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Friedrich Christian Lesser
LESSER, Friedrich Christian.

LESSER, Friedrich Christian.
(1692 - 1754)

(Born: Nordhausen, Germany, 12 May 1692; Died: Nordhausen, Germany, 17 September 1754) German theologian.

Lesser acted as a tutor in Berlin, before becoming pastor of the church and administrator of the Orphanage at Nordhausen. He was devoted to natural history and its relationship to the bible. In this vein, he authored several books on insects, the sun, plants, etc. Lesser was a member of the Leopoldian and Berlin Academies.

Biographical references: Biographie Universelle: 21, 301-3. DBA: I 757, 106-208; II 805, 373. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 28. Hirsching, Historisch-literarisches Handbuch, 1794-1815. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, Supplement: 3 (1810), col. 1683. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 260. Lesser, J.P.F., Nachricht von dem Leben und Schrifften Herrn F. C. Lesser. Nordhausen, 1755. [BL: B.483.(4.)]. Meusel, Verstorbenen Teutschen Schrifsteller, 1802-16: 8, 172-84. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer): 30, col. 966. Poggendorff: 1, col. 1436. Rein, Siegfried., Friedrich Christian Lesser. 2002. 192 p., 35 illus. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 3, 1557. WBI.

1. Latin, 1727.
Frider. Chr. Lesser ... Epistola de lapidibvs cvriosis, circa Nordhvsam eivsqve confinia inveniri solitis qva ... Domino Friderico Hoffmano ... honoribvs ex animo gratvlatvr Fridericvs Christianvs Lesservs, Nordh. Nordhausen, 1727.

4°: 8l.; [16] p.

Rare. A letter on the curious stones found in the vicinity of Nordhausen. The author uses this text to illustrate the evidence of God in the creation of figured and other stones.

Bibliographical references: Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 2, 136. Katalog Bergakademie Freiberg, 1879: p. 404 [IX. 1258.]. LKG: XIV 158.

2. German, 1732 [Prospectus?].
Kurze Entwurf einer Lithotheologie, oder eines Versuches, durch natürliche und geistliche Betrachtung der Steine die Allmacht, Güte, Weisheit und Gerechtigkeit des Schöpfers zu erkennen, und die Menschen zur Bewunderung, Lobe und Dienste desselben aufzumuntern. Nordhausen, 1732.

8°: A-C8; 24l.; [48] p.

Very rare. Prepublication prospectus for the Lithotheologie (Hamburg, 1735).

Bibliographical references: Beekman, Systematische Mineralogie, 1906: 33. Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 2, 693. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 28. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 25. LKG: XII 14. Wallerius, Brevis Introductio, 1779: 71.

Lithotheologie, 1735

3. German, 1735 [First edition].
Friedrich Christian Leßers, | [...3 lines of titles and memberships...] | Lithotheologie, | Das ist: | Natürliche Historie | und geistliche Betrachtung | derer Steine, | Also abgefaßt, daß daraus | Die Allmacht, Weisheit, Güte | und Gerechtigkeit des gros= | sen Schöpffers | gezeuget wird, | Anbey | viel Sprüche der Heiligen Schrifft | erklähret, | und die Menschen allesamt | zur Bewunderung, Lobe und Dienste des | grossen Gottes ermuntert werden. | Zum Druck befordert | und mit einer Vorrede begleitet | von | Johann. Alberto Fabricio, | Doct. und Prof. Publ. des Gymnasii zu Hamburg. | [rule] | Hamburg, bey Christian Wilhelm Brandt. 1735.

8°: a-c8 A-Mmmm8 Nnnn2 2a-2c8 d4 (d2 signed c2); 702l.; [i]-xlviii, [1]-1300, [56] p., 10 folding plates. Pages 1099-1105 misnumbered 1200-1204. Three folding tables bound in at pages 242, 344 & 436. Indexes. Page size: 170 x 100 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; [iii]-viii, Dedication signed Friedrich Christian Less, 1 May 1734.; [ix]-xl, "Vorrede."; [xli]-xlvi, "An den | Christlichen Leser/ | Vorrede D. Jo. Alb. Fabricii."; xlvii-xlviii, "Aerotheologie. | Einleitung | über die Worte Hiobs, IV, 10."; [plate].; [1]-1300, Text.; [56 pgs], Indexes.

Scarce. A complex and detailed work examining in every facet of the mineral kingdom the evidence of God's fingerprint. Referencing and quoting hundreds of ancient and contemporary writers Lesser assembled a tremendous bank of information to support his viewpoint that God alone was responsible for geology, mineralogy, crystallography, etc. The author was so successful in selecting his evidence that the Lithotheologie is commonly viewed as the one of the foundation works in reconciling theology with mineralogy and geology.

The text is divided into nine books: (1) covers the fundamental relationship between the earth, air, water and life, (2) describes the origins of rocks, fossils and minerals, (3) describes the occurrences of mineralized bodies inside the earth, (4) covers the properties of stones and minerals, (5) highlights precious and semiprecious gemstones, (6) stones used in building, manufacture and art, (7) provides descriptions of the misuse of gemstones, e.g. mythical powers, (8) covers artificial stones of all types, and (9) wondrous stones, such as Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt. At the end are two indexes. The first provides references to sections in the Bible, while the other lists subjects covered.

Bibliographical references: Beekman, Systematische Mineralogie, 1906: 33. BL [987.e.32.]. Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 2, 693. Dryander, Catalogus Banks, 1796-1800: p. 74. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 28. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 25. LKG: XII 14. NUC: 328, 337-9 [NL 0284345]. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 2, 103. Schröter's Journal für die Liebhaber: 3, 54. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 3904 [reproduces the title page]. Wallerius, Brevis Introductio, 1779: 71.

4. German, 1751 [2nd edition].
Friedrich Christian Lessers ... Lithotheologie, das ist: Natürliche Historie und geistliche Betrachtung derer Steine, also abgefasst, dass daraus die Allmacht, Weisheit, Güte und Gerechtigkeit des grossen Schöpfers gezefigt wird, anbey viel Sprüche der Heiligen Schrift erklähret, und die Menschen allesamt zur Bewunderung, Lobe und Dienste des grossen Gottes ermuntert werden. Neu verbesserte Auflage. Hamburg: Bey Christian W. Brandt, 1751.

8°: xlviii, 1488, [64] p., woodcut (p. 1274), 10 folding plates, 3 folding tables.

Very scarce. Consists of 9 books bound in two volumes. Enlarged and corrected edition of a work that gives a thorough account of stones and minerals in reference to theology. Lesser describes their appearance, colors, hardness, uses, the philosopher's stone, pharmaceutical and chemical preparations, "marvelous" stones, the origins of rocks, their distribution, stones found in the bodies of animals and man, etc. The plates show minerals, curious finds, metals, etc.

Bibliographical references: BL [988.c.33.]. Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 2, 693. Dryander, Catalogus Banks, 1796-1800: p. 74. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 1906: 2, 28. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 25. LKG: XII 15a. NUC: 328, 337-9 [NL 0284346]. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 2, 103. Schröter's Journal für die Liebhaber: 3, 54. Selmeci Müemlékkönyvtár Kötetkatalógusa: no. 447. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 3905 [no detail]. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 1381.

5. French, 1742 [French transl.].
Lithotheologie par Mr. Fr. Chr. Lesser ... Traduite en François avec des remarques de Mr. Lyonnet. A la Haye, 1742.

2 vols.

Extremely rare. No trace of this supposed French translation has been found. It is, however, listed in a few of the early bibliographies.

Bibliographical references: Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 25. LKG: XII 15b.

6. Latin, 1736.
Epistola de Praecipuis Naturae et Artis Curiosis Speciminibus Musei, vel potius Physiotechnotamei, F. Hoffmanni, ... [Halle, 1736.]

4°: 8l.; [16] p.

Very scarce. Letter describing the curious aspects of nature as exhibited by speciemens in his natural history cabinet.

Bibliographical references: BL [1044.f.35.]. Dryander, Catalogus Banks, 1796-1800: p. 26. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 261. LKG: XV 10.

7. German, 1752.
Nachrichtliche Beschreibung des ohnweit des Berg-Schlosses Straussberg in dem Hochfürstl. Schwarzburgl. Rudolfstädtischen Amte gleiches Nahmens neu entdeckten Muschel-Marmors, welcher zugleich mit andern Marmor-Arthen in Vergleichung gezogen wird. Nordhausen, J.A. Cöler, 1752.

4°: 48 p.

Rare. Description of the building stones of Straussberg in Austria, especially marble and limestone.

Bibliographical references: Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 2, 756. Dryander, Catalogus Banks, 1796-1800: p. 132. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 2, 194. Leipziger gelehrte Zeitung: 1752, 269. LKG: XVI 307. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 2, 103. Schröter's Journal für die Liebhaber: 3, 64.

8. German, 1754 [First edition].
Einige kleine Schriften theils zur Geschichte der Natur, theils zur Physicotheologie gehorig angefertiget von Friedrich Christian Lesser ... Leipzig und Nordhausen, Verlegts Johann August Coler, Privilegierter Buchhandler in Ellrich, 1754.

8°: π1 )(4 A7 B-M8 N7; 107l.; [8], 197, [9] p. Very scarce.

Reprinted, 1770: Einige kleine Schriften, theils zur Geschichte der Natur, theils zur Physikotheologie gehorig. Leipzig und Nordberg, 1770.

Bibliographical references: BL. LKG: VI 31.

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