By Joscelyn Godwin
Athanasius Kircher (1602–80) stands proud as one of many final all-encompassing minds. For this precise Renaissance guy, the full international was once an excellent visual appeal of God ready to be explored.
Kircher used to be a Jesuit and an archaeologist, a ravishing linguist and an avid collector of clinical tools. He deciphered archaic languages, experimented with alchemy and song treatment, optics and magnetism. Egyptian secret knowledge, Greek, Cabbalistic and Christian philosophy met on universal flooring in his work.
Kircher's luxurious volumes have been respected all through Europe, and his monstrous oeuvre is represented right here via notable engravings – so much of them reprinted for the 1st time – including annotations and an creation to Kircher's existence and paintings.
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Extra info for Athanasius Kircher: A Renaissance Man and the Quest for Lost Knowledge
8 Side by side with ecclesiastical Cologne stood the self-governing community of burghers. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when Cologne become a center of trade and commerce, its great merchants and ruling patrician families had grown powerful enough to win independence from their former overlord, the Archbishop of Cologne. During the fourteenth and ﬁ fteenth centuries, the townsmen of Cologne had developed increasingly sophisticated and complex forms of economic and political interdependence.
70 Handed down from fathers to sons, family books deﬁ ned the identity and limits of the lineage—they carefully speciﬁed its property, commemorated its ancestors, and drew lessons from the family’s past. The providential history of the lineage lent signiﬁcance to Hermann’s mundane affairs, making them worthy of being recorded. How do the many different aspects of this sprawling work ﬁt together? Despite the exceptional candor of the “Memory Book,” its author has remained an enigma, proving more elusive than the world he so meticulously described.
By the end of his life, Hermann Weinsberg had come to see his writing project as a solution to many of the problems, both traditional and modern, that beset the middling burghers of his age. 104 Even if the Catholic Church itself collapsed, the heirs were to ﬁ nd their certainty and purpose in the family tradition he had established. ” And yet for Hermann, the act of writing exacerbated the very uncertainty it was meant to quell. Unease about his bourgeois identity and the future of the Church prompted his turn to the consolations of private reading and writing.