Archive for February, 2010

P. Ph. Wolf: An Historical Account of the Order of the Illuminati in Bavaria

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | Contemporary sources | 3 Comments

Introduction

(Thanks to Joe Wäges for translating some of the biographical material on Wolf.)

Translated from German to English and printed in the short-lived periodical German museum (v.1: London, 1800, pp. 207-218, 296-305, 390-396), the following essay on the Bavarian Illuminati is a contemporary, apologetic account. It was written by Peter Philipp Wolf (1761-1808) and included in volume four of his history of the Jesuits: Allgemeine Geschichte der Jesuiten (1789-92).

Born in Pfaffenhofen, Bavaria, Wolf received his primary education in the Jesuit schools of Munich. His free spirit couldn’t endure theocentric pedantry for long, however, and he soon ran away. Penniless, after a brief stay in Strasbourg he had no choice but to return home. His parents wanted him to become a priest so they sent him to a boarding school in Weihenstephan; but after a short while, Wolf again escaped the clutches of the ecclesiastics. Later, in letter to his friend Lorenz von Westenrieder (1748-1829) (who was briefly a member of the Illuminati in 1779), he wrote: “I can confirm it by my own example how little education is good in the seminaries….rude manners, ascetic pride, monkish hypocrisy, [and] youthful conceit are the rocks on which can fail even the most promising young men.”

Wolf then apprenticed with the Munich bookseller and printer Johann Baptist Strobl [or Strobel] (1748-1805), but they didn’t get along. (Strobl was also briefly an Illuminatus prospectus; afterwards an opponent of the Order, and the government-sanctioned publisher of the famous Einige Originalschriften des Illuminatenordens.) The relationship deteriorated to the point that Strobl accused Wolf of printing a libellous pamphlet against him. He pled his case before the authorities, and Wolf had to spend a year in jail.

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Einige Originalschriften des Illuminatenordens at Scribd

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 | Primary Documents | 6 Comments

Joe Wäges has put a scan of the Original Writings of the Illuminati, published by order the Elector of Bavaria Karl Theodor in March 1787, online for the first time. With this he has outdone the multi-million-dollar scanning projects of both Google and Microsoft. Google had, years ago, scanned Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften, welche die Illuminatensekte (1787) and Die neuesten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo in dem Illuminaten-Orden (1793), but had unfortunately neglected Einige Originalschriften des Illuminatenordens. Joe Wäges is fluent in German, and we’ve already begun collaborating. Translation is very time consuming and, in order to get it right and as perfect as humanly possible, an inordinate amount of dedication and perseverance are required. Hopefully, at least for Einige and Nachtrag, updates will be more frequent.

Taken together, these three works are known as the Original Writings of the Illuminati: Einige Originalschriften and Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften were confiscated in police raids on the domiciles of Illuminati Franz Xaver Carl Wolfgang Zwack zu Holzhausen (1756-1843) [Danaus/Philipp Strozzi/Cato] in Landshut (11-12 October, 1786), and Thomas Maria Baron de Bassus (1742-1815) [Hannibal/Minos] at his castle in Sandersdorf (May 1787), while the contents of Die neuesten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo in dem Illuminaten-Orden were stolen - from Baron von Knigge - by Illuminatus-defector Ludwig Adolph Christian von Grolmann (1741-1809) [Gratian].

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Some Original Writings of the Order of the Illuminati (pp. 26-43)

Monday, February 15th, 2010 | Original Writings, Primary Documents | 11 Comments

NB: Superscripted endnotes are my own, while parenthesized footnotes (when encountered) are from the original editors of the collection, c. 1786/87. – Terry Melanson

VII
Reform of the Statutes of the 1st class

  1. All statutes, constitutions and previous privileges, whatever name they have received, are subject to change as circumstances warrant and, in so much as [p. 27] they fundamentally oppose these present ordinances, are hereby overruled.

  2. Notwithstanding, as in the past, the goal that the Order proposes for the future remains the same: to render unto man the importance of the perfection of reason and his moral character; to develop social and humane sentiments, to oppose the wicked designs in the world, to assist against the injustice suffered by the unfortunate and the oppressed, to encourage men of merit, and in general to facilitate the means of knowing and science. Assurance is here given, in a sacred and faithful manner that this is the sole goal — not just supposed — of the Order (1).

    On the contrary, the Order offers nothing more, therefore candidates will increase in due time; this will prove to be more beneficial, as they realize that, in opposition to the practice of other societies, we possess more than what we had promised.

    A member who is thrust upon entering the Order with the hope of gaining greater power and wealth would not be welcomed.

    (1) Fistula dulce canit volucrem dum decipit Auceps [“The shepherd's pipe sings sweetly to the bird, while the fowler ensnares it”; or “The bird-catcher plays sweetly on the pipe when he beguiles the winged creature”]

    [p. 28] To achieve such a goal of understanding and confidence between all members, and in accordance with these views, only accepting those external conditions for the betterment of the Order, all members must:

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