Johann Albert Fabricius

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Johann Albert Fabricius; Painting by Johann Salomon Wahl, around 1718.

Johann Albert Fabricius (born November 11, 1668 in Leipzig , † April 30, 1736 in Hamburg ) was a German classical philologist , bibliographer and theologian .


Fabricius received his first training from his father Werner Fabricius , music director at the St. Pauli University Church in Leipzig, who entrusted him to the care of the theologian Valentin Alberti on his deathbed .

He studied with JG Herrichen, then with Samuel Schmid in Quedlinburg , in whose library he found the two books, namely Caspar von Barths Adversaria and Daniel Georg Morhofs Polyhistor Literarius , two works in which the entire education from antiquity was summarized and the inspired him to his Bibliothecæ , the work on which his reputation is based.

In 1686 he returned to Leipzig, where he became a Baccalaureus after just a few weeks of studying . Two years later he became a master of philosophy and anonymously published his first work, Scriptorum recentiorum decas , an attack on ten authors of his time. His Decas Decadum, sive plagiariorum et pseudonymorum centuria (1689) is the only one of his works that he signed with the name Faber. He then turned to the study of medicine , which he then gave up in favor of theology.

In 1693 he moved to Hamburg , where he was planning a trip abroad, when the unexpected news that the costs of his education had consumed the entire paternal inheritance and even owed him to his trustee forced him to give up the project. In 1694 he became the lecturer and librarian of Johann Friedrich Mayer , senior pastor at the Hamburg Church of St. Jacobi and professor in Kiel . In 1696 he accompanied his patron to Sweden , and shortly after his return was traded as a candidate for the chair of logic and philosophy at the Academic Gymnasium . The vote was a draw between Fabricius and Sebastian Edzardus , one of his opponents, whereupon the appointment fell through Lot Edzardus.

In 1699 he received his doctorate in theology from the University of Kiel . Fabricius followed Vincent Placcius (1642–1699) to the chair for rhetoric and ethics at the Hamburg Academic High School, which he held until his death, rejecting calls to Greifswald , Kiel, Gießen and Wittenberg . From 1708 to 1711 he also took over the rectorate of the Hamburg Latin School Johanneum . One of his students at the Academic Gymnasium and later colleague and son-in-law was Hermann Samuel Reimarus .


Fabricius is attributed 128 books, but he is only editor for many of them. One of the most famous of these is Bibliotheca Latina (1697, reissued in an improved and corrected form in 1773 by Johann August Ernesti ). His compilations concern: the authors from the time of the Emperor Tiberius , those from the time of the Antonines , as well as from the time of the decline of the language. Another area is the fragments of old authors and chapters on early Christian literature. As a continuation, the Bibliotheca Latina mediae et infimae Aetatis (1734–1736; supplementary volume by Johann Christian Schöttgen , 1746; ed. Mansi, 1754, reprint 1858f) was published, which is related to the Middle Ages . Fabricius also contributed - not only through his translation of the physics theology by William Derham in 1728 - to the popularization of these attempts at theological proofs of God in Germany, which were popular at the time.

His main work, however, remains the 14-volume Bibliotheca Graeca (1705–1728, reviewed and continued by Gottlieb Christoph Harleß , 1790–1812), which was rightly referred to as maximus antiquae eruditionis thesaurus . Their sections are marked by Homer , Plato , Jesus , Constantine the Great and the conquest of Constantinople in 1453; a sixth section is devoted to canon law , jurisprudence and medicine.

Of the other works, it is worth mentioning:

  • Bibliotheca Antiquaria (1713), an account of the authors describing Hebrew , Greek, Roman and Christian antiques.
  • Centifolium Lutheranum , a Lutheran bibliography (1728).
  • Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica (1718).
  • Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, Collectus, Castigatus, Testimoniisque Censuris et Animadversionibus Illustratus . Hamburg 1703, which has long been regarded as an indispensable authority on apocryphal Christian literature.
  • Codex Pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti, Collectus, Castigatus, Testimoniisque Censuris et Animadversionibus illustratus , Hamburg and Leipzig 1713, Vol. 2 Hamburg 1723, with this work Fabricius coined the term "pseudepigraphs".
  • Memoriae Hamburgenses (1710-1730), 7 vols.


After Fabricius was Fabricius street in Hamburg's Bramfeld named.


Details of his biography can be found in the book De Vita et Scriptis JA Fabricii Commentarius by his son-in-law Hermann Samuel Reimarus , the well-known editor of Cassius Dio (Hamburg, 1737). See also CF Bähr in Versch and Gruber's General Encyclopedia of Sciences and Arts and John Edwin Sandys ' History of Classical Scholarship , Vol. 3 (1908).

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