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Summaries of Acta Comeniana 26 (L), 2012

Martin Rothkegel

On the Career of the Anti-Trinitarian Jacobus Palaeologus up to 1561, Part 1: Frate Jacobo da Scio and His Followers in the Levante

This essay on Jacobus Palaeologus, born c. 1520 on the Island of Chios and executed as a heretic in Rome in 1585, explores the biographical experience of the Greek-Italian theologian in the Levant as a possible context for his journey towards a radical form of Unitarianism which went as far as rejecting the dogmatic boundaries between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Based on documents from the Archivio della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede (Città del Vaticano) and the Archivio di Stato di Genova, section II of the article delineates the "itinerary", or the whereabouts and activities, of Palaeologus in Constantinople and Chios between 1554 and 1561. Reports sent to Rome by the inquisitors of Constantinople and Chios mention at least three circles of adherents of Palaeologus in the Levant which are studied in the following sections of the essay. Section III deals with Palaeologus's followers among the Dominican friars and the aristocracy of the island capital of Chios. Section IV explores another such circle in Pera (the traditional Latin Christian quarter of Constantinople) that was in close contact with the embassy of Ferdinand I in the Ottoman capital. Section V examines some references in the inquisitors' reports about supporters of Palaeologus among the Marrano (or converso) immigrants of Portuguese-Jewish descent in Salonica and Constantinople. The essay argues that Palaeologus's experience with the precarious situation of the Levantine Latin Christians in the realm of Islam and with the ambivalent religious situation of part of the Marrano migrants between Judaism and Christianity, contributed to the development of the radically Unitarian, inclusivist redraft of the Christian religion that he elaborated on in his later writings. Since no relevant theological writings of Palaeologus written prior to 1571 are preserved, however, this cannot be more than a hypothesis. In the second part of the essay, which will follow in one of the next issues of Acta Comeniana, the puzzling problem of Paleologus's theological development prior to 1561 will be re-examined in greater detail.

Jan Čížek

Johann Heinrich Alsted: A Mediator between Francesco Patrizi and J. A. Comenius?

This study follows the author's previous research that pointed out to signifi cant similarities between the philosophical conceptions of Francesco Patrizi and those of Jan Amos Comenius. If we admit that the contents of Patrizi's greatest work Nova de universis philosophia did infl uence Comenius's thought in some respect, it raises the question of when Jan Amos encountered Patrizi's views. The question is the more topical when we consider that an indirect reference to Patrizi's work can be found in Comenius's treatise Conatuum pansophicorum dilucidatio, written several years before he travelled to London where, according to the present opinion of historians of philosophy, he became familiar with the contents of Nova de universis philosophia. The most probable mediator of Patrizi's work is Comenius's Herborn teacher Johann Heinrich Alsted. On the basis of an analysis of Alsted's works we come to the conclusion that even though he knew Patrizi's philosophical views, he took over and presented in his writings completely diff erent ideas from those which later infl uenced Jan Amos Comenius.

Márton Szentpéteri

The Mystery of Piety Revealed and Defended: A Sequelto Johann Heinrich Bisterfeld´s De uno Deo?


It has always been a truly tantalizing question for the scholars of Herborn intelligentsia in Transylvania: as to why Bisterfeld did not complete his publication project that began with the famous De uno Deo which was designed to refute Johann Crellʼs ideas and was destined to be a companion to Johann Heinrich Alstedʼs Prodromus religionis triumphantis, which was in turn written against Johann Völkel. Although the essay cannot answer this question entirely, it draws attention to some fundamental facts which could shed more light on the issue stating that Bisterfeld did fi nish the sequel, but apparently never published it. In order to achieve this, the essay discusses briefl y a letter by Jean Mellet sent to Adrian Heereboord later published as dedication to Bisterfeldʼs very rare Isagoge encyclopaedica, and Melletʼs Theosophia naturalis which seems to be a treatise originally written by Bisterfeld. Having a look at these sources, the author formulates a hypothesis claiming that the continuation of the De uno Deo, that is the separate publication of the Mysterium pietatis ostensum, became rather obsolete in the eyes of Bisterfeld at a certain point, and consequently he incorporated it into his Sciagraphia symbioticae, one of the most ingenious works of the late Bisterfeld in Transylvania, posthumously published in 1661. In addition, it is highly presumable that a further posthumous version of the Mysterium pietatis ostensum saw the light in 1662, this time, under the name of Jean Mellet and entitled as Theosophia naturalis, sive mysterium pietatis ostensum.

Jakub Žytek

Daniel Vetter's Islandia: The Curious Encompassed within the Divine


This study examines the travelogue Islandia (1638) of Daniel Vetter. It argues that the references to God and his divine assistance throughout the narrative part of the travelogue create a subtle semantic net upon which the message of the text, that is to portray the magnifi cence of God's deeds, is based. A recurrent topic of danger, permeating the narration, serves as a medium for such a portrayal. The descriptive part of the travelogue is interpreted as another Vetter's way of portraying the magnifi cence of God's deeds. While depicting Iceland, which is seen as a curious Kunstkammer, every aspect of Icelandic reality is portrayed as being in some way curious and peculiar, contributing to the image of the land included within God's plan. At the closing of the travelogue, these two ways of portraying are linked together. The curious is not only connected with, but fi nally also encompassed within, the divine.

Iva Lelková

Philipp Jacob Sachs von Lewenheimb (1627–1672) and his Role within Intellectual Networks of the Czech Lands


The paper documents the situation of Early Modern scholarship in the Czech Lands through a study of the relatively unknown correspondence of the Breslau physician, member of the Academia naturae curiosorum and chief editor of its journal Miscellanea curiosa Philipp Jakob Sachs von Lewenheimb and the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher with correspondents in the Czech Lands.
The intersections of the predominantly Catholic correspondence network of the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher with the mainly Protestant specialist correspondence network of the physician Philipp Jakob Sachs von Lewenheimb appear exceptionally interesting and provide information about often less well-known personalities and practices which facilitated the fl ow of information between individual parts of Europe, denominations and social groups around the middle of the seventeenth century.
The article also illustrates how the genre of "observationes" and the emergence of scientific journals generally propelled scholarly correspondence not only in the Central European area, and what role was played by professional groups, whether of physicians, printers or others, in mediating information between the Catholic and Protestant parts of Europe.

Jan Palkoska

Proto-Humean Strains in Leibniz's Analysis of Causal Relation


My aim in the present paper is to challenge an established doctrine according to which Leibniz conceives of causation – in sharp contrast to Hume – in terms of a sort of the so-called hypothetical necessity, to the eff ect that causation involves a hypothetical necessitation a parte rei explicable in terms of purely conceptual connections. I argue that as far as one can tell from the direct textual evidence, Leibniz's concept of causation can be interpreted as coming surprisingly close to an essentially Humean view according to which far from implying any necessities a parte rei, conceptual connections impose necessity only on our thought while in reality causation involves only regularities in the conjunction of contiguous objects. Then I try to reconcile this claim with the well-documented fact that within the larger framework of Leibniz's theory of truth and his principle of suffi cient reason, Leibniz was indeed committed to a 'necessitarian' position – in the sense that every item in the actual world is, after all, a matter of hypothetical necessity in rebus (or nearly so) – and that he was prepared to integrate causes into this larger picture. My point will be that the apparent confl ict between these two views is due to our failure to distinguish the analytic task concerning causation from various explanatory tasks in which causation is involved.

Lenka Řezníková

The Spatial Frontiers of Stagings of Exile and the Metaphorical Figurations of Jan Amos Comenius in Czech Literature of the Nineteenth Century


In the nineteenth century, as a result of number of sociocultural changes, the exile as a historically variable phenomenon experienced a signifi cant reconceptualization, while at the same time its literary representations also went through changes. In this period, models trying to implement the exile in the narrative of national history show symptomatic diff erences and specific limits in comparison with earlier models or with models formed in the course of the twentieth century. The spatial contexts of the national narrative, which coincided with the physical absences of émigrés from the national area, were in themselves limiting. (Literary) concepts of exile therefore concentrated primarily on the outlook of those who remained behind. As far as the representation of an émigré himself was concerned, literature created a number of main model situations which "returned" him to his nationally spatial context. A refl ection of the prominent post-White Mountain exile Jan Amos Comenius presented a specifi c possibility that overcame the limits of the spatially limited national narratives by reference to Comenius's writings which (unlike their author) were physically accessible in the Bohemian Lands – albeit to a limited degree. Distinctive cognitive metaphors (light in darkness, the labyrinth, depth of security, etc.) were also gathered from these writings, and around these an image of Comenius stabilised, in close conjunction with the topic of exile.

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