Johann Jacob Moser

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Johann Jacob Moser, mezzotint by Johann Elias Haid (1775; after a painting by Johann Georg Oechslin)
Johann Jacob Moser, unknown artist

Johann Jacob Moser (born January 18, 1701 in Stuttgart ; † September 30, 1785 there ) was an important Württemberg constitutional law teacher and, with the title of landscape consultant, legal advisor to the Württemberg states .


Origin and childhood

Johann Jacob Moser came from the Moser von Filseck family , who belonged to the "old Württemberg honesty ", i.e. the evangelical , pietistic , bourgeois , class civil servants and pastors milieu of the Duchy of Württemberg . Early on (1716) he lost his father, Johann Jacob Moser von Filseck (* 1660 in Stuttgart), accountant of the Swabian district. The mother Helene Catharine (née Misler, * 1672 in Stade , † 1741 in Stuttgart) now had to support him and six siblings and was only able to give him an academic career under extreme restrictions.


In 1721 he married Friederike Rosine Vischer, daughter of the Württemberg councilor Johann Jakob Vischer (1647-1705) . Their eldest son was Friedrich Karl von Moser , born in Stuttgart on December 18, 1723 , a lawyer like his father, a political writer and statesman.

Professional career

In his three-year, mostly autodidactic study of law at the University of Tübingen , he turned to the ius publicum , in particular Reich journalism , and was appointed professor extraordinary at the Faculty of Law at the age of 18. However, the income associated with this turned out to be insufficient, so that he had to look for other employment opportunities.

From 1721 to 1726 he first tried his hand at Vienna. In 1724 he became an advisor to the Reich Vice Chancellor Count Schönborn in matters relating to the Reich. However, he was denied a career in the imperial service, also because he refused to convert to the Catholic faith.

In 1726 he returned to Stuttgart, where he became a real councilor and in 1727 was appointed professor at the Tübingen Collegium Illustre . However, there were disputes with the ducal censorship , so that he resigned the professorship in 1732 and at the same time resigned as a councilor. During this crisis his personal turn to pietism also took place.

In 1736 he became Professor Juris Primus Ordinarius at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder , the second largest Prussian university after Halle . But here too, after a short time, he got into difficulties with his colleagues and the Berlin administration, so that he resigned in 1739. He now lived as a private person in Ebersdorf in the Vogtland in the local pietistic community, where he wrote the German state law . In 1747 he joined the Moravian Brethren of Count Nikolaus Ludwig Graf von Zinzendorf and shortly thereafter, in 1747/1748, joined the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg as head of the office . In 1749 he became head and lecturer of a state and chancellery academy for the training of aristocrats , which he set up under the protectorate of Landgrave Wilhelm VIII of Hessen-Kassel in Hanau . He planned to reorganize it into a share- based college . Before it came to that, however, Johann Jacob Moser followed the call of the estates in 1751 in the Duchy of Württemberg as legal counsel for the landscape. Here he immediately got caught up in the constitutional conflict between the estates, who invoked their rights from the Tübingen Treaty of 1514, and the absolutist efforts of Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg. But even with the landscape, which insisted on its old class privileges, he made himself unpopular with reform proposals to promote handicrafts, trade and the common good. During the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), the duke had troops raised to rent out individual contingents to Austria . This was contrary to the constitution , because the landscape should have given its approval. As a result, the relationship between the landscape and the duke, who perceived Johann Jacob Moser as the head of the class resistance, deteriorated. In July 1759, Moser was arrested and taken to solitary confinement at the Hohentwiel fortress without any legal proceedings .

He survived the five years of deprivation in trust in God with unbroken mental condition and physical health. In order to meet his manic urge to write, no writing materials were made available to him during this time. So he wrote religious songs on the walls with soot from the fireplace - it is said to have been several hundred. In 1764 he was dismissed on a complaint from the landscape after a resolution of the Reichshofrat . The emperor, Prussia and the countryside had stood up for him. Now 63 years old, he was reinstated as a consultant for the landscape, but retired on July 16, 1770.

During the next 15 years Johann Jacob Moser worked as a writer until the end of his life.

Literary work

500–600 books, not only with legal content, but also with religious and theological subjects, come from his pen. No library in the world has brought all of its works under one roof. He was the most productive lawyer in the German language when it came to writing. This means that, on average, he produced a book about every month of his adult life. However, this “mass production” sometimes also led to unclean research and representations of facts in his works that did not stand up to scrutiny.

Johann Jacob Moser was the first to write a complete description of the positive constitutional law applicable in the old German Empire , not in the abstract according to a natural-law-philosophical system, but through a concrete description of actually valid legal norms , laws , court decisions , the origin , archival documents and the practice of the law firms . He collected the legal material found, systematized it and then presented it systematically. In doing so, he turned against deductive systems based on natural law such as those of Christian Thomasius (1655–1728) and Christian Wolff (1679–1754). The same applies to his doctrine of international law , which he derived not from natural law foundations, but from international practice. Johann Jacob Moser is considered to be the founder of German constitutional law and positive international law. He defended the traditional imperial constitution, which was composed of individual concrete legal norms and the rights, the “liberties” that they granted to individual legal entities against claims by the authorities, against what would later be defined as “ absolutism ”.

In questions of religious law, Moser took a decidedly critical stance towards the Enlightenment. In the publication Unterthänigstes Gutachten, published anonymously in 1780 , because of the current religious movements: especially in the Evangelical Church, as well as about the Imperial Commission Decree in the Bahrdtian cause , for example, he expressly spoke out against the radical Enlightenment position of Carl Friedrich Bahrdt . The critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing dedicated an answer to this work by Moser, which has only survived as a fragment.

In addition to the Reichsstaatslehre, Johann Jacob Moser also dealt with the constitutional situation in some of the numerous territories of the empire. With their multitude and diversity, however, he could not do this with the same coherence in terms of content as he had done for imperial law. His main works are:

  • Basic principles of European Völcker law in times of war ...: with e. Anh. Of what is Völcker's right with regard to the Parthie going . - Tübingen: Cotta, 1752. Digitized edition
  • German constitutional law , 50 parts, 1737–1754 (digital copies: Volumes 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , main register )
  • New German constitutional law , 20 parts, 1766–1775
  • Attempt of the latest European international law in times of peace and war , 10 parts, Frankfurt 1777–1780

More fonts

  • De comitatu principali Montepeligardo eiusque praerogativis , dissertation, Tübingen 1720
  • Required illumination of ignorance and diverse untruths , [sl] 1731 digitized and full text in the German text archive
  • The rescued complete sovereignty of the laudable Schweitzerische Eydgenossenschaff , Schramm, Tübingen 1731 Digitized edition
  • Swabian Chronicle , extended German translation of the Annales Suevici by Martin Crusius, Frankfurt 1733
  • Basic outline of today's state constitution of the German Empire: for use academ. Drafted lessons , Tübingen 1754
  • From the Teutsche Reichs-estates Landen, their estates, subjects, state freedoms, complaints, debts and meetings , Frankfurt and Leipzig 1769
  • From the Reichs-Staettischen regimental constitution. According to the imperial laws and the imperial origins, as well as from the teutsche , Mezler, Frankfurt 1772–1773 ( digitized )
  • Johann Jacob Moser's basic tenets of the now common European Völcker law in times of peace: also drafted arbitrary actions that are forthcoming among those of the European sovereigns and nations at such a time . - Franckfurt am Mayn: Raspe, 1763. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • Treatise on various special legal matters , 20 pieces, Franckfurt 1772–1777
  • Family law of the Teutscher imperial estates , Frankfurt 1775
  • Contributions to things made by the Imperial Knights , 4 items, Ulm 1775
  • Life story of Johann Jacob Moser ..., described by himself , Frankfurt 1777–1783
  • First basic teachings of the current European Völcker law, in times of peace and war , Nuremberg 1778. Digitized and full text in the German text archive
  • North America after the peace treaties of 1783 , 3 volumes, Leipzig 1784–1785


  • Albert Eugen Adam: Johann Jakob Moser as Württ. Landscape consultant 1751–1771. Stuttgart 1887 ( digitized version ).
  • Karl Otmar Freiherr von AretinMoser, Johann Jakob. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 18, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-428-00199-0 , pp. 175-178 ( digitized version ).
  • Karl Siegfried Bader : Johann Jakob Moser and the imperial cities. In: Esslinger Studies, Volume 4, 1958, pp. 43-60.
  • Karl Siegfried Bader: Johann Jakob Moser, constitutional law teacher and landscape consultant. In: Max Miller, Robert Uhland (ed.): Life pictures from Swabia and Franconia. Volume 7. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1960, pp. 92-121.
  • Ludwig Becher: Johann Jakob Moser and its significance for international law. Diss. Jur. Wuerzburg 1927.
  • Conrad Bornhak : Johann Jakob Moser as a professor in Frankfurt aO In: Research on Brandenburg and Prussian history, Volume 11, 1898, pp. 29–39 ( digitized version ).
  • Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Camerer : On the history of the Moser family = separate print from the state gazette for Württemberg. Stuttgart 1904.
  • Barbara Dölemeyer: Johann Jakob Moser's Hanauer “State and Chancellery Academy” (1750–1751) and his proposal for a private university based on shares (1750). In: New Magazine for Hanau History 2012, pp. 124–130.
  • Marianne Fröhlich: Johann Jakob Moser in his relationship to Rationalism and Pietism (= German Culture - Literature-Historical Series. Volume 3). Österreichischer Bundesverlag, Vienna 1925.
  • Andreas Gestrich , Rainer Smile (Ed.): Johann Jacob Moser. Politician, pietist, publicist. Braun, Karlsruhe 2002, ISBN 3-7650-9055-7 .
  • Adolf Laufs : Johann Jakob Moser, constitutional law teacher and landscape consultant. In: Juristische Schulung , Volume 25, 1985, pp. 670–673.
  • Karl Friedrich Ledderhose: Vischer born from the life of Friederike Rosine Moser. 2nd edition, Heidelberg 1852.
  • Karl Friedrich Ledderhose: The Life of Johann Jakob Moser. 2nd edition, Heidelberg 1852.
  • Robert von Mohl : The two Mosers in their relationship to German life and knowledge. In: Monthly pages to supplement the [Augsburger] Allgemeine Zeitung . Stuttgart (August) 1846.
  • Alexander Münch : Johann Jakob Moser, the prisoner from Hohentwiel. Brunnen-Verlag, Giessen / Basel 1937.
  • K. Eberhard Oehler: Songs from the dungeon. Johann Jakob Moser, the song writer (1701–1785). In: Blätter für Wuerttemberg Church History, Volume 91, 1991, pp. 349–358.
  • Reinhard Rürup : Johann Jakob Moser. Pietism and Reform (= publications of the Institute for European History Mainz . Dept. Universal History, Volume 35). Franz Steiner, Wiesbaden 1965
  • Erwin Schömbs: Johann Jakob Moser's constitutional law (1701-1785) (= writings on constitutional history. Volume 8). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1968 (doctoral thesis jur.University of Tübingen 1966)
  • Hermann SchulzeMoser, Johann Jacob . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1885, pp. 372-382.
  • Hermann Uhrig:  Johann Jacob Moser. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 6, Bautz, Herzberg 1993, ISBN 3-88309-044-1 , Sp. 177-192.
  • Alfred Verdross : Johann Jacob Moser's program of an international law of experience. In: Journal for Public Law, Volume 3, 1922, pp. 96-102.

Web links

Wikisource: Johann Jacob Moser  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Johann Jacob Moser  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Vischer, Johann Jakob. In: German biography . Retrieved January 29, 2019 .
  2. ^ Johann Jacob Moser: Submissive expert opinion, because of the current religious movements: especially in the Evangelical Church, as well as about the Imperial Commission Decree in the Bahrdtischen case . 1780, urn : nbn: de: bvb: 12-bsb10349955-3 ( [accessed on January 29, 2019]).
  3. Hannes Kerber: "The Enlightenment in front of the court. On the historical background of GE Lessings 'Comments on an expert report on the itzigen religious movements' (1780)", in Germanisch-Romanische monthly 68: 1 (2018), pp. 27-72.