Johann Albert Fabricius (1668-1736) Bibliographer and Scholar

Johannes Fabricius
(Above) Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery
Johann Albert Fabricius

Johann Albert Fabricius

(1668-1736) German classical scholar and bibliographer, born at Leipzig. He was born the son of Werner Fabricius, the director of the St. Paul’s Church choir and was the author of several works, the most important being Deliciae Harmonicae (1656) from whom he received his first education which was later completed under the theologian Alberti which his father recommended him to the care of at time of his death.

Fabricius studied under G. Herrichen, and afterwards at Quedlinburg under Samuel Schmid. It was in Schmid's library, as he afterwards said, that he found the two books, F. Barth's Adversaria and D. G. Morhof's Polyhistor Literarius, which suggested to him the idea of his Bibliothecae, the works on which his great reputation was founded. Having returned to Leipzig in 1686, he published anonymously (two years later) his first work, Scriptorum recentiorum decas, an attack on ten writers of the day. His Decas Decadum, sive plagiariorum et pseudonymorum centuria (1689) is the only one of his works to which he signs the name Faber.

Johann Albert Fabricius
Johannes Albert Fabricius

He then applied himself to the study of medicine, which, however, he relinquished for that of theology. He moved to Hamburg in 1693, there he was librarian to John Mayer. In 1699, he taught as professor of rhetoric and ethics until his death, April 30, 1736.

He compiled numerous bibliographies of ancient literature and his Bibliotheca Græca (1705) which is the basis for every subsequent history of Greek literature. His Codex Apocryphus (1703) is still a standard authority on apocryphal Christian literature. Among his other works are Bibliotheca Latina (1697) a history of Latin literature; Bibliotheca Antiquaria (1713); and Centifolium Lutheranum (1728); a bibliography of Lutheran literature.

Details of the life of Johann Albert Fabricius are detailed in De Vita et Scriptis A. Fabricii Commentarius, by his son-in-law, H. S. Reimarus, the well-known editor of Dio Cassius, published at Hamburg, 1737.


  • Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia, ©1950
  • Johann Albert Fabricius
  • Johann Albert Fabricius
  • Johann Albert Fabricius (1668-1736)
  • Johann Albert Fabricius
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