Eine nonkonformistische Bibliothek des 17. Jahrhunderts: Klandestine Literatur am Vorabend des Pietismus

Kaspar Bütikofer


In the Central Library of Zurich, we find several handwritten volumes dating from the middle of the 17th Century with mystical texts and works of Jacob Boehme. These volumes are an impressive example of non-conformist and spiritualistic thinking in Zurich during that period. Who was the scribe of the volumes? Who was the owner? From where was this underground-literature diffused? How did they reach Zurich? To these questions the present article is dedicated. It points out that these volumes were part of a larger collection, so that the scribe and the owner could be identified: The theologian and mathematician Michael Zingg was the scribe and the merchant and later Pietist Heinrich Römer was the owner. In these volumes mystic and spiritualistic texts were collected. Several texts were at this time not printed in German but were quickly handwritten in a clandestine network. And there are also works of Jacob Boehme, which were translated from Dutch back into German. How these writings reached Zurich is still unknown.


nonconformism; spiritualism; mysticism; pietism; 17th century; Jacob Boehme; Zurich; Michael Zingg; Heinrich Römer

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