Johannes Janssen

Johannes Janssen (10 April 1829 – 24 December 1891) was a Catholic priest and German historian born in Xanten. After graduating from the Rektoratsschule in Xanten (today's Stiftsgymnasium), he was educated at the universities of Münster, Leuven, Bonn and Berlin, afterwards becoming a teacher of history in Frankfurt-am-Main.

Johannes Janssen in his old age.

He was ordained priest in 1860, became a member of the Prussian House of Deputies in 1875, and in 1880 was made domestic prelate to the pope and apostolic pronotary. He died at Frankfurt. Janssen was a stout champion of the Ultramontane party in the Roman Catholic Church.


His great work is his Geschichte des deutschen Volkes seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters (8 vols., Freiburg, 1878–1894). He argues against Luther, Zwingli and the other Protestant reformers Reformation, and claims that Protestantism was responsible for the general unrest in Germany during the 16th and 17th centuries. The author's conclusions led to some controversy, and Janssen wrote An meine Kritiker (Freiburg, 1882) and Ein zweites Wort an meine Kritiker (Freiburg, 1883) in reply to the Janssens Geschichte des deutschen Volkes (Munich, 1883) of Max Lenz, and other criticisms.

The Geschichte, which has passed through numerous editions, has been continued and improved by Ludwig Pastor, and the greater part of it has been translated into English by M. A. Mitchell and A. M. Christie (London, 1896, fol.). Of his other works perhaps the most important are: the editing of Frankfurts Reichskorrespondenz, 1376–1519 (Freiburg, 1863–1872); and of the Leben, Briefe und kleinere Schriften of his friend JF Böhmer (Leipzig, 1868); a monograph, Schiller als Historiker (Freiburg, 1863); and Zeit- und Lebensbilder (Freiburg, 1875).

Works in English translationEdit


See alsoEdit


  • Alexander, Joseph (1892). "Johannes Janssen," The Catholic World, Vol. LV, pp. 572–579.
  • Duhr, Bernard (1930). "Johannes Janssem als Katholiseher Historiker," Der Katholische Gedanke, Vol. III, No. 3.
  • Jedin, Hubert (1974). "Janssen, Johannes". In: Neue Deutsche Biographie. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • Meister, Franz (1896). Erinnerung an Johannes Janssen. Frankfort: A. Foesser Nachf.
  • Mooney, John A. (1887). "Professor Janssen and other Modern German Historians," The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. XII, pp. 424–451.
  • Mooney, John A. (1888). "Johannes Janssen, Germany's Great Historian," The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. XIII, pp. 429–462.
  • Pastor, Ludwig von (1893). Johannes Janssen. Freiburg: Herder.
  • Pastor, Ludwig von (1905). "Janssen, Johannes". In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 733–741.
  • Schwann, Mathieu (1892). Johannes Janssen und die Geschichte der deutschen Reformation. München: C. Mehrlich.
  • Thompson, James Westfall (1942). "Catholic Historians." In: A History of Historical Writing. The Macmillan Company, pp. 535–558.
  • Wildermuth, Bernd (1990). "Johannes Janssen". In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon. Hamm: Bautz.
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Janssen, Johannes". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 154–155.

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