Joseph Gorres

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Joseph Görres, lithograph by August Strixner, after a painting by Peter von Cornelius
Signature Joseph Görres.PNG

Johann Joseph Görres , from 1839 von Görres , (born January 25, 1776 in Koblenz , † January 29, 1848 in Munich ) was a German high school and university teacher as well as a Catholic publicist , who became known as a natural philosopher primarily for his four-volume Christian mysticism .


Görres, the son of a timber merchant and an Italian, was a supporter of the French Revolution when he was a student at a Jesuit grammar school and was enthusiastic about the democratic movement that grew stronger in the last decade of the 18th century. At the age of 22, he was the editor of the magazine Das Rote Blatt , which celebrated the revolution and called for the establishment of a Cisrhenan republic in the Rhineland . After a stay in Paris in 1799/1800, during which he and other delegates were supposed to prepare the annexation of the German areas on the left bank of the Rhine to France , Görres showed himself disgusted by the despotism, arbitrariness and horror that prevailed in the center of the republic at that time. He found a supporter of his ideas in General Commissioner Joseph Lakanal , who was reorganizing the new departments from Mainz, now in France . For Görres, Napoleon's seizure of power was the culmination of an undesirable development through which France increasingly distanced itself from the ideals of the revolution. Especially the war policy of the emperor, the high loss of life, the occupation and exploitation of German territories met with Görres' resistance. After his stay in France, he initially withdrew from political activity and became a physics teacher at the grammar school in Koblenz, but then began to write against the undesirable developments in the revolution.

First edition of the Rheinischer Merkurs from January 23, 1814

Görres continued his education in the fields of natural science and medicine, applied galvanism as a therapist and published natural philosophical works such as Growth of History (1807), in which he discussed the " dualism of historical temporality and myth".

During this politically inactive phase his work as a private lecturer fell from the winter semester 1806/1807 to 1808 in Heidelberg , where he held scientific-medical and literary-philosophical lectures. There he met Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim . Under the influence of these romantics, he published the Teutschen Volksbücher (1807). During the Wars of Liberation Görres also published political writings again, now determined by Romanticism and the German national movement. With no prospect of a permanent job in Heidelberg, Görres went back to the grammar school in Koblenz. On January 23, 1814, he founded the Rheinische Merkur in Koblenz . Among other things, the paper provided a forum for Freiherr vom Stein and Blücher's general staff, and Napoleon described it as the “fifth hostile great power”.

In his journalism, Görres campaigned for the unity, self-determination and democratization of Germany, but which should preserve the traditions and peculiarities of the past on the foundation of Christianity ( Germany and the revolution ). He was a member of a French Masonic Lodge in Koblenz and was also a member of the casino company there.

Görres after a drawing by F. Diez, 1838

After the restoration began , the Rheinische Merkur propagated liberal demands and the Greater German solution . On January 3, 1816, a Prussian cabinet order forbade the publication of the newspaper, and Görres published the last edition of the paper on January 10, 1816. Finally, the post of head of education in the Generalgouvernement Mittelrhein was withdrawn from him. Görres fled to Strasbourg in 1819 by his schoolmate, Abundius Maehler , mayor of Koblenz , who warned him of the threat of arrest . Under difficult economic conditions there took place his change from a liberal to a religious and less and less political author.

This change opened the way for Görres to be appointed to the University of Munich by Ludwig von Bayern in 1827 . In Munich, Görres gathered a group of followers who became an intellectual center of political Catholicism . In 1837 he wrote a violent pamphlet against the Prussian state (Athanasius) in the church dispute in Cologne , from 1838 he worked on the historical-political papers for Catholic Germany , which were published by his son, the writer Guido Görres and the legal scholar George Phillips. His late work turned to Christian mysticism . In 1839 he was ennobled by Ludwig I. In 1841/1842 Joseph Görres was one of the initiators, alongside Sulpiz Boisserée and August Reichensperger, in founding the Central Cathedral Building Association in Cologne . In 1842 he was made a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences .


Grave of Joseph Görres on the old southern cemetery in Munich location

The grave of Joseph Görres is in the old southern cemetery in Munich (wall right place 343 at grave field 18 ). His children Guido and Marie Görres are also buried in the grave.

Impact history

Görres was one of the most influential publicists of the first half of the 19th century. Political scientist Klaus von Beyme admits that Görres had a long-lasting effect on political journalism. The farewell speech written by Görres, Napoleon's proclamation to the peoples of Europe before his departure to the island of Elba , contains a criticism apparently expressed by Napoleon of the lack of national awareness of the Germans. The quote contained therein “There is no more good-natured, but also no gullible people than the German. […] For a slogan that was given to them, they persecuted their compatriots with greater bitterness than their real enemies “was often mistaken for Napoleon's. The literary scholar Gerhard Schulz praised Görre's linguistic power, which he compared with that of Friedrich Hölderlin in his Scheltrede to the Germans.

His motivation to create a Christian-inspired democracy in a united Germany prompted Görres in a late publication to take an anti-Judaist position. Corresponding tendencies can be seen in the pamphlet The Eternal Jew in Saxony and the Council in Swabia , which he published together with the canon lawyer Georg Phillips (in: Historisch -politische Blätter für das Catholic Deutschland , Vol. 16, 1845, pp. 503–505 ). They were hardly noticed after Görres' death, as they do not play a role in his overall work. Here Görres was rather tolerant and open to different cultures, which he researched systematically and with great zeal ( myth history of the Asian world ). The Catholic advocated the thesis that cultural peculiarities and mentalities should be reflected in the political systems.



Single issues

  • General Peace, an Ideal , 1798.
  • Results of my shipment to Paris , 1800.
  • Aphorisms on Art , 1802.
  • Aphorisms on Organonomy , 1803.
  • Exposition of Physiology , 1805.
  • Faith and Knowledge , Munich 1805.
  • Die teutschen Volksbücher , 1807 ( digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
  • Growth in history , 1807.
  • Script samples by Peter Hammer (di Joseph Görres), 1808.
  • On the fall of Germany and the conditions for its rebirth , 1810.
  • Mythical Tales of the Asian World , 1810.
  • Lohengrin, an old German poem , 1813.
  • Rheinischer Merkur (Ed.), 1814–1816.
  • Germany and the Revolution , 1819 ( digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
  • Answering the question that is particularly important for every German in these times: What can we expect? , 1814.
  • Europe and the Revolution , 1821 ( digitized version ).
  • Introduction to Melchior Diepenbrock's Heinrich Susos, called Amandus, Life and Writings , Regensburg 1829.
  • On the basis, structure and chronology of world history , 1830.
  • Obituary for Achim von Arnim , literary sheet by Wolfgang Menzel, 1831.
  • Four letters to Mr. Culmann, Secretary of the Estates Assembly , Munich 1831.
  • Ministry, State Newspaper, Right and Wrong Center , Munich 1831.
  • Athanasius , 1838.
  • The Triarians H. Leo, Dr. P. Marheinecke, DK Bruno , Regensburg 1838.
  • Christian Mysticism , four volumes, 1836–1842. Second edition by Manz, in five volumes, Munich and Regensburg 1879. New edition by Uta Ranke-Heinemann near Eichborn, in six volumes, Frankfurt 1989.
  • Church and State after the Cölner Errung expired , Weißenburg a. P. 1842.
  • Cologne Cathedral and Strasburg Minster , Regensburg 1842.
  • Introduction to JN Sepps The Life of Christ , first volume, Regensburg 1843.
  • The Japhetids and their common homeland, Armenia . Academic speech, Munich 1844.
  • The three basic roots of the Celtic tribe and their immigration. Two departments. Historical treatises of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich 1845.
  • The pilgrimage to Trier , Regensburg 1845.
  • Aspects at the turn of the ages - To the New Years 1848 , 1848.

Selections of works

  • Collected writings , edited by M. Görres, nine volumes, 1854–1874.
  • Collected writings , ed. on behalf of the Görres Society by Wilhelm Schellberg, Adolf Dyroff and Leo Just . Volumes 1–16, Cologne 1926–1939, continued by Heribert Raab, Volume 17 and two supplementary volumes. Schöningh, Paderborn 1985-2006.
  • Heribert Raab : Joseph Görres. A life for freedom and justice . Selection from his work. Paderborn 1978, ISBN 978-3-506-77001-1 .
  • Selected works , ed. by Wolfgang Frühwald . Two volumes. Freiburg, Basel and Vienna 1978.


  • Friedrich:  Görres, Joseph von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 9, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1879, pp. 378-389.
  • Otto Roegele:  Görres, Joseph von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1964, ISBN 3-428-00187-7 , pp. 532-536 ( digitized version ).
  • Karl Gutzkow: The red cap and the hood. To understand the little brats Athanasius. Hamburg 1838.
  • Joseph Galland: Joseph von Görres. 2nd Edition. Freiburg i. Br. 1876.
  • Wilhelm Warnkönig : Joseph von Görres. A champion for freedom. Germania, Berlin 1894, OCLC 162819342 .
  • Heinrich Milz: Pedigree of the scholar and politician Johann Josef von Görres. In: Pedigree of famous Germans, Volume 1. Leipzig 1929–1944, pp. 126–130.
  • Hildegard Trapp (ed.): Joseph v. Gorres. Life and work. From the holdings of the Koblenz City Library, Koblenz 1970.
  • Ekkehard Langner, H.-J. Schmidt: Görres and Koblenz. A catalog for the exhibition organized by the city library on the occasion of the 200th birthday of Görres on January 25, 1976. With two contributions by H.-J. Schmidt and a contribution by Udo Liessem, Koblenz 1976.
  • Heribert Raab: Joseph Görres (1776–1848). In: Rheinische Lebensbilder, Volume 8, ed. by Bernhard Poll . Rheinland Verlag, Cologne 1980, pp. 183-204.
  • Esther-Beate Körber: Görres and the Revolution. Husum 1986, ISBN 978-3-7868-1441-2 .
  • Dietrich von Engelhardt : Joseph Görres. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 500.
  • Uwe Hence: Joseph Görres' view of the state and society in the context of revolution and restoration. Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-638-73528-5 .
  • Monika Fink-Lang (arr.): Joseph Görres. Letters from the Munich period (= Collected Writings Letters. Volume 1). Paderborn / Munich / Vienna / Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-506-76351-8 .
  • Matthias Bär: The relations of the Munich Görreskreis and other Catholic scholars in Catholic England (= MThSt I 38), St. Ottilien 2010.
  • Monika Fink-Lang: Joseph Görres. The biography. Schöningh, Paderborn / Munich / Vienna / Zurich 2013, ISBN 978-3-506-77792-8 .

Other media

  • Born in Koblenz… ” report by Südwestfunk Mainz on the 200th birthday of Josef Görres from 1976; Editing and direction: Rüdiger Diezemann, camera: Pavel Schnabel, editing: Marlies Stubenrauch, sound: Michael Grieb and Rudolf Proll, graphics: Jürgen Blumberg

See also

Web links

Commons : Joseph Görres  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Joseph Görres  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jon Vanden Heuvel: A German life in the age of revolution: Joseph Görres, 1776-1848 . 2001, ISBN 978-0-8132-0948-7 , p. 78.
  2. ^ Dietrich von Engelhardt (2005).
  3. Lothar Pikluik: The so-called Heidelberg Romanticism. Tendencies, limits, contradictions. With an epilogue about the afterlife of romanticism today . In: Friedrich Strack (Hrsg.): Heidelberg in the secular upheaval, tradition consciousness u. Cultural policy around 1800 . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, p. 208 .
  4. ^ Beyme, Klaus von: Conservatism: Theories of conservatism and right-wing extremism in the age of ideologies 1789-1945 . Wiesbaden 2013, p. 75.
  5. Rheinischer Merkur , No. 51–56.
  6. ^ Gerhard Schulz: The German literature between the French Revolution and restoration and restoration. Part 2, Munich 1989, p. 49.