Johann Georg Krünitz

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Johann Georg Krünitz, painting by Ferdinand Collmann after Heinrich Franke, 1795, Gleimhaus Halberstadt

Johann Georg Krünitz (born March 28, 1728 in Berlin ; † December 20, 1796 there ) was a German encyclopaedist , lexicographer , scientist and doctor . His contribution to the economic-technological encyclopedia named after him is of particular scope and value : Der Krünitz .


Johann Georg Krünitz is the son of the businessman Georg Christoph Krünitz. From 1747 he studied medicine and natural sciences in Göttingen and Frankfurt (Oder) . After receiving his doctorate in 1749 (topic of the dissertation : De matrimonio multorum morborum remedio ), he initially worked as a doctor in Frankfurt (Oder). In 1752 he married Anna Sophie Lehmann. In 1759 he settled in Berlin, where he practiced as a doctor until 1776. After that he devoted himself exclusively to his encyclopedia.

After Anna Sophie died in 1780, Krünitz married Charlotte Wilhelmine Halle, daughter of the economist Johann Samuel Halle , in 1786 . In 1792 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina . He died in 1796 while working on the subject of corpse in Volume 73 of the Economic Encyclopedia .

"He was already working on the current volume three and seventy, and he made a few arcs from it to the article corpse"

- Friedrich Jakob Floerken : D. Johann Georg Krünitz, economic-technological encyclopedia ..., Drey and seventyth part


Economic Encyclopedia, Berlin 1779
The complete works of the Economic Encyclopedia in the Upper Lusatian Library of Sciences

After various work as a translator, author and editor of works from the fields of natural sciences, medicine and “economics”, he was entrusted by the bookseller and publisher Joachim Pauli with the development of an encyclopedia, which was initially planned as a translation and summary of two French-language encyclopedias. However, from the very first volume, which appeared in 1773, a work that far surpassed the original began to develop. At the latest from the fifth volume, published in 1775, from which it was continued on the basis of a newly designed list of lemmas , Krünitz's Oeconomic Encyclopedia is to be regarded as an independent work.

Krünitz, who had a wide range of knowledge, good language skills, immense hard work and, last but not least, an extensive private library of around 15,000 volumes, was able to complete the first 72 volumes himself. The encyclopedia was continued by several editors after his death and was not completed until 1858 with the 242nd volume. It is still considered an important source of business and technology from the period between the Enlightenment and industrialization , even though the last editor, Carl Otto Hoffmann , finished the work knowing that it would no longer meet the requirements of his time.

In the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie of 1883, August Hirsch writes in an undertone that, from today's perspective, does not seem appropriate to the performance of the specialist author Krünitz:

“He completed his habilitation here (Frankfurt aO) as a doctor and private docent, but achieved so little success in both areas that he gave up his position and returned to Berlin to devote himself exclusively to literary work. [...] In his writing activity, which assumed enormous dimensions, he has almost exclusively limited himself to compilation work. "


Web links

Wikisource: Johann Georg Krünitz  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Johann Georg Krünitz: Economic Encyclopedia or general system of the state, house and agriculture, in alphabetical order. 242 volumes. 1773-1858.
  2. Donato Clorinda: Translation and transformation of the encyclopedic genre: Johann Georg Krünitz '"Economic Encyclopedia" (1771-1858) and its French-language predecessors . In: Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Rolf Reichardt (Hrsg.): Kulturtransfer in the epochal change France - Germany 1770 to 1815 . Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 1997, ISBN 3-931922-18-9 , Vol. 2, pp. 539-565.