‘God’s Strange Providence’: Jane Lead in the Correspondence of Johann Georg Gichtel
This chapter offers a corrective to previous discussions of the way in which Lead’s writings reached German Pietist circles. Most accounts of Lead’s reception on the continent begin with one of her manuscripts falling into the hands of the radical Pietists Johanna Eleonora and Johann Wilhelm Petersen in 1695. Yet Martin demonstrates not only that Johann Georg Gichtel distributed Lead’s texts in manuscript before the Petersens, but also that Gichtel’s correspondence contributed to Lead’s thought and the production of certain texts. She argues that Lead’s influence began much earlier and was more multi-layered than has been assumed, since her thought was transformed by a series of mediators, including Gichtel, the Petersens and others. In addition, Martin explores the nature of international correspondence networks among nonconformists and millenarians, showing how shared tenets were debated and developed in the discursive space of these epistolary networks. Finally, the chapter traces the evolution of the key Philadelphian doctrine of universal salvation to discussions within such networks, disputing the notion of a one-way knowledge transfer from England to Germany.