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FRIEDRICH CHRISTOPH OETINGER (1702-1782)

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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 15 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRIEDRICH CHRISTOPH OETINGER (1702-1782), German divine and theosophist, was horn at Goppingen on the 6th of May 1702. He studied theology at Tubingen (1722-1728), and was much impressed by the works of Jakob Bohme. 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 loth 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, Samtliche Schriften (1st section, Homiletische Schriften, 5 vols., 1858—1866; and section, Theosophische Werke, 6 vols., 1858—1863), was prepared by K. F. C. Ehmann, who also wrote Oetinger's Leben and Briefe (1859). See also C. A. Auberlen, Die Theosophie Friedr. Chr, Oetinger's (1847; and ed., 1859), and Herzog, Friedrich Christoph Olinger (1902).
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