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Johann Albert Fabricius

Johann Albert Fabricius (November 11, 1668 – April 30, 1736) was a German classical scholar and bibliographer.

He was born at Leipzig. His father, Werner Fabricius, director of music in the church of St. Paul at Leipzig, was the author of several works, the most important being Deliciae Harmonicae (1656). The son received his early education from his father, who on his deathbed recommended him to the care of the theologian Valentin Alberti.

He studied under J.G. Herrichen, and afterwards at Quedlinburg under Samuel Schmid. It was in Schmid’s library, as he afterwards said, that he found the two books, Kaspar von Barth's compendium Adversariorum libri LX (1624) and Daniel Georg Morhof's Polyhistor (1688), which suggested to him the idea of his Bibliothecæ, the kind of works on which his great reputation was ultimately founded.

Having returned to Leipzig in 1686, he published anonymously (two years later) his first work, Scriptorum recentiorum decas, an attack on ten writers of the day. His Decas Decadum, sive plagiariorum et pseudonymorum centuria (1689) is the only one of his works to which he signs the name Faber. He then applied himself to the study of medicine, which, however, he relinquished for that of theology; and having gone to Hamburg in 1693, he proposed to travel abroad, when the unexpected tidings that the expense of his education had absorbed his whole patrimony, and even left him in debt to his trustee, forced him to abandon his project.

He therefore remained at Hamburg in the capacity of librarian to J.F. Mayer. In 1696 he accompanied his patron to Sweden; and on his return to Hamburg, not long afterwards, he became a candidate for the chair of logic and philosophy. The suffrages being equally divided between Fabricius and Sebastian Edzardus, one of his opponents, the appointment was decided by lot in favour of Edzardus; but in 1699 Fabricius succeeded Vincent Placcius in the chair of rhetoric and ethics, a post which he held until his death, refusing invitations to Greifswald, Kiel, Giessen, and Wittenberg. He died at Hamburg.

Fabricius is credited with 128 books. He was a celebrated bibliographer and collector of manuscripts, and many of his volumes are compilations, editions, or anthologies. One of the most famed and laborious of these is the Bibliotheca Latina (1697, republished in an improved and amended form by J.A. Ernesti, 1773). The divisions of the compilation are: (1) the writers to the age of Tiberius, (2) to that of the Antonines, (3) to the decay of the language, and (4) fragments from old authors, and chapters on early Christian literature. A supplementary work was Bibliotheca Latina mediae et infimae Aetatis (1734–1736; supplementary volume by C Schottgen, 1746; ed. Mansi, 1754). His chef-d'oeuvre, however, is the Bibliotheca Graeca (1705–1728, revised and continued by G.C. Harles, 1790—1812), a work which has justly been denominated maximus antiquae eruditionis thesaurus. Its divisions are marked off by Homer, Plato, Jesus, Constantine, and the capture of Constantinople in 1453, while a sixth section is devoted to canon law, jurisprudence and medicine.

Of his remaining works we may mention: Specimen elencticum historiae logicae, a catalogue of the treatises on logic known by him (1699); Bibliotheca Antiquaria, an account of the writers whose works illustrated Jewish, Greek, Roman, and Christian antiquities (1713); Centifolium Lutheranum, a Lutheran bibliography (1728); Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica (1718). In addition, he wrote the Preface to Vincent Placcius's Theatrum anonymorum et pseudonymorum (1708).

Fabricius was also influential in articulating current scholarly notions of the "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha" and "New Testament Apocrypha," through his compilation of collections of texts and excerpts in Codex apocryphus Novi Testamenti (1703), Codex pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti (1713), and Codicis pseudepigraphi Veteris Testamenti Volumen alterum accedit Josephi veteris Christiani auctoria Hypomnesticon (1723). These volumes remain widely cited and consulted, even to this day.

The details of the life of Fabricius are to be found in De Vita et Scriptis J.A. Fabricii Commentarius, by his son-in-law, H.S. Reimarus, the well-known editor of Dio Cassius, published at Hamburg, 1737; see also C.F. Bähr in Ersch and Gruber's Allgemeine Encyclopaedie, and J.E. Sandys, Hist. Class. Schol. iii (1908).

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Backus, Irene. "Renaissance Attitudes towards New Testament Apocryphal Writings: Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples and His Epigones." Renaissance Quarterly 51 (1998), pp. 1169–97.
  • Charlesworth, James H., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and New Testament: Prolegomena to the Study of Christian Origins. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • Petersen, E. "Learned Communication: Johann Albert Fabricius and the Literary Communities," in M. Pade (ed.), Renaissance Readings of the Corpus Aristotelicum. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2001, pp. 287–94
  • Petersen, E. Intellectum liberare Johann Albert Fabricius: En humanist i Europa. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 1998.
  • Reed, Annette Yoshiko. "The Modern Invention of ‘Old Testament Pseudepigrapha,’" Journal of Theological Studies 2009, doi: 10.1093/jts/flp033.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JOHANN ALBERT FABRICIUS (1668-1736), German classical scholar and bibliographer, was born at Leipzig on the 11th of November 1668. His father, Werner Fabricius, director of music in the church of St Paul at Leipzig, was the author of several works, the most important being Deliciae Harmonicae (1656). The son received his early education from his father, who on his deathbed recommended him to the care of the theologian Valentin Alberti. He studied under G. Herrichen, and afterwards at Quedlinburg under Samuel Schmid. It was in Schmid's library, as he afterwards said, that he found the two books, F. Barth's Adversaria and D. G. Morhof's Polyhistor Literarius, which suggested to him the idea of his Bibliothecae, the works on which his great reputation was founded. Having returned to Leipzig in 1686, he published anonymously (two years later) his first work, Scriptorum recentiorum decas, an attack on ten writers of the day. His Decas Decadum, sive plagiariorum et pseudonymorum centuria (1689) is the only one of his works to which he signs the name Faber. He then applied himself to the study of medicine, which, however, he relinquished for that of theology; and having gone to Hamburg in 1693, he proposed to travel abroad, when the unexpected tidings that the expense of his education had absorbed his whole patrimony, and even left him in debt to his trustee, forced him to abandon his project. He therefore remained at Hamburg in the capacity of librarian to F. Mayer. In 1696 he accompanied his patron to Sweden; and on his return to Hamburg, not long afterwards, he became a candidate for the chair of logic and philosophy. The suffrages being equally divided between Fabricius and Sebastian Edzardus, one of his opponents, the appointment was decided by lot in favour of Edzardus; but in 1699 Fabricius succeeded Vincent Placcius in the chair of rhetoric and ethics, a post which he held till his death, refusing invitations to Gerifswald, Kiel, Giessen and Wittenberg. He died at Hamburg on the 30th of April 1736.

Fabricius is credited with 128 books, but very many of them were only books which he had edited. One of the most famed and laborious of these is the Bibliotheca Latina (1697, republished in an improved and amended form by J. A. Ernesti, 1773). The divisions of the compilation are - the writers to the age of Tiberius; thence to that of the Antonines; and thirdly, to the decay of the language; a fourth gives fragments from old authors, and chapters on early Christian literature. A supplementary work was Bibliotheca Latina mediae et infimae Aetatis (1734-1736; supplementary volume by C. Schottgen, 1746; ed. Mansi, 1754). His chef-d'oeuvre, however, is the Bibliotheca Graeca (1705-1728, revised and continued by G. C. Harles, 1790-1812), a work which has justly been denominated maximus antiquae eruditionis thesaurus. Its divisions are marked off by Homer, Plato, Christ, Constantine, and the capture of Constantinople in 1453, while a sixth section is devoted to canon law, jurisprudence and medicine. Of his remaining works we may mention: - Bibliotheca Antiquaria, an account of the writers whose works illustrated Hebrew, Greek, Roman and Christian antiquities (1713); Centifolium Lutheranum, a Lutheran bibliography (1728); Bibliotheca Ecclesiastica (1718). His Codex Apocryphus (1703) is still considered indispensable as an authority on apocryphal Christian literature.

The details of the life of Fabricius are to be found in De Vita et Scriptis A. Fabricii Commentarius, by his son-in-law, H. S. Reimarus, the well-known editor of Dio Cassius, published at Hamburg, 1 737; see also C. F. Ba.hr in Ersch and Gruber's Allgemeine Encyclopcdie, and J. E. Sandys, Hist. Class. Schol. iii. (1908).


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