[Index of Biographies]

Daniel Heinrich Arnoldt (1706-1775)

[An earlier draft of this appeared in The Dictionary of Eighteenth Century German Philosophers, 3 vols., edited by Manfred Kuehn and Heiner Klemme (London/New York: Continuum, 2010).]

Daniel Heinrich Arnoldt (also: Arnold) was born (7 December 1706) and died (30 July 1775) in Königsberg. He was a Pietist [glossary] theologian in the Wolffian mold of F. A. Schultz and an invaluable local historian. An early interest and ability in poetry led to his first publication (1732) — a study on the proper rules for writing poetry, laid out in Wolff’s mathematical style. Arnoldt continued this interest throughout his life, and was president of the Royal German Society of Königsberg when he died. He also mentored the future novelist J. T. Hermes during the latter’s studies at Königsberg (1758-61). Of greatest significance are Arnoldt’s histories of the university at Königsberg (1746, 1756, 1769) and of churchmen in East Prussia (1777). Little is known of the relationship to his now more famous colleague, Immanuel Kant, but it is perhaps of some interest to Kant scholars that Emil Arnoldt [bio] was the grandson of Arnoldt's older brother, the physician Johann Gottfried Arnoldt (1703-1747).

Arnoldt was the son of a Königsberg merchant — Johann Friedrich Arnoldt (1673-1720) — and a merchant’s daughter — Luise Krehoff (1683-1768), married 7 February 1702 (the father’s previous marriage, to Barbara Regina Quandt, ended in a little over a year with her death). He studied at the Altstadt School in Königsberg, then matriculated at the university on 2 October 1721 at the age of fifteen, just as the antagonism between the Pietists and the Wolffians was it its peak. He was introduced to Christian Wolff’s [bio] philosophy by C. G. Fischer [bio], K. G. Marquardt [bio], and his cousin C. F. Baumgarten [bio]. He was later brought into the Pietist fold by Heinrich Lysius [bio], Abraham Wolf [bio], and G. F. Rogall [bio] (whose daughter he would later marry), and Borowski [bio] — Arnoldt’s god-son — claims that he eventually gave up the Wolffian demonstrative style of writing, although he retained an admirable precision and clarity in his writing and speaking.

While still a student, Arnoldt participated in J. D. Kypke’s [bio] pro loco disputation (16 October 1727). He then finished his studies in Halle, as was customary at that time for Prussian students interested in an ecclesiastical career, receiving the Magister degree on 25 October 1728. With strong support from King Friedrich Wilhelm I, he was called back to Königsberg in 1729 and, despite his young age, was appointed associate professor of practical philosophy, for which he offered a public set of lectures on natural law each semester. He gave up this position in 1735, although he continued to lecture on moral philosophy for many years, the summary of which he published in 1764. 

Franz Albert Schultz [bio] arrived in Königsberg in 1731 and quickly found an ally in Arnoldt, for whom he requested (18 Sept. 1732) an appointment as his adjunct at the Altstadt church as well as consistory advisor and associate professor of theology. Arnoldt was in fact made consistory advisor in 1732, but opposition from the anti-Pietist theologian Quandt [bio] delayed his appointment as adjunct to Schultz and as associate professor of theology until 1733; he was awarded a doctorate in theology on November 12 of that year. Just a month earlier on October 8, Arnoldt had married Marie Julianne Rogal (1717-36), daughter of the influential Pietist professor Georg Friedrich Rogall, who had recently died (May 6). 

The King (by way of Schultz) next recommended Arnoldt’s appointment as full professor of theology on 4 November 1734, but resistance from the Academic Senate delayed this several months until 1735, at which time he was also appointed as adjunct to the second court chaplain at the Castle Church, advancing to second court chaplain in 1736 (succeeding David Vogel [bio], whose daughter he would marry in 1739, having by then been twice widowed), and finally first court chaplain in 1772 (succeeding Quandt), the year he moved into the senior chair of theology. Perhaps of greater significance, Arnoldt replaced F. A. Schultz as director of the Collegium Fridericianum (1763-75), the Pietist Latin school that Kant had attended. In that same year he was appointed the inspector of the Lithuanian and Polish seminaries.

Arnoldt was reportedly less gifted in the pulpit than Quandt, but he was well regarded by his students and colleagues. During the Russian Occupation (1758-62) [glossary] he had a scrape with the authorities when, as first chaplain at the Castle Church, he quoted a provocative passage from Micah 7:8 — “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” — in a sermon delivered on 22 August 1759. The church service was supposed to celebrate the victory of the Russian Empress Elisabeth (and her troops) at the battle of Kundersdorf (12 August), but the passage suggested a more defiant tone against the occupiers, and Arnoldt was immediately placed under house arrest and nearly sent to Siberia. He was required to make a public apology from the same pulpit on 2 December 1759, but was spared this by a commotion caused by cries of “Fire!” — presumably instigated by student supporters, and which inadvertently led to three deaths. The inquiry into the incident by the academic senate was inconclusive, and the matter was dropped when Arnoldt observed that he had never intended to insult the Empress.

An engraving of Arnoldt is printed in his Lebenspflichten der Christen (1764). [last update: 20 Feb 2008]


Versuch einer systematischen Anleitung zur deutsche Poesie überhaupt (Königsberg: Hartung, 1732). [2nd ed: 1741 (see below)]

Versuch einer, nach demonstrativischer Lehrart entworfnen, Anleitung zur Poesie der Deutschen, Vermehrte und verbeßerte Auflage (Königsberg: Hartung, 1741), 152 pp. [1st ed: 1732]

Ausführliche und mit Urkunden versehene Historie der königsbergischen Universität, 2 vols. (Königsberg: J. H. Hartung, 1746), vol. 1: 366 pp., 504 pp.; vol. 2: 592 pp, 104 pp., with two volumes of additions (1756, 1769).

Zusätze zu seiner Historie der königsbergischen Universität (Königsberg: Hartung, 1756), 240 pp.

Vernunft- und schriftmäßige Gedanken von den Lebenspflichten der Christen (Königsberg and Leipzig: Zeise and Hartung, 1764), 655 pp.

Fortgesetzte Zusätze zu seiner Historie der königsbergischen Universität (Königsberg: Zeise and Hartung, 1769), 202 pp.

Kurzgefaßte Kirchengeschichte des Königreichs Preußen (Königsberg: J. J. Kanter, 1769), 886 pp.

Kurzgefaßte Nachrichten von allen seit der Reformation an den lutherischen Kirchen in Ostpreußen gestandenen Predigern, edited by Friedrich Wilhelm Benefeldt (Königsberg: Hartung, 1777).

Other Relevant Works

De statu hominis naturali, 2 parts (Königsberg: Reussner, 1729-30).

Der Beförderung des Christenthums in den Häusern (Königsberg: Hartung, 1734).

Der grosse Katechismus des seel. D. Martin Lutheri, mit grober Schrift von neuem Gedruckt und mit nothigen Erklarungen auch dienlichen Anmerckungen (Königsberg: Hartung, 1734).

Anfangsgründe der homiletischen Gottesgelahrtheit (Königsberg, 1765).

Kirchenrecht des Königreichs Preussen, zum Gebrauch seiner Zuhörer entworfen (Königsberg und Leipzig: Zeise and Hartung, 1771), 122 pp.

Further Reading

ADB, vol. 1, pp. 596 (Wilhelm Heinrich Erbkam).

APB, vol. 1, p. 19 (Borrmann).

Arnoldt, Daniel Heinrich, Ausführliche und mit Urkunden versehene Historie der Königsbergischen Universität (Königsberg, 1746), vol. 2, pp. 193-94, 220, 228.

Arnoldt, Daniel Heinrich, Fortgesetzte Zusätze zu seiner Historie der Königsbergischen Universität (Königsberg, 1769), p. 31.

DLL, supp. vol. 1, col. 273 (Reinhard Müller).

Gause, Fritz, Die Geschichte der Stadt Königsberg in Preussen, 2nd enlarged ed., 3 vols. (Köln, 1969), vol. 2, pp. 119, 137-38, 166.

Jöcher/Adelung (1784), vol. 1, cols. 1120-21.

Meusel (1802), vol. 1, pp. 109-112.

Mühlpfordt, Herbert Meinhard, “Bisher unveröffentlichte Briefe Emil Arnoldts — Stammbaum der Familie Arnoldt.” Jahrbuch der Albertus Universität zu Königsberg (Würzburg: Holzner Verlag, 1962), 12: 347-59.

NDB, vol. 1, p. 392 (Götz von Selle).

Pisanski, Georg Christoph, Entwurf einer preussischen Literargeschichte in vier Bucher, ed. by Rudolf Philippi (Königsberg, 1886), pp. 562, 565, 586, 588-90, 593-94, 596, 664, 679.

Selle, Götz von, Geschichte der Albertus-Universität zu Königsberg, 2nd ed. (Würzburg: Holzner Verlag, 1956), pp. 157-58.

Wendland, Walter, Ludwig Ernst von Borowski, Erzbischof der evangelischen Kirche in Preussen (Königsberg: Ferdinand Beyers, 1910), pp. 38-39.

Zippel, Gustav, Geschichte des Königliche Friedrichs-Kollegiums 1698-1898 (Königsberg: Hartung, 1898), pp. 133-34.

[Index of Biographies]