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Western Esotericism In Enlightenment Historiography: The Importance Of Jacob Brucker

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Chapter Summary

Johann Jacob Brucker was born in Augsburg on January 22, 1696, and studied philosophy and theology in Jena. According to a contemporary biographer, his herculean labours on the history of philosophy were at least partly therapeutic: in addition to a weak physical constitution, Brucker suffered from heavy attacks of melancholy, and only by studying very hard could he distract himself from his fears and depressions. Jacob Thomasius traced all pagan philosophies to their origin in the teachings of Zoroaster: it was from Zoroastrian sources that had emerged platonism, aristotelianism, epicureanism and so on. Brucker plays a pivotal role in the history of the study of our field: his work represents the historical moment at which the memory of these various currents and ideas was still intact among intellectuals; but at the same time, it laid the foundations which allowed this memory to be marginalized by later generations.

Keywords: Jacob Thomasius; Johann Jacob Brucker; Zoroastrian sources



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