Friedrich Münter

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Friedrich Münter. Portrait by Christian Albrecht Jensen, after Christian Horneman

Fried(e)rich Christian Carl Heinrich Münter (14 October 1761 – 9 April 1830) was a German-Danish scholar, professor of theology at the University of Copenhagen, orientalist, church historian, archaeologist, Danish bishop of Zealand, and freemason. He was a brother of Sophie Christiane Friederike Brun.


Friedrich Münter was born on 14 October 1761 in Gotha, a son of Balthasar Münter, a clergyman. His father moved with his family to Copenhagen in 1765 to become vicar at St. Peter's Church. Here Friedrich was privately tutored at the vicarage. There he enjoyed the company of many of his father's renowned acquaintances including the archaeologist Carsten Niebuhr, professor of theology Johann Andreas Cramer, and the poets Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg.[1]

In 1781 he began a study at the University of Göttingen. In 1784 he was the first Protestant to receive a doctorate of philosophy at the University of Fulda.[2]

Afterwards, the King Christian VII of Denmark sent him to Italy and Sicily to continue his education. In Rome he had contact with Stefano Borgia, who later became cardinal. There he learned the Coptic language. In 1787 he returned to Copenhagen and became a professor at the University of Copenhagen.[2]

Münter collated and described manuscripts housed in notable Italian libraries, e.g. he collated Codex Nanianus for the first time and he sent some extracts from this codex to Andreas Birch. Birch used these extracts in his edition of the text of the four Gospels in Greek.[3]

Münter also studied cuneiform inscriptions from Persepolis. He discovered that the words in the inscriptions were divided from one another by an oblique wedge and that the monuments must belong to the age of Cyrus and his successors. One word, which occurs without any variation towards the beginning of each inscription, he correctly inferred to signify "king".[4][5]

Münter's main work is "Religion der Karthager" (Copenhagen, 1816). The second edition (1821) was expanded and included new research.

Other works include "Sendschreiben an Kreuzer über Sardische Idole" (Copenhagen, 1822), "Der Tempel der himmlichen Göttin zu Paphos" (Copenhagen, 1824), and "Religion der Babylonier" (Copenhagen, 1827). Some small archaeological works of Münter were included in his "Antiquarische Abhandlungen" (Copenhagen, 1816).

On numismatics Münter wrote: "De numo plumbео Zenobiae reginae Orientis et aeneo Palmyreno" (Petersburg, 1823) and "Ueber die Münzen der Vandalischen Könige von Karthago" ("Antiquarische Abhandlungen", p. 301).


Syracuse's map, in Efterretninger om begge Sicilierne (1790)
  • Betrachtung über die natürliche Religion (1805)
  • De aetate versionum Novi Testamenti copticorum (1790)
  • Dr. Balthasar Münters Leben und Charakteristik (1793)
  • Nachrichten über beide Sizilien (1790)
  • Efterretninger om begge Sicilierne (1790)
  • Statutenbuch des Ordens der Tempelherren – Sinzheim, AAGW, 2002 (Repr. d. Ausg. Berlin 1794)
  • Vermischte Beyträge zur Kirchengeschichte – Kopenhagen, Proft & Storch, 1798
  • Die Offenbarung Johannis metrisch ins Deutsche übersetzt – Kopenhagen 1784
  • Fragmenta Patrum Graecorum edidit & illustr – Fasc. I. Hafniae 1788


  1. ^ Fr. Nielsens Münter in: Dansk biografisk leksikon, edited by C.F. Bricka, 12. volume, p. 25, Gyldendal, 1887–1905.
  2. ^ a b "Friedrich Münter". Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). cols. 323–329.
  3. ^ Birch, Variae Lectiones ad Textum IV Evangeliorum, Haunie 1801, pp. LXV-LXVI.
  4. ^ See:
  5. ^ Sayce, Rev. Arnold H. (1908). The Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions (2nd ed.). London,England: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. p. 10.


  • Fr. Nielsens Münter in: Dansk biografisk leksikon, edited by C.F. Bricka, 12. volume, pages 25–33, Gyldendal, 1887–1905.
  • Rasmussen, Alexander og Øjvind Andreasen. (1925–1949). Frederik Münter: et Mindeskrift, Haase, 1925-1949. 1–7 i 8 vols.
  • Nico Perrone: La Loggia della Philantropia. Un religioso danese a Napoli prima della rivoluzione. Con la corrisponenza massonica e altri documenti (The Philantropia Lodge. A Danish Priest in Naples before the Revolution. With Masonic Papers and Other Documents), Palermo, Sellerio ISBN 88-389-2141-5

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