Academy project: Edition of the Letters of Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705) primarily from his Berlin Period (1691–1705)
A warm welcome to the Internet pages of the Research Center for the Edition of Spener Letters. We are in the process of editing the letters of Philipp Jakob Spener, which we will present with scholarly commentary.
The body of letters comprises ca. 3500 items. Some are in manuscript form and are found in archives and libraries in Germany and far beyond. A part of them survives in printed form in old collections either made by Spener himself or gathered posthumously. These collections were in many cases previously unusable as historical sources because the names of the addressees regularly were deleted, and references to persons directly involved often were left out.
The Edition of Spener’s Letters offers for the first time a complete collection of Spener’s surviving letters. This body of resources central to the history of the church and theology, but also to a general history of ideas and the cultural history in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, is now made accessible to research in an historical-critical edition.
The period of Pietism and the early Enlightenment was up to now clothed to a great extent in darkness. Through the identification of a large majority of the addressees and a helpful commentary, the contours of this Early Modern epoch in religious and cultural history for the first time become more visible. The Edition of Spener Letters enables a variety of insights into the dimensions of confessional politics, universal reform, and everyday history typical of this period.
The Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig supports this project.