Dippel, John Conrad

, an author famous for his extravagancies, and who styled himself in his writings Christianus Democritus, was born Aug. 10, 1672, at Frankenstein, near Darmstadt, where he commenced his studies. He afterwards studied philosophy and theology at Giessen, where he took his master’s degree in 1693. He began his literary career by a controversy with the pietists, a sect against which he declaimed publicly at Strasburg. Being obliged, for some irregularities, to quit that city, he returned to Giessen, and shewed himself as zealous in behalf of pietism as he had been before in opposition to it. Having failed in his views of getting a wife, and a professor’s chair, he threw off the mask, and openly attacked the reformed religion, in his “Papismus Protestantium vapulans.” This book having incensed the protestants against him, he abandoned theology for chemistry; and gave out, that, after a process of eight months, he had succeeded in making a sufficient quantity of gold to enable him to keep a country house, which he bought for 50,000 florins; but he was at that time actually in the utmost indigence; and could think of no better expedient for avoiding the pursuit of his creditors than by commencing his travels. After having run over various countries, Berlin, Copenhagen, Francfort, Leyden, Amsterdam, Altona, Hamburgh, and having experienced the discipline of the prison in every one, he was invited to Stockholm in 1727 to prescribe for the king of Sweden. The clergy of that kingdom, pleased | with the hope of the king’s recovery, but unwilling to owe it to a man that openly derided their religion, procured an order for the medical alchemist to quit the kingdom. Dippel returned to Germany, without having changed either his opinions or his conduct. The report of his death having been several times falsely propagated, he in 1733 published a sort of certificate, in which he affirmed that he should not die till the year 180$; a prophecy which was not fulfilled: for he was found dead in his bed at the castle of Witgenstein, the 25th of April, 1734, at the age of 62.

His works were published together in 1747, 5 vols. 4to, and, notwithstanding his many extravagancies and absurdities, many have considered him as an eminent teacher of true piety and wisdom. He probably deserved more praise as a physician and chemist. He is said to have invented Prussian blue; and there is still an oil called DippePs oil, which he first discovered, a powerful-sudorific, and deserving of more notice than it now receives. 1


Moreri. —Mosheim’s Eccles. Hist.