By John Edward Fletcher, Elizabeth Fletcher
Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit in 17th-century Rome, was once an enigma. Intensely pious and a prolific writer, he was once additionally a polymath serious about every little thing from Egyptian hieroglyphs to the tiny creatures in his microscope. His correspondence with popes, princes and clergymen used to be a window into the stressed strength of the interval. It confirmed first-hand the seventeenth-centurys fight for wisdom in astronomy, microscopy, geology, chemistry, musicology, Egyptology, horology The record is going on. Kirchers books replicate the state of mind of 17th-century students - never-ending interest and a considerable larding of naiveté: Kircher scorned alchemy because the wishful considering charlatans, but believed in dragons.His lifestyles and correspondence supply a key to the transition from the center a long time to a brand new clinical age. This booklet, although unpublished, has been lengthy quoted and mentioned. Awaited by way of students and experts of Kircher, it truly is ultimately on hand with this variation.
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Extra info for A Study of the Life and Works of Athanasius Kircher, Germanus Incredibilis
483. 81 Of his four years’ stay in Mainz, Kircher says darkly, ‘much happened in this period, but since I am loathe to sing my own praises, I will remain silent and say no more’: Vita, p. 483. 82 Ars magna lucis et umbrae, Rome 1646, pp. 3, 6, 8. 83 Possibly it was Degli obelischi di Roma, Rome 1589, by Michele Mercati (1541– 1593), a work which held the pessimistic view that Egyptian ideograms would never be translated. 84 Kircher describes the decision he took at Speier in the prefaces to his Prodromus coptus sive aegyptiacus, 1636; Oedipus aegyptiacus, 1652–1654, I; and Sphinx mystagoga, 1676.
57 Among the original intake in 1614 were seven Benedictines and five Jesuit novices. 59 Kircher himself tells us little of his stay in Paderborn, but we know the accepted Jesuit procedure for novices, and the studies and spiritual exercises undertaken by students. For all Jesuits, the critical two-year novitiate rested on the basic aims of self-denial, contemplative prayer and stringent adherence to the Society’s rules. The young novice must be purged of worldly thoughts: his temporal world was to shrink as his spiritual horizon enlarged.
R. Ritman Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam. For helpful criticisms and encouragement, I thank Professors Wouter Hanegraaff, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Thomas Leinkauf, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany, and above all Joscelyn Godwin, Colgate University, United States of America. 49 Paris: Librairie A. Hatier, 2nd edition, 1948. Cf. the section ‘Orthographie’, pp. 421–426. 1 It was the feast-day of St Athanasius, in the eleventh year of the pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Clement VIII.