History of Knowledge Seminar Series

17 do
17 november 2022
Online (Microsoft Teams)
Prof. Martin Mulsow (University of Erfurt)
‘The Function of Fakes. Boineburg’s Lost Book on the Political Role of Falsehood’


Johann Cristian von Boineburg (1622-1672), known as the mentor of the young Leibniz, was not only one of the leading politicians of the German Ancien Regime, but also a book collector and organizer of science. He jotted down ideas, notes, and references on the front covers of the books he bought. Reconstructing the contents of some of his books  from these notes (books that were never published, and perhaps never finished) reveals a surprising topicality: Boineburg wanted to prevent the corruption of knowledge, the fake news and falsified contracts with which politicians and administrators operated. What was the background experience of this project? What should Boineburg’s reform look like? And why didn’t he implement it?


Martin Mulsow is Professor of Knowledge Cultures of Modern Europe at the University of Erfurt and Director of the Gotha Research Centre. He is the author of Enlightenment Underground: Radical Germany, 1680-1720Accidental Radicals: The Hidden Origins of the German Enlightenment. His most recent work, Knowledge Lost: A New View of Early Modern Intellectual History has just appeared from Princeton University Press.

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This seminar is organized by Lukas M. Verburgt and Sjang ten Hagen. Please visit our website for more information, the full 2022-23 program, and to subscribe to our newsletter.

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