutchman’s publishing choices and perhaps also translations. Around the same time as Beyerland’s statement appeared in print, the Silesian noble Abraham von Franckenberg publicly encouraged Werdenhagen to continue his private search for Böhme manuscripts, an indication that the jurist was a valued source of information to Franckenberg and other Böhmists. This testament, coming from a person who had known Böhme personally, demonstrates Werdenhagen’s importance as a source of material to followers of Böhme’s theosophy both in the Netherlands and central Europe more broadly.74

While in the 1730s the editors of Böhme’s works believed that a manuscript collection once in the “Princely East-Frisian Library in Aurich” was an important artefact of Werdenhagen’s missionary activity in the Low Countries, his important role as a theosophical envoy has gradually been forgotten or obscured.75 The rediscovery of Werdenhagen’s probable involvement in the publication of Jacob Böhme’s Der Weg zu Christo in 1628, the first book by the theosopher to be printed in the Netherlands, helps to re-orient and re-establish his importance.

7 A Heterodox Religious Publishing Enterprise in Dresden

Among the papers of the Dutch publisher and translator Abraham Willemsz van Beyerland, preserved today in Wrocław, is a note which sheds light on another early publishing project dedicated to printing the works of Jacob Böhme. Sometime in 1642, the Görlitz jurist Ehrenfried Hegenicht (1604–1680 or 1684) wrote a lengthy letter to Beyerland, informing him about the progress of his search for heretofore unknown Böhme manuscripts. Among notices concerning his discovery of copies of the theosopher’s letters among the papers of a deceased brother, the possible location of the original manuscript of Böhme’s Mysterium Magnum, and news that the autograph of Böhme’s Aurora had recently been sent from Görlitz to followers in Dresden, Hegenicht also noted the existence of a new publishing project originating from the Saxon capital: “Böhme’s Gebethbüchlin is said to be printed in High German [and] sent to the presses by an admirer in Dresden, but it has not yet appeared. The book Von Christi Testamenten, together with the writing to the Prince-Elector’s Marshal of the House, shall follow.”76 Hegenicht’s information turned out to be accurate, and both books appeared in print in duodecimo format in 1642. Although appearing without indication of either place or publisher, a colophon assured readers of the second volume that it was printed in “Sonnenburg” by the obviously pseudonymous Anastasius Morgenroth (“the resurrected aurora”); references both to apocalyptic metaphors of light common in contemporary theosophical literature.77

Some of the circumstances behind the publication of both of these volumes are known thanks to an account published in the 1730 edition of Böhme’s works. This makes clear that the books were printed in Dresden, and that both volumes were edited by Heinrich Prunius (d. 1644) of Hersfeld in Hessen, a devoted servant of Böhme’s doctrines, who compiled them from a selection of autograph and scribal copies of the theosopher’s manuscripts.78 Fortunately, there is now evidence to identify both the printer and publisher of these volumes.

The identification of the printer is relatively straightforward. Dresden had only two active printers in 1642, these being the office of the widow and heirs of the Saxon court printer Gimel Bergen II (d. 1637), and the office of Wolfgang Seyffert (d. 1659).79 A comparison of the paper, typefaces and ornaments of the Böhme volumes with the fruits of both presses indicates conclusively that they were printed by Bergen, or at least that the person responsible used type belonging to that printery. To depict but one example, a worn decorative ornament features in several publications of the office, as well as in Böhme’s Von Christi Testamenten [Fig. 5].80

Figure 5
Figure 5

Ornament used by the heirs of Gimel Bergen III

Citation: Quaerendo 52, 3 (2022) ; 10.1163/15700690-20221145

Courtesy of Wolfenbüttel HAB

This typographical evidence thus firmly establishes the identity of the printer. Unfortunately, we presently know little about the circumstances – financial, religious, and ideological – which guided the decisions of the press. What we do know is that from 1637 the press was directed by Anna Bergen, widow of Gimel Bergen II, and from 1641 by her son, Gimel Bergen III (d. 1643), who was also chief compositor following his father’s death.81 It is therefore likely that the decision to print the work was made by Anna Bergen and her son. The printing was evidently undertaken clandestinely.

Prunius’s correspondence with the Silesian theosopher Johann Theodor von Tschesch (1595–1649) also allows us to establish the identity of the publisher. This was Rosine Vogtin (ca.1604–1661). The daughter of the prominent Dresden jeweller Zacharias Göppert, she had been widowed recently by the untimely death of her husband, the Dresden court jeweller Friedrich Vogt (ca.1600–ca.1639).82 In a letter of 21 October 1641, Prunius revealed to von Tschesch that this “honest, god-fearing widow, whom God has richly bestowed with temporal goods,” was “now having J.B.’s Gebeth-Büchlein printed here in Dresden.” He then revealed that Vogtin “has pledged to donate a substantial amount of money for the printing of various theosophical writings, which I shall prepare with all fidelity.”83 The other work which this “devout Matrona” published as part of this effort was, evidently, Prunius’s edition of Böhme’s Von Christi Testamenten. It seems likely that still other books by Böhme were being prepared for publication, but outside circumstances evidently intervened, as no further volumes from this enterprise are known.

Considering these circumstances enlightens further our knowledge of the contemporary theosophical movement, for among them was Vogtin’s support for other heterodox religious thinkers. As Prunius reveals, one of these was the notorious prophet of Holy War, Ludwig Friedrich Gifftheil (1595–1661) of Württemberg, who had been sojourning in Dresden for several months. Vogtin not only regularly received visits from the prophet – Prunius describes one harrowing encounter between the two, during which Gifftheil somehow prompted Vogtin to see terrifying apocalyptic visions – but also paid the Bergen family to print several of Gifftheil’s broadsheets. The arrangement chagrined Prunius, who was keen to monopolise the widow’s purse for his own brand of pacifistic theosophy.84 Vogtin was not the only supporter of Gifftheil’s warlike doctrines in the family; her brother, fellow goldsmith Elias Göppert (fl. 1638–1665) was one of Gifftheil’s propagandists, who wrote letters on his behalf and supported the publication of his writings well into the 1650s.85 It seems probable that the familial infatuation with Gifftheil siphoned funds away which might otherwise have been used to continue the publication of Böhme’s works. Then, in 1644, Heinrich Prunius, rector spiritus of the Dresden enterprise, was himself brutally murdered; strangled to death in his lodgings in Bürgel in Thuringia, where he was instructing a local noble as Sprachmeister, after being assailed by two attackers while he slept.86 Although the motives of the murderers responsible for Prunius’s death are unknown, his demise appears to have been unrelated to the theosophical intrigues of Dresden. Nevertheless, these combined circumstances ended the short run of books by Jacob Böhme printed in Dresden on the Bergen presses. The German supporters of Jacob Böhme would be forced to look elsewhere for a press available to assist them in their missionary endeavours.

8 Conclusions

This contribution has shed light on the people and circumstances behind two heterodox religious publishing projects. The first was based in Leiden in the United Provinces, while the second originated in Dresden in Electoral Saxony. The Leiden project appears to have been led by Johann Angelius Werdenhagen, who in 1628 employed local printer Govert Basson to print Jacob Böhme’s Weg zu Christo and Anna Ovena Hoyer’s Gespräch Eines Kindes. The typographical and circumstantial evidence related to these publications overturns prior scholarly consensus that the 1628 edition of Weg zu Christo was printed in Görlitz by Johann Rhambau, and suggests that Werdenhagen was a crucial figure, if not the crucial figure, in the early transmission of Böhme’s theosophical doctrines to and within the United Provinces. The Dresden project was funded by Rosine Vogtin, who from 1642 commissioned the office of Gimel Bergen III to print works by Jacob Böhme and Ludwig Friedrich Gifftheil. The editions of Böhme’s works funded by Vogtin were edited and prepared for publication by Heinrich Prunius.

There remain several tasks for further research. More research on the complex of figures around Werdenhagen in Leiden and northern Germany will likely tease out further details of his publishing contributions and his broader role in the promotion of heterodox religious and theosophical doctrines in the Netherlands. This research will also contribute to understanding of the early reception of the works of Anna Ovena Hoyer, which remains understudied. That this reception is tied up – to an extent, at least – with that of Böhme’s works is indicated by Johannes Moller’s note that Hoyer’s later collection Geistliche und Weltliche Poemata (Amsterdam 1650), was seen to press by Michel le Blon, another major translator and publisher of Böhme’s works, perhaps again with Werdenhagen’s involvement.87 Further research will perhaps further enlighten the circumstances behind the support that Böhme seemed to attract from figures attending the Electoral Saxon court in Dresden and its surrounds. Consideration of these figures may well offer new avenues into understanding the roles played by women like Rosine Vogtin in the promotion of prophetic and theosophical literature of the period. From the perspective of book history, the findings of this paper concerning Govert Basson’s activity on Werdenhagen’s behalf reveal heretofore unknown links between the German and Dutch publishing markets for heterodox religious literature. Further examination of other printed books from the 1620s and 1630s, focussing on their typographical peculiarities, and the circumstances and people behind their production, may enlighten the history of German-language heterodox religious publishing more generally, and the poets, prophets, printers and publishers who drove this industry.


The author would like to thank Günther Bonheim, Paul Dijstelberge, Fiona McHenry, Paul Hoftijzer, Arthur der Weduwen, Alexander Wilkinson, and the staff of the Stadbibliothek Braunschweig.


C. Gilly, ‘Wege der Verbreitung von Jacob Böhmes Schriften in Deutschland und den Niederlanden,’ in: T. Harmsen, Jacob Böhmes Weg in die Welt (Amsterdam 2007), pp. 71–98.


On the printing of excerpts from Böhme’s Aurora in a 1620 work by the Torgau chiliast Paul Nagel, see L.T.I. Penman, ‘Repulsive Blasphemies: Paul Nagel’s Appropriation of Unprinted Works by Jacob Böhme and Valentin Weigel in his Prodromus astronomiae apocalypticae,’ in: Daphnis, 38:3–4 (2010), pp. 597–622.


Gilly, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 80: ‘Entgegen anderslautenden Beteuerungen, weiß man überhaupt nichts über Druckort oder Verleger des Nachdrucks von Der Weg zu Christo im Jahr 1628 und das Gleiche gilt beinahe für alle frühen Drucke, die in Böhmes Heimat bis spät im 17. Jahrhundert erscheinen sein sollen.’ Gilly was referring especially to Werner Buddecke, Die Jakob Böhme-Ausgaben. Ein beschreibendes Verzeichnis. 1. Teil. Die Ausgaben in deutscher Sprache (Göttingen 1937), nos.16, 32, 138, 140, 181, 185, 186.


Prior research in this area includes W. Heijting, ‘Hendrick Beets (1625?-1708), Publisher to the German Adherents of Jacob Böhme in Amsterdam,’ in: Quaerendo, 3 (1973), pp. 250–80; F. van Lamoen, Abraham Willemsz van Beyerland. Jacob Boehme en het Nederlandse hermetisme in de 17e eeuw (Amsterdam 1986); F.A. Janssen, ‘Böhme’s Wercken (1682): Its Editor, its Publisher, its Printer,’ in F.A. Janssen, Technique and Design in the History of Printing (Leiden 2004), pp. 345–50; L.T.I. Penman, ‘A Heterodox Publishing Enterprise of the Thirty Years’ War: The Amsterdam Office of Hans Fabel,’ in: The Library, 15 (2014), pp. 3–44; L.T.I. Penman, ‘A Heterodox Publishing Enterprise of the Thirty Years’ War: Additions to the Catalogue of Hans Fabel’s Publications,’ in: The Library, 19 (2018), pp. 360–7; D. Hakelberg, ‘Die fanatischen Bücher des Benedikt Bahnsen. Leben und Bibliothek eines religiösen Dissidenten,’ in: Bibliothek und Wissenschaft, 48 (2015), pp. 113–46; W. Heijting, ‘Christian Hoburg’s Lebendige Hertzens-Theologie (1661): A Book in the Heart of Seventeenth-Century Spirituality,’ in: Religious Minorities and Cultural Diversity in the Dutch Republic, ed. A. den Hollander et al. (Leiden 2014), pp. 192–207; J. Müller, ‘Transmigrant Literature: Translating, Publishing, and Printing in Seventeenth-Century Frankfurt’s Migrant Circles,’ in: German Studies Review, 40 (2017), pp. 1–21.


[J. Böhme], Der Weg zu Christo. In zweyen Büchlein…. Gestellet Durch einen Liebhaber Gottes, und der recht gründlichen warheit. (No place [Görlitz]: No printer [Rhambau] Im Jahr des Herrn Christi, MDCXXII [i.e. 1624]). On Rhambau see C. Reske, Die Buchdrucker des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts im deutschen Sprachgebiet. 2nd ed. (Wiesbaden 2015), pp. 323–4.


[J. Böhme], Der Weg zu Christo. In zweyen Büchlein … Gestellet durch Iacobum Böhmen, sonst Teutonicus genandt (No Place: No Printer, Im Jahr des Herrn Christi, MDCXXVIII). VD17 12:104661F.


By these sources I refer to the vast archives of material related to Böhme’s theosophical movement preserved in the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, the Biblioteka Uniwersytecka in Wrocław, and the Oberlausitzische Bibliothek der Wissenschaften in Görlitz.


The essay in question, along with the entirety of the 1730 edition, has been reprinted in Jacob Böhme, Sämtliche Schriften, ed. W.-E. Peuckert, 11 vols. (Stuttgart 1956–1961), vol. 10, p. 97: ‘Hiemit war der Weg gebahnet, und ward dieses Büchlein [sc. Der Weg zu Christo] so beliebt, daß es Ao. 1682 [sic for 1628] etwas klärer und deutlicher zum andernmal, iedoch mit 2 Büchlein, als von der Wiedergeburt und dem Schlüssel Göttlicher Geheimnisse, wie auch dem 15. Cap. aus dem dreyfachen Leben vermehret, heraus gegeben wurde.’ The fact that not all of the tracts added to the edition of 1628 were listed by this anonymous author may indicate that he did not possess an exemplar of the book.


Wrocław, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka (hereafter BU), Ms. Akc 1947/70(iii), pp. 399, 422, 426 (Christian Knauthe, ‘Bibliotheca Boehmistica’).


C. Knauthe, Annales typographici Lusatiae Superioris oder Geschichte der Oberlausitzischen Buchdruckereien (Lauban 1740).


Buddecke op. cit. (n.3), no. 15 p. 57.


G. Dünnhaupt, Personalbibliographien zu den Drucken des Barock. Band 1. Abele-Böhse. 2nd ed. (Stuttgart 1990), pp. 681–2.


See the listing for the volume in <> (last accessed 13 June 2022).


I compared the exemplar in HAB Wolfenbüttel (sig. A: 1282.3 Theol. (3)) with M. Flügel, Christliche Predigt Uber der Leich/ Des weyland … Herren Martini Seidemans … (Görlitz 1627) (sig. Lpr. Stolb. 20994) and Catalogus Medicamentorum, Tam Simplicium, Quam Compositorum, ut et Chymicorum Officinae Pharmaceuticae Buttnerianae In Republic. Gorlicensi (Görlitz 1633) (sig. Mf 324).


See H.U. Schmid, ‘Sprachlandschaften und Sprachausgleich in nachreformatorischer Zeit. Martin Luthers Bibelübersetzung in epigraphischen Zitaten des deutschen Sprachraums,’ in: Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik, 65 (1998), pp. 1–41 especially pp. 30–2 and map 14; R. Peters, ‘Ostmitteldeutsch, Gemeines Deutsch oder Hochdeutsch? Zur Gestalt des Hochdeutschen in Norddeutschland im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert,’ in: Die deutsche Schriftsprache und die Regionen. Entstehungsgeschichtliche Fragen in neuer Sicht, ed. R. Berthele, et al. (Berlin 2003), pp. 157–180 at p. 175.


I thank Günther Bonheim, co-editor of the in-progress edition of Jacob Böhme’s works, for this insight (personal communication, November 2021).


See instances of nit in Böhme, op. cit. (n. 6), pp. 38, 41, 57, 58, 69, 70, 81, 82, 83, 91, 97, 101, 118, 119, 127, 156, 157, 160, 161, 173, 178, 196, 200, 203, 204, 205, 207, 209, 216, 235, 239, 243, 246, 247, 248, 251, 252, 253, 256 etc.


A.O. Hoyer, Gespräch Eines Kindes mit seiner Mutter/ Von dem Wege zur wahrer Gottseligkeit (No Place 1628) Braunschweig Stadtbibliothek, sig. C1775/3 (12°); VD17 56:729094G. The book is described bibliographically in B. Becker-Cantarino, ‘Werkbibliographie Anna Ovena Hoyers,’ in: Wolfenbütteler Barock-Nachrichten, 12 (1985), p. 98 and Dünnhaupt, op. cit. (n.12), p. 2170 no. 3.I.1. On the text see C. Niekus-Moore, ‘“Mein Kindt, nimm diß in acht”: Anna Hoyers’ ‘Gespräch eines Kindes mit seiner Mutter von dem Wege zu wahren Gottseligkeit’ als Beispiel der Erbauungsliteratur für die Jugend im 17. Jahrhundert,’ in: Pietismus und Neuzeit, 6 (1980), pp. 164–85.


The Ornamento project and database is online at <> accessed 28 December 2021.


H. de la Fontaine Verwey, ‘De Geschriften van Hendrik Niclaes: Prologomena eener bibliographie,’ in: Het Boek, 26 (1941–42), pp. 161–222. See also Reske, op. cit. (n. 5), p. 488.


H. Niclaes, Exhortatio I. The first exhortation of H.N. to his children and to the famelye of loue by him newly perused … (Cologne 1574), sig. 57r; H. Niclaes, Terra pacis A true testification of the spirituall lande of peace (Cologne 1575), sigs. 2r, 9r.


De la Fontaine Verwey, art. cit (n. 20), pp. 161–222 at 211: ‘Een lang bestaan schijnt aan deze drukkerij echter niet beschoren te zijn geweest en waarschijnlijk is zij kort na 1580 geliquideerd. Fragmenten uit haar typographisch material vinden wij terug in de Arnhemsche drukken van Willem Jansz en eveneens bij den Engelschen drukker Thomas Basson te Leiden, die vóór 1581 te Keulen gevestigd was.’ In later articles, the scholar developed a tentative thesis connecting Bohmberg and Basson, going so far as to speculate that the Englishman ‘moved the entire print-office of the Family of Love [run by Bohmberg] to Leiden and continued it there.’ See H. de la Fontaine Verwey, ‘Thomas Basson en het Huis der Liefde,’ in: Het Boek, 35 (1961–62), pp. 219–24 at 224.


J.A. van Dorsten, Thomas Basson, 1555–1613, English Printer at Leiden (Leiden 1961); J.A. van Dorsten, ‘Thomas Basson (1555–1613), English Printer at Leiden,’ in: Quaerendo, 15 (1985), pp. 195–224 at 197, 208 (important addenda and corrigenda to the published monograph). P. Valkema Blouw, Dutch Typography in the Sixteenth Century (Leiden 2013), p. 893.


T. Aquinas, Secreta alchemica magnolia (Lugduni Batavorum: Ex Officinâ Thomae Basson 1598), p. 11. USTC 429862.


D. Heinsius, Eligiarum lib. III. Monobiblos, Sylvae, in quibus varia. (Lugduni Batavorum: Ex Officinâ Thomae Basson 1603), pp. 1, 39, 76, 123, 199, 299. USTC 1015936.


J. Arminius, Disputationes XXIV De diversis christianiae religionis capitibus (Lugduni Batavorum: ex officina Thomae Basson 1609), sig.)?(ii. USTC 1027667.


T.S.J.G. Bögels, Govert Basson: Printer, Bookseller, Publisher (Leiden, 1612–1630) (Leiden 1992).


R. de Fluctibus [Robert Fludd], Apologia compendiaria fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce suspicionis et infamiae (Lugduni Batavorum, Apud Godefridum Basson 1616), p. 3. STCN 260658812.


W. Ames, Guilielmi Amesii ad Responsum Nic. Grevinchovii rescriptio contracta (Prostant Lugduni Batavorum Apud Guiljelmum Brewsterum in Vico Chorali, 1617), p. 1. STCN 059314583. See further R. Breugelmans, ‘The Pilgrim Press: a Press that did not Print (Leiden 1616/17–1619),’ in: Quaerendo, 39 (2009), pp. 34–44 especially figs. 3–8. R. Harris and S.K. Jones, The Pilgrim Press: A Bibliographical and Historical Memorial of the Books printed at Leyden by the Pilgrim Fathers. 2nd, ed. R. Bruegelmans, (Nieuwkoop 1987), pp. 74–5, p. 141; Bögels, op. cit. (n. 27), pp. 139, p. 142.


D. Heinsius, Dissertatio Epistolica, An viro literatus ducenda sit uxor, & qualis? Item ejusdem alia Amoeniora opuscula (Lugduni Batavorum, Apud Godefridum Basson, 1618), pp. 1, 75. STCN 059592265.


Bögels, op. cit. (n. 27), pp. 7–8, p. 45 with the initial depicted on p. 307.


Bögels, op. cit. (n. 27), pp. 75–80. VD17 39:130185Q is a Latin work printed in Frankfurt am Main and published by Basson in 1616.


See for example J. van Heurne, Die histori natur unnd bedeutnuß des erschroecklichen cometen, welcher gesehen ist im jar unsers Herren 1577 (Cologne 1578). USTC 636827.


H. Niclaes, Terra Pacis Ware Getuegenisse van idt geistelicke Landtschop ([Cologne], 1580), sig. 12r.


A. Hamilton, The Family of Love (Cambridge 1981), pp. 107–111, pp. 142–3; G. Snoek, De Rozenkruisers in Nederland voornamelijk in de eerste helft van de 17e eeuw. Een inventarisatie (Haarlem 2006), pp. 308–10, pp. 324–5.


Bögels, op. cit. (n. 27), p. 180, pp. 185–192. The sale of Basson’s books, including the printer’s overstock, is documented in Catalogus Officinae Librariae Godefridi Basson. Boek-winckel van Govert Basson Boeckverkoper en Drucker tot Leyden. Dewelcke men int openbaer t’ zijnen Huyse beginnen sal te verkopen, op Maendach den XV. Aprilis 1630. Lugduni batavorum. Apud Godefridum Basson, 1630. Neither Hoyer nor Böhme appear among the ‘Hooghduytsche Boecken ongebonden’ on pp. 62–4.


Bögels, op. cit. (n. 27), pp. 86–9.


Gilly, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 81.


This is suggested both by the paucity of surviving exemplars of both books, and by the absence of both volumes from the 1630 auction catalogue of Basson’s business (see above note 36).


A critical edition of the verse is in S.A. Safije Sheiki, ‘“Warheit kompt doch endlich ans liecht.” Edition und Kontextualisierung zweier Gedichte aus der Sammlung Geistliche und Weltliche Poemata (1650) von Anna Ovena Hoyer (1584–1655)’ M.A. dissertation, Uppsala Universitet, 2020, pp. 16–18.


Hoyer, op. cit. (n. 18), sig. [A1v]; Sheiki, op. cit. (n. 40), pp. 16–18.


Becker-Cantarino, art. cit. (n. 18), p. 98 notes that the Braunschweig exemplar is bound together with a copy of Werdenhagen’s Idea Boni Regentis, Sive Politici (Leiden 1632) suggesting further some kind of relationship between Werdenhagen and the Hoyer volume.


The following sketch is based on A. Voigt, Über die Politia generalis des Johann Angelius von Werdenhagen (Amsterdam 1632) (Erlangen 1965); E. Neubauer, ‘Johann Angelius Werdenhagen,’ in: Geschichts-Blätter für Stadt und Land Magdeburg, 38 (1903), pp. 59–130.


Gilly, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 82.


A. Brendecke and M. Friedrich, ‘Reformationsjubiläum als Kritik. Das ‘wahre Christentum’ in J. Angelius, ‘Werdenhagens acht Helmstedter Reden von 1617,’ in: Rottenburger Jahrbuch für Kirchengeschichte, 20 (2001), pp. 91–106.


On Walther see L.T.I. Penman, “Ein Liebhaber des Mysterii, und ein großer Verwandter desselben.’ Toward the Life of Balthasar Walther, a Wandering Paracelsian Physician,’ in: Sudhoffs Archiv, 94:1 (2010), pp. 73–99; L.T.I. Penman, ‘Jacob Boehme’s Student and Mentor: the Liegnitz Physician Balthasar Walther (1568-ca. 1631),’ in: Offenbarung und Episteme: Offenbarung und Episteme: Zur europäischen Wirkung Jakob Böhmes im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert (Berlin 2012), pp. 38–74; L.T.I. Penman, ‘A Second Christian Rosencreutz? Jakob Böhme’s Disciple Balthasar Walther (1558-c.1630) and the Kabbalah. With a Bibliography of Walther’s Printed Works,’ in: Western Esotericism, ed. T. Ahlbäck, (Åbo 2008), pp. 154–72.


J. Angelius Werdenhagen, Ψυχολογια vera I. B. T. XL quaestionibus explicata (Amsterdam: Jansson, 1632), pp. 63–4; Gilly, art. cit. (n. 1), pp. 82–83.


J. Böhme, ‘Epistolae theosophicae’ in Böhme, op. cit. (n. 8), vol. 9, p. 91: ‘Herr Balthasar Walther hat mir aus Lüneburg, alda er sich ietzo aufenthält, geschrieben und anbefohlen, den Juncker zu salutiren.’


Wolfenbüttel HAB, Ms. BA, II, fol. 12r.


Voigt, op. cit. (n. 43), p. 10.


On 1/11 August 1628 Werdenhagen signed the dedication to his Poematum Juvenilia (Leiden: Commelin, 1629) in The Hague.


G. Bonnie Snoek, Handschriften und Vrienden van Jacob Böhme in Leiden en Amsterdam (Haarlem 2018), p. 201; H. Dreitzel, ‘Johann Angelius Werdenhagen,’ in: Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Die Philosophie des 17. Jahrhunderts. Band 4. Das heilige Römische Reich Deutscher Nation Nord- und Ostmitteleuropa, ed. H. Holzhey and W. Schmidt-Biggemann (Basel 2001), p. 677, pp. 689–693, p. 742.


On Ottendorf and his circle see C.H. Starck, Lubeca Lutherano-Evangelica, das ist, der Kayserlichen, Freyen, und des Heil. Römischen Reichs Hanse- und HandelStadt Lübeck Kirchen-Historie (Hamburg 1724), p. 806, pp. 809–10, pp. 984–5. It is apparent that the edition of the book distributed by Ottendorf differed significantly from Werdenhagen’s edition of 1628. See the description and further references in Dünnhaupt, op. cit. (n. 12), p. 2170 no. 3.I.2; J. Moller, Cimbria literata. 3 vols. (Copenhagen 1744), vol. 1, p. 265.


Hannover, Niedersächsische Landesbibliothek, Nachlaß Molanus, Ms. XLII, 1989, 2, fol. 162r is a letter by Werdenhagen in Magdeburg to Arnoldus Hoyer dated 27 April 1625, but is not relevant to the poet.


Böhme, op. cit. (n. 6), pp. 253–260 under the title ‘Sendbrief an einem guten Freundt.’


Böhme, op. cit. (n. 6), pp. 257–258: ‘Was aber anlanget den grund der hohen Naturlichen geheimbnüssen, dessen der Herr umb mehrer erleuterung nebenst Herr Waltern und Herren Leonhart Elvern, begeret, wolle er bey H. Waltern darumb nachfragen: Denn ich habe euch und ihme eine Erklärung, nebst anderen newen Schrifften mit geschicket.’ Might the ‘Erklärung’ mentioned here have been the ‘Erklärung etzlicher Wörter in den Schriften J.B.’ included in Böhme, op. cit. (n. 6), pp. 260–3?


Starck, op. cit. (n. 53), p. 796: ‘Joachim Morsius, Hamburgensis, welcher sich der Händel/ deren sich Jo. Staritius, Walter/ und andere unterfangen/ A. 1624 theilhafftig gemachet/ mit bösen Büchern sich schleppe/ wie ihm den selbiges Jahres ein Zauberisches Buch durch E.E. Raths deputirte abgenommen worden/ so auch ein ander fanatisches Buch: Morgenröthe der Natur/ welches er einem Hamburgischen Buchdrucker/ Henrich Carsten/ zum Druck gebracht/ durch dessen Verwahrlosung nebst einem andern enthusiastischen Buche: Der Weg zu Christo/ so er einem Manne aus Mecklenburg geschencket/ ihnen/ dem Ministerio in die Hände gerathen sey.’ Compare the summary in H. Schneider, Joachim Morsius und sein Kreis (Lübeck 1929), p. 52.


Lübeck, Stadtbibliothek, Ms. Lub. 2° 78, unpag., s.d.


W.-E. Peuckert, Die Rosenkreutzer. Die Geschichte einer Reformation (Jena 1928), p. 288, p. 423 and is repeated in W.-E. Peuckert, Das Rosenkreutz, 2nd ed. (Berlin 1973), p. 249, p. 376: ‘Die tatsache, daß Morsius 1624 mit Walter und Elver in Lübeck enthusiastischer Umtriebe beschuldigt wurde und daß man bei ihm Böhmes Weg zu Christo beschlagnahmte, gestatten die Annahme, daß der 55. Sendbrief an ihn gerichtet war (55,11); Was anlangt den Grund der hohen natürlichen Geheimnisse, dessen der Herr um mehrer Erläuterung nebenst Herrn Waltern und Leonhard Elvern begehrt usw., bezeichnet ja eben denselben Kreis, und da nur Morsii Name nicht genannt wird, war er wohl der Empfänger.’


Schneider, op. cit. (n. 57), p. 42, p. 117: ‘Zweifellos ist dieses ohne Adresse überlieferte Schreiben an Morsius gerichtet … Jedenfalls steht fest, daß Walter der Vermittler war, denn er kannte Böhme von den Morsiusfreunden am besten und er konnte zugleich die Bekanntschaft mit Franckenberg vermitteln.’


G. Hegenicht, Itinerarium Frisio-Hollandicum (Leiden 1630), p. 133; Lübeck StB, Ms. hist. 8° 25, 3, fols. 575r, 631r, 659r, 667r; R. Kayser, ‘Joachim Morsius (geb. 1593, gest. um 1644),’ in: Monatshefte der Comenius-Gesellschaft, 6 (1897), pp. 307–19 at p. 313; Snoek, op. cit. (n. 35), pp. 411–12.


Wrocław BU, AKC 1975/334 (A2α), fols. 30r–v (Böhme to Christian Bernhard, 5 May 1624), where the author reveals he had written a ‘föderungs Briff’ to Staricius on Bernhard’s behalf, and stated; ‘Auch habe ich den beiden Herren von lübeck / welche mir geschriben hatten / geantworttet vnd Jeden ein exemplar des gedrückten büchleins geschickt / welche Herr waltern wol bewust sint.’ Bernhard identified Elver and ‘Mattje’ as the addressees of these two letters in a marginal gloss, which indicates that they had been included as enclosures. The latter name, although written in a clear hand, has not yet been adequately deciphered or identified with an actual person.


A bibliography of these works is provided in Schneider, op. cit. (n. 57), pp. 74–7.


For some examples, see VD17 23:296079F; 23:295872S; 23:293058X, etc.


On the epithet see L.T.I. Penman, The Lost History of Cosmopolitanism: The Early Modern Origins of the Intellectual Ideal (London 2021), p. 75. For some examples, see VD17 3:306197G; 14:664178U; 23:291792G, etc.


Lübeck, Stadtbibliothek, Ms. hist. 4° 25,2, p. 310; Schneider, op. cit. (n. 57), p. 108.


Gilly, art. cit. (n. 1), p. 85: ‘Bei der ersten Veröffentlichung einer Schrift Böhmes in deutscher Sprache in den Niederlanden handelt es sich um einen Auszug aus dem Mysterium Magnum … das unter derm befremdlichen Titel Josephus redivivus im Jahr 1631 zu Amsterdam bei Veit Heinrichs erschien.’


J. Eickmeyer, ‘Ein Politiker als Böhmist: Johann Angelius Werdenhagen (1581–1652) und seine ‘Psychologia Vera J[acobi] B[öhmii] T[eutonici]’ (1632)’ in Offenbarung und Episteme. Zur europäischen Wirkung Jakob Böhmes im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. ed. W. Kuhlmann and F. Vollhardt (Berlin 2012), pp. 67–91 at p. 73.


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Ashmole 1399 II, pp. 72–7 (Gravius, ‘De vitae suae, studiorumque institutis’) cited in E.G.E. van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius (1600–1669) en zijn wereld. PhD. Dissertation, University of Leiden 1987, p. 652. On Gravius, see W. Poole, ‘Theodoricus Gravius (fl. 1600–1661): Some Biographical Notes on a German Chymist and Scribe Working in Seventeenth-Century England,’ in: Ambix, 56 (2009), pp. 239–52; A. Hessayon, “Teutonicus’: Knowledge of Boehme among English Speakers before the English Civil War,’ in: Daphnis, 48 (2020), pp. 247–69.


Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1442, V, fols. 1r–69r. Gravius’s copy is, however, faulty. It stops abruptly in the midst of chapter eleven, and omits or paraphrases numerous passages. Werdenhagen, Universalis introductio in omnes respublicas: sive politica generalis (Amsterdam 1632), on this work, see further Voigt, op. cit. (n. 43), passim.


On Beyerland see C. Gilly, ‘Zur Entstehung und Wirkung der Handschriftensammlung Abraham Willemsz van Beyerlands,’ in Harmsen, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 99–132; F. van Lamoen, ‘Mit dem Auge des Geistes: Hintergründe zu den Übersetzungen des Abraham Willemsz van Beyerland,’ in Harmsen, op. cit. (n. 1), pp. 133–167.


G. Snoek, ‘Die Bibliothek von Abraham Willemsz van Beyerland laut dem Inventar seiner Witwe,’ in Harmsen, op. cit. (n. 1), p. 206, includes an entry for ‘een vande wech tot Christo’ which was likely the edition of 1628.


J. Böhme, Het tweede boek van d’auteurs Vande drie Principien, trans. and ed. Abraham Willemsz van Beyerland (No Place [ca. 1637]), p. 500; ‘Desen brief is ons (nevens meer andere) over ghesonden door den Heer Iohannes Angelio Waerdenhage, met versoeck de selvige te translateeren, ende by dit Boeck te doen drucken, om also den Auteur (syne wijsheydt, person, ende oordeel van syne vier eerste boecken) te beter te connen kenne.’ See also Böhme, op. cit. (n. 8), vol. 10, p. 96.


A. von Franckenberg, Trias mystica (Amsterdam 1651), pp. 99–114 at p. 114 (Franckenberg to Werdenhagen, Ludwigsdorf 13 August 1637). On account of its status as a dedicatory epistle, the letter was omitted from A. von Franckenberg, Briefwechsel, ed. Joachim Telle (Stuttgart and Bad Cannstatt 1995).


Böhme, op. cit. (n. 8), vol. 10, pp. 133–134 in an anonymous note dated 3 February 1729: ‘So befinden sich auch noch in der Fürstl. Ost-Friesischen Bibliothek zu Aurich drey MSta von den ersten Copisten, welche der Autor, wie man dafür helt, selber revidiret hat, nemlich ein nicht ganz completes dreyfaches Leben, die 40. Fragen von der Seelen, und das Tractätlein vom irdischen und himmlischen Mysterio, iedes in Quarto, und in geschrieben Pergament eingeheftet, nach Inhalt zuverläßigen Berichts, von gewisser Hand. Und is zu vermuthen, daß gedachte MSta durch den mehrmalen angezogenen frommen JCtum Herrn Werdenhagen, dahin warden gelanget seyn, und daß selbige 40 Fragen wol eben das Exemplar gewesen, dessen er sich in der Übersetzung zu seiner Psychologia vera bedienet hat.’ The library was dissolved by public auction shortly after the above account was penned, and is thus unavailable to shed any light on Werdenhagen’s interests, if it was indeed related to them at all. Catalogus Bibliothecae principalis, publica auctione distrahendae Auricae Die 19. Aprilis & seqq. 1746 (Aurich [1746]), p. 528, item 59 of the Quarto manuscripts is: ‘Drey Mystische Tr[actaten] von Jacob Böhmen, a) der vierte Theil von der Seelen Urstand etc., b) Bericht von dem irrdischen Mysterio. c) dreyfaches Leben des Menschen.’


Wrocław BU, Ms. Akc. 1977/132, p. 16 (Hegenicht to Beyerland, 1642): ‘Das Gebethbüchlin dießes Authoris [sc. Böhme] sol in Hochdeutsch … durch die liebhaber in Dreßden zu druck befördert sein, habe es aber noch nicht gesehen. Das Büchlein vom den 2. Testamenten, nebenst dem Schreiben an den Churfürstl: HaußMarschall, soll folgen.’


Böhme, Von Christi Testamenten 2. Büchlein: Das 1. von der H. Tauffe/ wie dieselbe im Grunde zu verstehen/ und warumb ein Christ sol getaufet werden; Das 2. von dem H. Abendmahl des Herrn Christi/ was das sey/ nütze und würcke/ und wie dasselbe würdig genossen werde? Wie dieselbe[n]/ beydes nach dem Alten un[d] Newen Testament müssen verstanden werden (Sonnenburg: Anastasio Morgenroth 1642) VD17 12:104859W another version, without the colophon, is preserved in Halle UB, VD17 3:310983R; Böhme, Gebethbüchlein auff alle Tage in der Wochen (No Place: No Printer 1642). Descriptions of the volumes are provided by Buddecke, op. cit. (n. 3), nos. 169, 180 and Dünnhaupt, op. cit. (n. 12), nos. 16.1 and 17.I.1. Gebethbüchlein is not separately designated in VD17, a matter which should be rectified.


Anon., ‘Von den alten und neuen Editionen oder Abdrücken dieser Schriften,’ in Böhme, op. cit. (n. 8), vol. 10, pp. 94, 101. Here the editors suggest, mistakenly, that both books were printed in 1641.


Reske, op. cit. (n. 5), pp. 166–7.


Compare Böhme, op. cit. (n. 77: Von Christi Testamenten), sigs. G11v, N5r; Verneuerte Taxa und Moderation (Dreßden: Gedruckt bey Gimel Bergens, Churf. Sächß. HofeBuchdruckers, Seligen, nachgelassener Wittib und Erben, Jm Jahr 1642), sig. B1v (VD17 15:744146E); Augustus Augspurger, Reisende Clio (Dreßden, Gedruckt und vorlegt durch Gimel Bergens S. Erben, 1642), sig. H4v (VD17 23:271921H).


Reske, op. cit. (n. 5), p. 167; R. Schmidt, Deutsche Buchhändler. Deutsche Buchdrucker. Band 4. (Berlin-Eberswalde 1907), p. 667.


See the anonymous notices in Deutsches Familienarchiv 96, (1988), p. 8, p. 21; Mitteldeutsche Familienkunde Band V, 17/4 (1987), p. 113.


Wolfenbüttel HAB, MS 67 noviss. 4o, fols. 104v (Prunius to Tschesch, 21 October 1641): ‘Ich habe es aus dem MST. des Autoris selbst copiret. Sie hat sich auch erbothen, ein ansehenlich stück geldes zu spendiren zu mehreren drucke dieser und anderer Theosoph[ischen] Schrifften, darzu Ich den trewlich helffe mit arbeiten und ermahnen, daß Sie der Liebe Gott beÿ solchen Sinne und Christlichen Vorsatze erhalten wolle.’ Other copies of this letter preserved in Görlitz, OLBdW, LA III 393, fols. 1r–4v, Wrocław, BU Ms. Akc 1977/126, pp. 39–44 and Düsseldorf, LKA: Nachlass Prof. J. F. Gerhard Goeters, 7 NL 015, Nr. 742, do not preserve this key passage. See further on this letter and the correspondence T.B. Karnitscher, Der vergessene Spiritualist Johann Theodor von Tschesch (1595–1649). Untersuchungen und Spurensicherung zu Leben und Werk eines religiösen Nonkonformisten (Göttingen 2015), p. 217.


See the sequence of five broadsheets written by Gifftheil preserved in Wesel, Archiv der evangelischen Kirchengemeinde, Gefach A 59,4 item nos. 1, 7, 30, 31, 14 addressed to the leaders of Sweden and the Imperial armed forces. On Gifftheil, see further L.T.I. Penman, By His Sword: Vengeance, Prophecy, and Holy War in the Life of Ludwig Friedrich Gifftheil (Oxford forthcoming).


Dresden HStA, 10024 Geheimer Rat, Loc. 10026/7; Gotha Forschungsbibliothek, Ms. Chart. A 413, fols. 245r–v (Gifftheil to Lorenz Grammendorf, [1643]). Friedrich Breckling’s list of Gifftheil’s supporters in Gotha FB, Chart. B 962, fols. 33r, 34v includes both ‘Rosine Vogtin zu Dreßden’ and Elias Göppert in a list of Gifftheil’s followers.


L.T.I. Penman, ‘Jacob Böhme and his Networks,’ in: Jacob Böhme and his World, ed. B. Andersson et al. (Leiden 2019), pp. 98–120 at p. 117.


Moller, op. cit. (n. 53), vol. 1, p. 264.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 102 102 24
PDF Views & Downloads 97 97 25