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Summaries of Acta Comeniana 30 (LIV)

Vojtěch Hladký

The Concept non aliud in the Philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa

This study attempts to map the meanings and roles that the concept non aliud newly created by Nicholas of Cusa has in his works. It serves in first place as an aenigma, another name for God that guides our thinking to an understanding of the way in which the first principle defines itself as well as other things. In its basic meaning the "definition" describes on the one hand the way by which a thing originates in its being, and on the other the process by which our knowledge proceeds. In both cases identity, which stands at its ground and is thus the most fundamental meaning of the concept "not other", plays a major role. The study has further sought for concordances and differences between non aliud and another similarly limitary concept of Cusanus, possest. Their most important difference lies in that non aliud captures above all the operation of God outside himself as the source of the definition and existence of things which originate in and are formed by the world. In contrast, possest lays emphasis on the absolute difference and transcendence of the first beginning in relation to the creation.

Nicholas of Cusa; Renaissance Philosophy; Platonic Metaphysics; Non aliud (not-other); Possest (actualised possibility); Agrippa von Nettesheim between Magic and Humanism

Jiří Michalík

Agrippa of Nettesheim between Magic and Humanism

The article sets Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim and his thought in the context of the Transalpine humanism. Against this background, compatibility of Agrippa's two major works De occulta philosophia and De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum is explored. Similar attention is paid to the analysis of two extreme positions of Agrippa's personality: he is often perceived as a magician and a sceptic as well. The author argues that these two positions do not necessarily exclude each other, which is demonstrated on the example of his defence of a putative witch.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim; Marsilio Ficino; Natural Magic; Scepticism; Witch Trials; Renaissance Philosophy

Gábor Almási

Machiavellian Propaganda and Advice after the Bohemian Revolt: The Case of Kaspar Schoppe

Never before had Europe been flooded with so many pamphlets, newsletters and broadsheets as at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. After the Bohemian revolt, political propaganda began to shape public opinion much more heavily. This paper addresses the work and thought of the most gifted and influential author of Catholic propaganda, Kaspar Schoppe, identifying some of his anonymous bestsellers such as the Secretissima instructio (1620). On the one
hand, Schoppe's pamphlets mixed sarcasm with correct political analysis and caricatured Calvinist politics as vulgarly understood Machiavelliani sm. On the other hand, Machiavellian ideas were also used in the serious advice Schoppe privately offered to Emperor Ferdinand II on the question of how to avoid further revolts in Bohemia. The final section of the paper considers whether Machiavelli's political thought played a role in the introduction of the new regime in Bohemia after the Battle of White Mountain.

Key words
Bohemian revolt; Propaganda; Machiavellianism; Thirty Years' War; Kaspar Schoppe

Simon J. G. Burton

Contested Legacies of the Late Middle Ages: Reason, Mystery and Participation in Jan Amos Comenius and Richard Baxter

Jan Amos Comenius (1592–1670) is becoming well known as a "universal reformer." Through his famous method of pansophia he aimed to institute not only a reform of education but also of the whole of European – and ultimately global – Church and society. Recently scholarship has begun to locate his thought more and more within a vibrant (Central) European tradition of encyclopaedism, mediated especially through Johannes Piscator and Johann Heinrich Alsted, his teachers at the Herborn academy. At the same time, as Jan Patočka insightfully recognised, Comenius was also deeply indebted to the traditions of fifteenth-century Realism and Platonism, not only that of the Hussites but also of Ramon de Sebonde and Nicholas of Cusa. Indeed, the work of Patočka himself, Pawel Floss, Detlef Thiel and most recently Simon Kuchlbauer has pointed to Cusa especially as a major influence on Comenius' Trinitarian method.
Another important exponent of Trinitarian method was the English Puritan Richard Baxter (1615–1691). While he has so far only been peripherally included in discussions of universal reformation, it is clear that he shared many of the same irenic and transformative impulses. Like Comenius, who had a significant influence on his thought, Baxter was profoundly attracted to the Trinitarian metaphysics of Tommaso Campanella, as well as to the wider traditions of Ramist encyclopaedism and Christian Platonism. At the same time his own philosophical and theological background meant that he was also deeply attuned to the
traditions of late medieval scholasticism, especially the Scotist and Nominalist schools, and Reformed covenantal theology.
This paper develops a comparison between Comenius and Baxter focussing on their different inheritances from late medieval and Renaissance thought and their ultimately divergent attitudes towards the kind of Neo-Platonism represented by Cusa, including the famous notion of the coincidence of opposites. In doing so it highlights their subtly differing approaches towards reason, mystery and the metaphysics of participation, thus situating their Trinitarian thought within a wider dialogue between Realist, exemplaristic and covenantal methods. This is seen above all in their very different evaluation of the Neo-Platonic metaphysics of light, with Comenius embracing it wholeheartedly and Baxter drawing back from its more radical implications, preferring to focus on a covenantal unfolding of divine will rather than a metaphysical unfolding of divine being.

Jan Amos Comenius; Richard Baxter; Nicholas of Cusa; Metaphysics of Light; Coincidence of Opposites

Tomáš Malý

The Logic of Jesuit Meditations: Antoine Sucquet's Via vitae aeternae (1620)

The extensive guide to meditation Via vitae aeternae, put together by the Flemish Jesuit Antoine Sucquet (1574–1626), is one of those works frequently mentioned while at the same time rarely analysed. The treatise is usually regarded from the viewpoint of the history of literature and art history as a "meditational emblem book". In the attempt at a taxonomy of Sucquet's work, three aspects are under scrutiny in this study: Sucquet's book in the context of ars moriendi literature; the structure of meditations with regard to the thematic layout of text and picture, and the relationship of this structure to Ignatius's Exercitia spiritualia;
the strategy of picture representation and the scope of meaning of the selected categories (time, sin, subject), again in the context of ars moriendi works. The question of the structure of the work is – as a reaction to Fessard's La dialectique des Exercices spirituels (1956) – considered in confrontation with the meanings of the scenes and themes presented. The study shows on several examples that Sucquet was one of the generation of Ignatius's successors who developer the original concept of meditation and enriched it with new content and forms of expression, by means of which they shifted it towards to new meanings. Taking account of this fact is very important, if we consider the significant expansion of editions, translations and paraphrases of the works of these authors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Jesuit meditational emblem books enjoyed fair popularity and the exercises became part of the religious practice of both the church and lay institutions.

Jesuits; Meditations; Ars moriendi; Emblematics; 17th century; Sucquet

Petr Pavlas

Jan Patočka's Transcendentalia and Categories on Jan Amos Comenius's Triadic System and its Cusan Inspiration

The study deals with Jan Patočka's unfinished text "Transcendentalia and Categories" which is appended in English translation as a supplement. First, the study confirms Patočka's thesis on the origin of Comenius's triadism in the thought of Nicholas of Cusa and, at the same time, on the original features of Comenius's conception, namely his systematic, deductive order of triads. Secondly, it investigates who mediated Cusan ideas to Comenius. The most important of these mediators was Pinder; among the others can be counted Weigel, Arndt, Alsted and possibly Paracelsus too. Patočka even assumes that Comenius actually read some works of Cusa (e. g. De ludo globi) himself. Last but not least, the study extends the validity of Patočka's thesis to the new finding regarding Comenius's metaphor of "God's three books".

Metaphysics; First Philosophy; Triadism; Trinitarianism; Book Metaphor

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