Johann Konrad Dippel was born at a small castle, Castle Frankenstein, in southwestern Germany in 1673. He was a born into a devoutly Lutheran family. His father was a 4th generation Lutheran preacher, and it was determined at a very young age that Johann was to follow in his father’s footsteps. At the age of nine, he was entered into a small school called Darmstadt Gymnasium to began schooling on religious matter. By his seventeenth birthday he was studying theology at the University of Giessen. While away at university he gained a reputation for being debatable, yet confrontational and short-tempered. This behavior gained him many friends, who admired his willingness to enter into disagreement, and many enemies who despised his willingness to argue for what seemed the sake of arguing. This pattern would follow him throughout his life and into his studies as a scientist. Through all of this, one thing remained true, everyone, including his enemies, esteemed his brilliance. After graduating from Giessen with a master’s degree, he relocated to Wittenberg and Strasbourg, Germany. He spent most of his time traveling the area preaching. The other part of time he spent writing and publishing religious articles. His articles were distributed through much of Europe. It was also during this time that he began to question the fundamental beliefs of the Lutheran church. His interest peaked in philosophy and the philosophy of other religions. He found himself drawn to a movement which was gaining momentum in Europe, Pietism. During his stay in Strasburg he killed a man during a gun duel and was forced to leave the city. His new found belief Pietism and his forceful removal from Strasburg ignited a passionate distaste for the Lutheran church in Germany. His writings and articles, which were once in promotion of the Lutheran church and its leaders, now aimed to awaken people of the dangers of the church. People who he walked hand and hand with were now the target of his writings. His writings were banned in many places in Europe including much of Germany, and all of Sweden and Russia. His confrontational, in your face style eventually landed him in prison for heresy. His sentence lasted seven years. When he was released from prison he continued on with his push of piety. By this time many of his supporters had abandoned him fearing he was doing more harm than good. Pietists believed that their opponents “should be met with charity and understanding rather than with acrimony and violence.”(Aynsley, E.E. and Cambell, W.A. 282) Dippel was incapable of adhering to this believe. His relationship with the Pietism movement dwindled.
Introduction to alchemy
After getting exiled from nearly all religious communities, Dippel found a new love in alchemy. A pastor in Giessen gave him two alchemy books “in the hopes that he could make sense of them.” (Aynsley and Cambell, 282) Dippel took them home and became immersed in the studies. It combined two...