Volume/Folder: John Kelpius journal, 1694-1708 [German, Latin, and English]

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Record Number: 11399
Volume: 26
Author: Kelpius, John, Johannes Kelpius, 1667-1708
Introduction author: Wister, John Casper
Address: Germantown
Philadelphia, PA
Date of Original: 1694 - 1708
Original Format: Manuscripts
Dimensions: Dimensions of image, 9.5 by 15.5 cm
Image description: Journal of John [Johannes] Kelpius, a Christian mystic and Pietist, born in Transylvania in 1667. Kelipus came to Pennsylvania in 1694 with his followers, who became known as the "Society of the Women in the Wilderness," and believed from their interpretations of the Book of Revelations that the world would end in 1694. Although it did not, the community contiuned to live in the woods near the Wissahickon Creek, studying astronomy, botony, and the occult. They also set up a school for children in the area and shared medical knowledge with those around them. It is believed that the fellows lived communally, but also spent much of their time as hermits in solitary mediation in caves throughout the woods. Kelpius died in the Wissahickon woods near Germantown in 1708.

Much of this volume is in Latin and German, with a few passages in English, and alchemical symbols scattered throughout. Much of the writing is devoted to instructions in prayer. One importat passage in English begins on page 91, titled "Of the Threefold Wilderness--State viz. 1. The Barren, 2. The Fruitful and 3. The Wilderness of the Elect of God"; it details much of Kelpius' thinking regarding the spiritual projects of his community.

John Wister wrote a short introduction to the journal, which he inserted into the book. It is the first two pages of the volume.