Knigge on the Illuminati (According to Knigge) and Other Reflections (According to the Historical Record)
Friday, July 6th, 2012 | Illuminati Members, Primary Documents | 15 Comments
by Terry Melanson, July 6th 2012
The exposure and persecution of the Illuminati had barely commenced. Adam Weishaupt fled from the Bavarian authorities in February of 1785.
Two weeks after his hasty escape, Elector Karl Theodor issued his second edict against secret societies (and the Illuminati specifically). More than a year would pass before he reached safety at the court of fellow-Illuminatus, Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha. Bobbing in alleyways, hiding in chimneys, and witnessing a friend drop dead from lightning, Weishaupt somehow managed to pen and publish five apologetic pamphlets concerning his activities as “General” of the Order.
After the writings and correspondences of the Illuminati were published in 1787 – reputations and livelihoods at stake – his cohorts penned their own accounts, most notably Christoph Friedrich Nicolai (1733-1811), Franz Xaver von Zwack (1755-1843) and Baron Thomas Franz Maria de Bassus (1742-1815). However it wasn’t until after these developments that Adolph Freiherr von Knigge (1752-1796) saw fit to issue his own account in 1788.
The latter work (Philos endliche Erklärung und Antwort …) has been translated by Jeva Singh-Anand: Philo’s Reply To Questions Concerning His Association With the Illuminati (lulu.com, April 5, 2012). It’s the first full English translation of a primary Illuminati source, and, for that reason alone, is highly recommended. You can read Jeva’s forward here and purchase it at Lulu or Amazon.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 | Contemporary sources | 3 Comments
(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.
Saturday, November 15th, 2008 | Illuminati myths | 7 Comments
by Terry Melanson (15/11/2008)
So, I’m browsing through the results of a keyword-search (targeting blogs) that I had previously saved as an RSS feed in Google Reader - “Illuminati.” Usually the results point to sites that abuse the term as a mere descriptor for an overarching, all-powerful monolithic conspiracy. However, once in a while, I occasionally come across at least an attempt not to knowingly butcher the historical record.
The November 12th post at the English section of Illuminaten.org is one such example. But as I started reading “The Bavarian Illuminati: several myths revealed,” it became quite clear that the post is, in fact - word for word - an abridged re-posting of “A Bavarian Illuminati Primer.”
Once I got to the part about Lanz and Lang, I knew for sure.
Here’s what Mason Trevor W. McKeown thinks is the myth/truth:
As an example of the mythology that surrounds the history of the Illuminati, note that Barruel claimed that Lanz, an Illuminati courier and apostate priest, was struck by lightning, thus revealing Weishaupt’s papers to the authorities, but this does not appear to be substantiated. This error was widely reprinted and enlarged on by subsequent anti-masons whose lack of research and disdain for historical accuracy has lead them to confuse Johann Jakob Lanz (d.1785), a non-Illuminati secular priest in Erding, and friend of Weishaupt, with Franz Georg Lang, a court advisor in Eichstätt who was active in the Illuminati under the name Tamerlan.
Barruel mistakenly translated “weltpriester”, or secular priest, as apostate priest and subsequent writers such as Webster and Miller have repeated this error. Eckert renamed Weishaupt’s friend as Lanze and had him struck by lightning while carrying dispatches in Silesia. Miller cited Eckert but renamed Lanz as Jacob Lang and placed the lightning strike in Ratisbon. This is a minor detail in the history but it demonstrates the lack of accuracy often displayed by detractors of the Illuminati.
As nobody has challenged him on these assertions - not even a German site who should know better - I’ll reiterate and add additional information to what I had written back in August 2005. Mr. McKeown is guilty of the same thing he accuses others of: “lack of research and disdain for historical accuracy.”
Saturday, September 20th, 2008 | Adam Weishaupt | 15 Comments
by Terry Melanson (20/09/2008)
Relatively late in the research for the book Perfectibilists, I became aware of an short account from Henry Crabb Robinson, in his Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence, where he had gone to Gotha in 1804 and met with Adam Weishaupt. I hadn’t included this exchange in my own book (as it wasn’t readily accessible to me at the time). However, recently, Google books has scanned in a full-view copy of the diary. Here, then, is Henry Crabb Robinson’s encounter with Adam Weishaupt (in Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence, Vol. I, Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co. 1869, pp. 124-6):
- Illuminati Conspiracy Archive
- Illuminati Conspiracy Part One: A Precise Exegesis on the Available Evidence
- Illuminati Conspiracy Part Two: Sniffing out Jesuits
- Jeva Singh-Anand’s Illuminati Blog
- Marco Di Luchetti’s “Illuminati of Bavaria”
- Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati