Germany’s national author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe called it a “masquerade in red and white”, but was himself a member (just as he became a member of the Illuminati a little bit later; it made sense to join such organisations and to know from within what they were all about). Freemasonry was in its most idealistic terms an updated edition of the brotherhood of men united under a simple and strikingly anti aristocratic system: the system of the old craft guilds. With their three degrees of apprentice, fellow and master there was no room for privilege of birth. German masonry evolved from the late 1730’s through the 1750’s principally as a system of four degrees, with Scots Master at the apex and the development did not stop there. The chivalric degrees of the 1760’s and 1770’s gave way to increasingly complex systems, overgrowing this initial construct. These high-degree systems claimed roots in the middle ages if not deeper pasts, synthesising Christianity with alchemy, magic, and theosophy. Masonic entrepreneurs travelled through Europe selling secrets which they would convey in extraordinary lodges. What they offered would have been considered heresies only a generation before, and now became a market of esotericism – a market that turned the masonic world into its first framework and distributor. The Strict Observance or Order of the Temple, the masonic high-grade-system founded by Carl Gotthelf von Hund und Altengrotkau in Germany in 1751 was the biggest player on this stage in central Europe – the system of red and white, the colours of the Knights Templars.
Nach den Pfarrern des Gothaer Territoriums (und ihren Ehefrauen, beidseitigen Eltern, Kindern und deren Ehepartnern – insgesamt gut 15.000 Datenbankobjekten) legt Heino Richard hiermit einen zweiten, quer durch diese Gruppe reichenden Datensatz vor: Die Absolventen des Gymnasiums Illustre Gotha/ Ernestinum.
Primär erfasst sind dabei nach den Listen, die Max Scheider zu Beginn des letzten Jahrhunderts vorlegte, 4215 Schüler von der Frühphase des am 21. Dezember 1524 gegründeten Gymnasiums bis in den Abschlussjahrgang des Septembers 1882. Von diesen waren uns 872 Schüler bereits bekannt, davon:
- 7 aus der Gothaer Illuminatenforschung
- 21 aus den Gothaer Adressbüchern der Jahre 1828, 1843 und 1846
- 17 aus dem Gothaer Wählervereichnis von 1849
- 810 aus dem erwähnten Projekt der Sachsen-Gothaischen Pfarrer
In a tremendous effort of a year’s of work, Heino Richard of the Genealogical Society of Thuringia e.V., step by step translated the first volume of the Thuringian Pastors’ Books (the volume for the former Duchy of Gotha) into data which we could now feed into FactGrid: More than 13,300 database objects are stemming from this work allowing now entirely new explorations of the territory’s social and religious history. We as curious about the joint ventures this work might inspire. There is no reason to fear that the database version will render all further work on the paper-based volumes obsolete, the platform might, however, offer itself to the editors of the Pfarrerbuch as an unexpected aid.
The eight volumes cover all the parishes of the former Thuringian territories from the Reformation to the 20th century. A first survey is prefixed in each volume to give all the all the parishes and offices with lists of the pastors and auxiliaries who held the respective offices. The main part is in each volume devoted to the individual biographies.