Wagenseil, John Christopher

, a very learned German, was the son of a reputable tradesman, and born at Nuremberg in 1633. He was sent early to a school at Stockholm; whence he was taken at thirteen, and placed in the university of Altorf. The distinction, to which he there raised himself by his abilities and learning, recommended him to some nobility as a proper tutor to their | children; and, after continuing five years at Altorf, he was taken into the family of the count de Traun. He not only performed the office of an instructor to the sons of this nobleman, but accompanied them in their travels to France, Spain, England, Holland, several parts of Germany, and Italy. He contracted an acquaintance with the learned wherever he went, and received honours from several universities: those of Turin and Padua admitted him into their body. In France, he experienced the liberality of Lewis XIV. and was received doctor of law, at Orleans, in June 1665. Several places would have detained him, but the love of his native country prevailed; and, after travelling for six years, he arrived at Nuremberg in 1667. He was immediately made professor of law and history in the university of Altorf; but, about eight years after, changed his professorship of history for that of the Oriental tongues. In 1676, Adolphus John, count Palatine of the Rhine, committed two sons to his care, and at the same time honoured him with the title of counsellor. The princes of Germany held him in high esteem; and the emperor himself admitted him to private conferences, in 1691, when he was at Vienna about business. In 1697, the town of Nuremberg gave him marks of their esteem, by adding to his titles that of doctor of canon law, and by committing the university-library to his care. He was twice married; the first time in 1667, the second in 1701. He died in 1706, aged seventy-two.

He wrote and published near twenty works, some in French, the others in Latin. The first came out at Nuremberg in 1667, the design of which is to shew the spuriousness of the pretended fragment of Petronius. In another, printed in the first volume of “Amcenitates Literarise,” he endeavours to prove the real existence of Pope Joan, which has been so much questioned. His principal work is entitled “Tela Ignea Satanae,Altorf, 1681, in 2 vols. 4to. This is a collection of pieces written by the Jews against the Christian religion; with a Latin version, and long notes in the way of refutation. 1


Niceron, vol. II. Life printed at Nuremberg, 1719, 4to.