Karl Gesenius

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Karl Gesenius (born September 15, 1746 in Helmstedt , † August 16, 1829 in Wolfenbüttel ) was a German theologian , lawyer and collector.


Karl Gesenius was the son of the Helmstedt theologian August Gesenius (1718–1773). From 1760 he attended the school of the Orphanage Foundation in Halle (Saale) and 1763–65 the grammar school in Schöningen . At his father's request, he studied theology in Leipzig , Helmstedt and Göttingen and was accepted into the seminary in Riddagshausen (today Braunschweig) under the direction of Abbot Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Jerusalem in 1771 .

After his father's death in 1773 he returned to Göttingen to law to study, was in 1775 the legal examination before the judicial office in Wolfenbüttel and initially settled as a lawyer in Seesen and 1777 in Wolfenbüttel down.

During the Westphalian government period, Gesenius became an assessor at the Criminal Court in 1808 and a judge at the Tribunal in Wolfenbüttel in 1810. After the restoration of the Duchy of Brunswick in 1814 he became second and in 1816 first official at the Königslutter district court and in 1825 second judge at the Helmstedt district court.

Gesenius spent his retirement from 1826-29 in Wolfenbüttel. A year before his death, he married a long-time friend and carer.


As a journalist, Gesenius devoted himself above all to Meierrecht with a focus on the Wolfenbüttel part of the Duchy of Braunschweig. Only the first two parts of the work were published: The first, 1801, contains the extensive literature on the subject and individual parts of Meierrecht, its history and Braunschweig legislation; the second, 1803, contains the beginning of the dogmatic presentation.

In addition to his work in Wolfenbüttel, he also put on an extensive collection of all kinds of Brunsvicensia, which he later sold to the landscape library in Braunschweig .