Adam Weishaupt

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Adam Weishaupt : biography

7 February 1748 – 18 November 1830

After Pope Clement XIV’s suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, Weishaupt became a professor of canon law,Engel . Also, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie . a position that was held exclusively by the Jesuits until that time. In 1775 Weishaupt was introducedEngel . to the empirical philosophy of Johann Georg Heinrich FederAllgemeine Deutsche Biographie . of the University of Göttingen. Both Feder and Weishaupt would later become opponents of Kantian idealism.Beiser, Frederick C. The Fate of Reason. Harvard University Press, 1987. .

Works

Philosophical works

  • (1775) De Lapsu Academiarum Commentatio Politica.
  • (1786) Über die Schrecken des Todes – eine philosophische Rede.
    • Discours Philosophique sur les Frayeurs de la Mort (1788).
  • (1786) Über Materialismus und Idealismus.
  • (1788) Geschichte der Vervollkommnung des menschlichen Geschlechts.
  • (1788) Über die Gründe und Gewißheit der Menschlichen Erkenntniß.
  • (1788) Über die Kantischen Anschauungen und Erscheinungen.
  • (1788) Zweifel über die Kantischen Begriffe von Zeit und Raum.
  • (1793) Über Wahrheit und sittliche Vollkommenheit.
  • (1794) Über die Lehre von den Gründen und Ursachen aller Dinge.
  • (1794) Über die Selbsterkenntnis, ihre Hindernisse und Vorteile.
  • (1797) Über die Zwecke oder Finalursachen.
  • (1802) Über die Hindernisse der baierischen Industrie und Bevölkerung.
  • (1804) Die Leuchte des Diogenes.
    • Diogenes Lamp (Tr. Amelia Gill) introduced by Sir Mark Bruback chosen by the Masonic Book Club to be its published work for 2008. (Ed. Andrew Swanlund).
  • (1817) Über die Staats-Ausgaben und Auflagen.
  • (1818) Über das Besteuerungs-System.

Founder of the Illuminati

On 1 May 1776 Weishaupt formed the "Order of Perfectibilists". He adopted the name of "Brother Spartacus" within the order. Although the Order was not egalitarian or democratic internally, it sought to promote the doctrines of equality and freedom throughout society.Catholic Encyclopedia: , sourcing Illuminati papers

The actual character of the society was an elaborate network of spies and counter-spies. Each isolated cell of initiates reported to a superior, whom they did not know, a party structure that was effectively adopted by some later groups.

Weishaupt was initiated into the Masonic Lodge "Theodor zum guten Rath", at Munich in 1777. His project of "illumination, enlightening the understanding by the sun of reason, which will dispel the clouds of superstition and of prejudice" was an unwelcome reform. Soon however he had developed gnostic mysteries of his own, with the goal of "perfecting human nature" through re-education to achieve a communal state with nature, freed of government and organized religion. He began working towards incorporating his system of Illuminism with that of Freemasonry.

Weishaupt’s radical rationalism and vocabulary was not likely to succeed. Writings that were intercepted in 1784 were interpreted as seditious, and the Society was banned by the government of Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria, in 1784. Weishaupt lost his position at the University of Ingolstadt and fled Bavaria.