Johann Jacob Zimmermann (1642–1693) is a forgotten proponent of heliocentrism in seventeenth-century Lutheran Germany. In Scriptura Sacra Copernizans (1690), he located himself within an unusual genealogy of Copernicanism, in which the usual heroes of the scientific revolution were missing. And in a pseudonymous work, Exercitatio theoricorum Copernico-coelestium (1689), there was no holding back for theological speculations. Zimmermann’s cosmology carried metaphysical and especially religious significance. Always interpreted morally and spiritually as well, light and darkness were responsible for the matter and fundamental physical forces of his world. In spite of Zimmermann’s appeal to Italian philosophers of the Renaissance, he was much more influenced by Johann Arndt and Jacob Boehme. Their contemplation of nature, and the sun in particular, was taken up by Zimmermann and carried further. According to him, light had Trinitarian properties because of which it was even identified with God. This latent cosmotheism can be placed in the context of contemporary debates on Boehme’s orthodoxy and Pietist enthusiasm.
Aries – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2014
Keywords: Copernicanism; cosmotheism; mysticism; radical Pietism; Johann Arndt; Jacob Boehme; Johann Jacob Zimmermann
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