1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Oetinger, Friedrich Christoph

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

OETINGER, FRIEDRICH CHRISTOPH (1702-1782), German divine and theosophist, was born at Göppingen on the 6th of May 1702. He studied theology at Tübingen (1722-1728), and was much impressed by the works of Jakob Böhme. On the completion of his university course, Oetinger spent some years in travel. In 1730 he visited Count Zinzendorf at Herrnhut, remaining there some months as teacher of Hebrew and Greek. During his travels, in his eager search for knowledge, he made the acquaintance of mystics and separatists, Christians and learned Jews, theologians and physicians alike. At Halle he studied medicine. After some delay he was ordained to the ministry, and held several pastorates. While pastor (from 1746) at Waldorf near Berlin, he studied alchemy and made many experiments, his idea being to use his knowledge for symbolic purposes. These practices exposed him to the attacks of persons who misunderstood him. “My religion,” he once said, “is the parallelism of Nature and Grace.” Oetinger translated Swedenborg's philosophy of heaven and earth, and added notes of his own. Eventually (1766) he became prelate at Murrhardt, where he died on the 10th of February 1782.

Oetinger's autobiography was published by J. Hamberger in 1845. He published about seventy works, in which he expounded his theosophic views. A collected edition, Sämtliche Schriften (1st section, Homiletische Schriften, 5 vols., 1858-1866; 2nd section, Theosophische Werke, 6 vols., 1858-1863), was prepared by K. F. C. Ehmann, who also wrote Oetinger's Leben und Briefe (1859). See also C. A. Auberlen, Die Theosophie Friedr. Chr. Oetinger's (1847; 2nd ed., 1859), and Herzog, Friedrich Christoph Ötinger (1902).