FABRICIUS, fa-brish'i-us, JOHANN: German theologian; b. at Altorf (13 m. e.n.e. of Nuremberg) Feb. 11, 1644; d. at Königslutter (9 m. w.n.w. of Helmstadt) Jan. 29, 1729. He studied theology at Helmstadt (1663-65), and then traveled extensively, especially in Italy, where he was preacher to a congregation of Evangelical merchants at Venice. In 1677 he accepted a call to a professorship at Altorf, but twenty years later went in the same capacity to Helmstadt, where he became abbot of Königslutter in 1701 and counselor of the consistory in 1703. His specialty was comparative symbolics, and to this was devoted his most important work, Consideratio variarum controversiarum (Helmstadt, 1704). In this book, however, he displayed a latitudinarianism which exposed him to severe criticism; and his position became still more difficult when he pronounced a formal opinion, prepared at the request of Duke Anton Ulrich and based on elaborate arguments, that the Princess Elizabeth Christine might conscientiously become a convert to the Roman Catholic faith to wed the King of Spain. This brought upon him a storm of opposition from the court-chaplains, but their arguments were refuted and they were deposed, while Fabricius and the duke were supported, on the whole, by the ruling of the theological faculty of Helmstadt and a number of other scholars. He then finally succeeded in overcoming the religious scruples of the princess, and her conversion took place at Bamberg on May 1, 1707. In the previous year he had published anonymously a pamphlet entitled Erörterte Frage Herrn Fabricii, dass zwischen der augsburgischen Konfession und katholischen Religion kein sonderlicher Unterschied sei (Helmstadt , 1706). Throughout the Protestant world, and especially in England and Holland, the most violent indignation was excited, and the elector of Hanover, moved by his hopes of gaining the English crown, obliged Anton Ulrich to deprive Fabricius of his professorship. He accordingly resigned in 1709, but remained abbot of Königslutter, and occupied the closing years of his life in beautifying his estate and preparing his Historia bibliothecæ Fabricianæ (6 vols., Wolfenbüttel, 1717-24).
(G. UHLHORN †.)