Georg Friedrich Meier was born in Ammendorf near Halle (Prussia) on 29 March 1718. Because of his fragile health he received his primary education at home. His father, a Lutheran pastor close to Pietism, taught ihm Latin, German and arithmetics until 1729, when he was able to enter the house of Johann Gottfried Semler, the founder of the first mathematical and mechanical Real-Schule, where he received his secondary education, which he integrated by taking classes from 1730 at the Hallisches Waisenhaus, the institution founded by the founder of Pietism, which at that time was run by Hieronymus Freyer, and from 1732 at the University of Halle. His name appears in the university’s registry of 6 June 1730, but he actually began his studies at Easter 1735, finishing them on 25 April 1739. His first publication, Of Several Mathematical Abstractions (De nonnullis abstractis mathematicis), is a disputation co-authored with his fellow student, Jakob Heinrich Sprengel, which both of them defended on September 30, 1739 under the presidency of Siegmund Jakob Baumgarten, who together with his brother Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten was his intellectual mentor. He started teaching at Halle, in the Fall of 1739/40. From 1739 to 1746 he taught as a Privatdozent, from 1746 to 1748 as an extraordinary professor and from 1748 to his death as an ordinary professor. He was highly effective as an academic teacher and could count among his students statesmen such as Christoph Ludwig von Stille, Karl Gottlob von Guichard, Karl Abraham Baron von Zedlitz und Leipe as well as scholars such as Johann August Noesselt, Johann Salomo Semler, Thomas Abbt, Johann August Eberhard, Christian Gottfried Schütz. Just before his promotion to ordinary professor in 1748, Meier refused two offers by the University of Göttingen and by the Duke of Brunswick, who wanted him to teach at respectively at the University of Helmstedt and Brunswick’s technical university, the Collegium Carolinum. Shortly after his promotion, however, the Oberkuratorium für die preußischen Universitäten (which was then an agency of Berlin’s Etats-Ministerium), made him the object of an investigation on the charge of propagating free-thinking. Meier was said to have denied the doctrine of the immortality of the soul in his writing of 1746 Thoughts on the Condition of the Soul after Death (Gedancken vom Zustande der Seele nach dem Tode). He was able to prove that he had not and that the misunderstanding was due to the care he had taken to detail the position of his adversaries. Though Meier never left Halle, he knew the world quite well and the world knew him because of the large number of his publications, many of which appeared in several edition and reprints. He was made a fellow of the academies of sciences at Greifswald, Jena, Berlin and Göttingen. In 1754 he was requested to appear in front of Frederick William II the Great, then on a state-visit in Halle, which was in itself a great honor. The King ordered him to stop teaching philosophy after unkown textbooks and teach instead after John Locke’s Essay concerning Human Understanding, which Meier promptly did, in the Summer of 1754, being the first to do so at a German university. The experiment did not work. Too few students enrolled, and Meier went back to teaching after Wolff, Baumgarten and himself. He lived the uneventful life of a scholar and managed to be well off thanks to a comparatively high salary and the royalties from his books. He was pro-rector twice, from July 1759 to July 1760 (it happened in the middle of the Seven-Years War, and as the university’s representative he was taken hostage for three days when the town fell in enemy’s hands) and from July 1768 to July 1769. In 1750, he married Johanna Concordia Hermann, like himself the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. Having had no children of their own, the couple adopted a daughter who then married the university secretary. Meier died on 21 June 1777.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.