Berlin Wednesday Society

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The Berlin Wednesday Society (or Society of Friends of the Enlightenment) was an association of various public figures in Berlin in the late 18th century, committed to the ideas of the Late Enlightenment from 1783 .


The society was founded by the theologian Wilhelm Abraham Teller . Members were u. a. the Prussian Finance Minister Carl August von Struensee , the Oberfinanzrat Johann Heinrich Wloemer , the poets Leopold Friedrich Günther von Goeckingk , Christian Konrad Wilhelm von Dohm , the theater director and writer Johann Jakob Engel , the Chamber Judge Friedrich Wilhelm von Benecke (1752-1793), Friedrich Gedike , Karl Franz von Irwing , the lawyer Ernst Ferdinand Klein , Franz Michael Leuchsenring , the doctors Johann Carl Wilhelm Moehsen and Christian Gottlieb Selle , the preachers Johann Joachim Spalding and Johann Friedrich Zöllner , Karl Gottlieb Suarez , and the enlightenment theologian and editor of the General German Library Friedrich Nicolai ; The famous protagonist of the Enlightenment, Moses Mendelssohn , became an honorary member .

It was only through this learned (secret) society, which stood out from the Monday Club , which had existed at the same time and which had existed for a long time - which had a more social character - that the Berlin Enlightenment , whose opinion forum became the Berlin Monthly Journal , in which almost every member of the Wednesday Society was able to spread and which, after Werner Krauss , became the most important forum of the Late Enlightenment. With the short-lived Berliner Blätter and the Neue Berlinische Monatsschrift Biester continued to work in the sense of an Enlightenment that had meanwhile been supplanted by idealism , but the monthly never reached the level of earlier years, when Immanuel Kant enriched the Berlin monthly with many articles - until Biester , the chief librarian of the "Kommode" and last of the Berlin Enlightenment, died in 1816. As early as 1798, the Wednesday company of Friedrich Wilhelm III. been disbanded because it allegedly threatened internal security .

The Wednesday Society played an important role in the processing of the drafts for the general land law for Prussia put up for discussion by King Friedrich II in the spring of 1784 . For the first time a limited public was given by “wise men”, as Frederick II called them, the processing of the drafts for the land law drawn up on behalf of the king for further elaboration and the members of the Wednesday Society also belonged to the secret “wise men” who discussed the drafts.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Editor Hermann Glaser: Exercise field of modernity - industrial culture in Berlin in the 19th century , CH Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Munich 1984, page 31