Johann Daniel Schöpflin

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Contemporary engraving
Age picture, engraved by Egid Verhelst
Grave monument of Johann Daniel Schöpflin in the Thomaskirche, Strasbourg

Johann Daniel Schöpflin (born September 6, 1694 in Sulzburg , † August 7, 1771 in Strasbourg ) was professor of history, eloquence and constitutional law at the University of Strasbourg . One of his students was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe .

childhood and education

Johann-Daniel Schoepflin was born on September 6, 1694 in Sulzburg ( Margraviate Baden-Durlach ), where his father was mayor. He had married Anne-Catherine Bardolle in Colmar in 1692, who came from an Evangelical Reformed family from Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines (German Markirch, also Mariakirch, Alsatian Màrkirich) and whose father was mayor of Reichenweier (French Riquewihr, Alsatian Richewihr) was. Jean-Daniel had six brothers and sisters. After the family moved to Basel , Johann-Daniel began studying at the local university in 1709 at the age of 13 . From 1711 he studied theology at the Evangelical Lutheran University of Strasbourg because his father, now a church tax collector in Riquewihr, wanted his son to become a pastor. Instead, Johann-Daniel was more enthusiastic about the history of antiquity and the Latin language and literature.

Johann-Daniel's brother Jean-Frédéric later became a printer in Luttenbach near Münster (French: Luttenbach-près-Munster, Alsatian Lütteba bi Minschter) and printed his brother's works ( Alsatia illustrata 1751 and 1761). His sister Sophie-Élisabeth ran the household, Johann-Daniel, who remained unmarried and led a secluded life. She outlived her brother by a few years and became his heir.

Scientific work

In 1720, at the age of just 26, Schoepflin was appointed to the chair of history and rhetoric at the University of Strasbourg and quickly gained an important reputation as a scientist. He turned down appointments at renowned universities such as Frankfurt (Oder) , Uppsala and Leiden , as well as at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg , as head of the Vienna court library or as prince educator for the Austrian heir to the throne Joseph . 1728 was Schoepflin canon at the Lutheran St. Thomas Church in Strasbourg.

On the occasion of the official marriage of Louis XV. With Maria Leszczyńska on August 15, 1725 in Strasbourg, Schoepflin had first contacts to the royal court in Versailles. He stayed several times at the court of Stanislaus I. Leszczyński in Lunéville , the father-in-law of Louis XV and at that time Duke of Lorraine and Bar . In 1740 Schoepflin was appointed court historiographer and councilor to the French king, and from 1746 to 1751 he stayed in Paris.

In 1738 Schoepflin became Emperor Karl VI in Vienna . presented. This monarch, who was very interested in genealogical questions , was very impressed by Schoepflin's derivation of the ancestral line of the House of Habsburg from Gerhard von Alsace and who with Eticho even extended this to the time of the Merovingians.

On several extensive trips through Europe between 1726 and 1739, Schoepflin made connections with important scientists of his time, including Bernard de Montfaucon , Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle , Johann Christoph Gottsched , Christian Wolff , Johann Jakob Bodmer , Johann Jakob Breitinger , Albrecht von Haller , Johann Jacob Vitriarius , Lodovico Antonio Muratori , Johan Arckenholtz and Hans Sloane . He also maintained contacts with the Scholars' Academy of the St. Blasien monastery , there especially with Martin Gerbert and Rustenus Heer .

Because of his diverse regional and supra-regional connections, Schoepflin was often used as a mediator in political disputes in the Upper Rhine region. Because of his numerous contacts, he also had access to libraries and archives that were closed to other scholars. He published the results of his extensive research and studies in mostly multi-volume works. On the occasion of the celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the invention of printing, he published two papers in 1750 in which he claimed the invention of printing with movable type for Johannes Gutenberg and Strasbourg . Schoepflin's History of Alsace ( Alsatia Illustrata ) was published in 1751 as the result of years of studies , supplemented in 1772 and supported by two volumes of historical documents ( Alsatia diplomatica ). In 1760 Schoepflin was commissioned by Karl Friedrich von Baden to conduct extensive research into his family history. This resulted in a seven-volume story of Baden. Schoepflin followed the mathematical method of teaching in his works, always written in elegant Latin, based on Christian Wolff .

Schoepflin's reputation attracted many members of the European nobility, v. a. from Central and Northern Europe, to study in Strasbourg. With the support of Étienne-François de Choiseul , Schoepflin set up a diplomatic school for them, which imparted current knowledge on history, political science and international law. At the same time, Schoepflin set up a historical school. a. the Palatinate historian Andreas Lamey , his successor in Strasbourg Christoph Wilhelm Koch and the lawyer and diplomat Christian Friedrich Pfeffel belonged. Johann Wolfgang Goethe studied with Schoepflin from 1770 to 1771. In out of my life. Poetry and Truth (1808–1831) he described how he, instead of devoting himself to jurisprudence, as his father wanted, preferred to deal with history and, above all, medieval poetry in Strasbourg .

In December 1740 Johann Daniel Schoepflin became an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg . In 1763 he was a co-founder of the Electoral Palatinate Academy of Sciences in Mannheim , of which he later became the first honorary president.

Schoepflin's private collection of archaeological finds formed the basis of the Musée archéologique de Strasbourg . Its library of historical and philological works and manuscripts comprised around 10,000 volumes and was kept in the Strasbourg City Library. There it was completely destroyed by Prussian artillery fire in 1870, as was Schoepflin's other estate during the siege of Strasbourg in the Franco-Prussian War .


Schöpflin was a celebrity in scientific circles in Europe whose sphere of activity extended far beyond Strasbourg . His correspondence is an informative documentation of university and scientific activities , but also of culture and diplomacy in the Age of Enlightenment . His comments on contemporaries and current events are an important source of the cultural structure of his time. Due to his works, Schoepflin is considered to be the founder of an academic south-west German regional history. Because of his extensive use of historical sources such as documents and records, he can be seen as a forerunner of the history of the 19th century .



Individual evidence

  1. Juergen Voss: Schoepflin Jean Daniel. In: New German Biography. Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, pp. 430-432.
  2. Louis Spach : Biographies alsaciennes. Volume 1, Paris / Strasbourg 1866, pp. 143–171 ..
  3. This genealogy corresponds to the wishful thinking of the time, but not to modern knowledge.
  4. Louis Spach: Biographies alsaciennes. Volume 1, Paris / Strasbourg 1866, pp. 143-171.
  5. ^ Jürgen Voss: L'École diplomatique de Strasbourg: L'ENA de l'Ancien Régime? (last checked on May 3, 2019) in: B. Vogler, J. Voss (ed.): Strasbourg, Schoepflin et l'Europe au XVIIIe siècle (Paris Historical Studies, 42). Bouvier, Bonn 1996, ISBN 3-416-02622-5 , pp. 205-214
  6. ^ Franz Xaver von Wegele:  Lamey, Andreas . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 17, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1883, p. 568.
  7. ^ Foreign members of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1724. Johann Daniel Schöpflin. Russian Academy of Sciences, accessed November 8, 2015 (in Russian).
  8. Acta Academiae Theodoro-Palatinae , Vol. 1, 1766, p. 7.
  9. ^ Johann Daniel Schöpflin: Scientific and diplomatic correspondence . Edited by Jürgen Voss. Thorbecke, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-7995-7448-4 (supplements of Francia , No. 54).

Web links

Commons : Johann Daniel Schöpflin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files