The Correspondence of Joachim Jungius

Primary Contributors:

Cultures of Knowledge, based on the work of Martin Rothkegel and Bernd Elsner

Joachim Jungius, by an unknown artist. (Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg; source of image: Wikimedia Commons)

Joachim Jungius (1587–1657)

Jungius was born Joachim Junge (or Jung), the son of Nicolaus Junge, a schoolmaster at the Gymnasium in Lübeck. Following the murder of his father in 1589, Jungius was raised by his mother, Brigitte Holtmann (the daughter of a minister in the Lutheran Cathedral in Lübeck) and her second husband Martin Nordmann, who was also a teacher at the Gymnasium.

In 1605, Jungius matriculated at the University of Rostock, moving three years later to the University of Giessen where, a year after graduation, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics. In his inaugural lecture he emphasized the importance of mathematics as the foundation for the study of all areas of scientific study. In 1612, together which his colleague, the educational reformer Christoph Helwig (1581–1617), Jungius travelled to Frankfurt to attend the coronation, in June, of Matthias (1557–1619) as Holy Roman Emperor. On the journey he observed sunspots. During this stay in Frankfurt, Jungius met the educational reformer Wolfgang Ratke (1571–1635), and just two years later he resigned his post at Giessen with the intention of focussing his attention of educational reform. In 1616, he returned to Rostock in order to study medicine, later obtaining his medical doctorate from the University of Padua (1618). From 1619 to 1623, Jungius practised medicine in Lübeck. In 1622 at Rostock, he founded an anti-scholastic scientific society dedicated to promoting empirical studies known as Societas Ereunetica sive Zetetica.

Between 1624 and 1628, Jungius worked as a professor of mathematics at Rostock, with a brief interruption in 1625, when he taught medicine at the University of Helmstedt. From 1629 until 1657, he was professor of natural sciences at the Akademisches Gymnasium, the civic Höhere Schule in Hamburg. Jungius believed that science was based on mathematics, and at Hamburg stressed the importance of critical thinking to his students. He held also that mathematics and logic served as a remedy to metaphysical and mystical speculation. He died on 23 September 1657 in Hamburg.

Partners and Additional Contributors

Metadata for this catalogue of Jungius’s correspondence were taken from the edition prepared by Martin Rothkegel, which was based on the work of Bernd Elsner, and published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, in 2005. Professor Rothkegel kindly supplied a pdf of the edition and the dataset was collated for EMLO by Digital Fellow Antonia Bertschinger and prepared for upload by Editorial Assistant Charlotte Marique.

EMLO is grateful to Dr Philip Beeley for his help with the text of this introductory page.

Key Bibliographic Source(s)

‘Der Briefwechsel des Joachim Jungius’, ed. Martin Rothkegel, based on the work of Bernd Elsner (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005).

Further resources


Bernd Elsner, ed., Apollonius Saxonicus. Die Restitution eines verlorenen Werkes des Apollonius von Perga durch Joachim Jungius (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987).

Bernd Elsner, ed., Joachim Jungius’ Geometria empirica und Reiβ-Kunst. Mit deutscher Übersetzung.(Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004).

Hübner, Gaby, Aus dem literarischen Nachlaβ von Joachim Jungius. Edition der Tragödie Lucretia und der Schul- und Universitätsreden (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1995).

Hübner, Gaby, ‘Die mathematischen Reden von Joachim Jungius (1587–1657)’, in Sudhoffs Archiv, 80 (1996), pp. 184–97.

Kangro, Hans, ‘Die Unabhängigkeit eines Beweises: John Pells Beziehung zu Joachim Jungius und Johann Adolf Tassius (aus unveröffentlichten Mss.). Herrn Prof. Dr. J. E. Hofmann zum 70, Geburtstag’, in Janus56 (1969), pp. 203–09.

Meinel, Christoph, ed., Joachim Jungius, Praelectiones physicae. Historisch-kritische Edition (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1982).

Meinel, Christoph, ‘Der Begriff des chemischen Elements bei Joachim Jungius’, in Sudhoffs Archiv, 66 (1982), pp. 313–8.

Meinel, Christoph, ed., Der handschriftliche Nachlaβ von Joachim Jungius in der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg (Stuttgart: Dr. Ernst Hauswedell, 1984).

Meinel. Christoph, In physicis futurm saeculum respicio. Joachim Jungius und die Naturwissenschaftliche Revolution des 17. Jahrhunderts (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1984).

Meinel, Christoph, Die Bibliothek des Joachim Jungius. Ein Beitrag zur Historia Litteraria der frühen Neuzeit (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992).

Meyer, Rudolf W., ed., Joachimi Jungii Logica Hamburgensis. Hamburg: J. J. Augustin 1957
Risse, Wolfgang, Logicae Hamburgensis Additamenta cum annotationibus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1977).

Rothkegel, Martin (ed. on the basis of preliminary work by Bernd Elsner), Der Briefwechsel des Joachim Jungius (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005).

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