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Jeremias Drexel

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Jeremias Drexel S.J. 17th century

Portrait of Jeremias Drexel S.J.

Jeremias Drexel S.J. (also known as Drechsel or Drexelius) (August 15, 1581–19 April 1638) was a Jesuit writer of devotional literature and a professor of the humanities and rhetoric. He served for 23 years as court preacher in Munich to Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria and his wife Elizabeth of Lorraine.

Jeremias Drexel was born in Augsburg and was raised as Lutheran. However, he was converted to Catholicism in his youth and educated by the Jesuits before entering the Jesuit Order. He taught the Jesuit seminarians at Dillingen as professor of rhetoric, and then for 23 years he was a court preacher to Maximilian I, the prince-elector of Bavaria in the Holy Roman Empire. It is said that his voice was strong enough to be heard in every corner of the church and that his sermons were such that an hour would seem like a few minutes. During this period he accompanied Maximilian on his Bohemian campaign.

Drexel gave up preaching in 1621 and devoted himself to writing a biography of the Duchess and composing theological works redolent of his baroque preaching fervour. Drexel was fond of pictorial symbols to make his teachings concrete and thus most of his books are elegantly illustrated. Jeremias is the author of some 20 works that were widely read and translated. His writings on the eternal truth, the virtues and the Christian exemplar were popular; hundreds of thousands of copies of his works were printed. By 1642 in Munich alone, 170,700 copies of his works had appeared. His first work, De aeternitate considerationes, concerned various representations of eternity. Another of his works, Heliotropism, discussed man's recognition of the divine will and conformity to it.

He died in Munich.



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