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The intellectual-theological leadership of John Amos Comenius

Abstract

John Amos Comenius was a revolutionary leader in both the church and the academy in 17th century Europe. Born and raised in Moravia and firmly grounded in the doctrine of the United Church of the Brethren, Comenius rose from obscurity in what is now the Czech Republic to become recognized around Europe and beyond as an innovative and transformational leader. He contributed to efforts such as advocating for universal education, authoring classroom textbooks (most notably in Latin education), shepherding local churches and his entire denomination, and working for unity and peace among Christians across Europe. Though for many decades after his death he seemed to be lost to time, there has been a resurgence of scholarly interest in the ideas and methods of Comenius. His life and work can serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration to church and educational leaders today.

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“When That Wounds Are Evil Healed”: Revisiting Pleonastic That in Early English Medical Writing

Abstract

The origin of pleonastic that can be traced back to Old English, where it could appear in syntactic constructions consisting of a preposition + a demonstrative pronoun (i.e., for py pat, for pæm pe) or a subordinator (i.e., op pat). The diffusion of this pleonastic form is an Early Middle English development as a result of the standardization of that as the general subordinator in the period, which motivated its use as a pleonastic word in combination with many kinds of conjunctions (i.e., now that, if that, when that, etc.) and prepositions (i.e., before that, save that, in that) (Fischer 1992: 295). The phenomenon increased considerably in Late Middle English, declining rapidly in the 17th century to such an extent that it became virtually obliterated towards the end of that same century (Rissanen 1999: 303-304). The list of subordinating elements includes relativizers (i.e., this that), adverbial relatives (i.e., there that), and a number of subordinators (i.e., after, as, because, before, beside, for, if, since, sith, though, until, when, while, etc.). The present paper examines the status of pleonastic that in the history of English pursuing the following objectives: (a) to analyse its use and distribution in a corpus of early English medical writing (in the period 1375-1700); (b) to classify the construction in terms of genre, i.e., treatises and recipes; and (c) to assess its decline with the different conjunctive words. The data used as source of evidence come from The Corpus of Early English Medical Writing, i.e., Middle English Medical Texts (MEMT for the period 1375-1500) and Early Modern English Medical Texts (EMEMT for the period 1500-1700). The use of pleonastic that in medical writing allows us to reconsider the history of the construction in English, becoming in itself a Late Middle English phenomenon with its progressive decline throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Counterfactuality as a Polyphonic Assemblage. Entangled Human and Nonhuman Stories of Early Modern Sciences in Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle

Summary

In recent science-fiction literature, we can witness a proliferation of new counterfactual narratives which take the 17th century as their point of departure. Unlike steampunk narratives, however, their aim is not to criticise the socio-political effects caused by contemporary technological development. Such authors as Neal Stephenson or Ian Tregillis, among others, are interested in revisiting the model of development in Western societies, routing around the logic of progress. Moreover, they demonstrate that modernity is but an effect of manifold contingent and indeterminate encounters of humans and nonhumans and their distinct temporalities. Even the slightest modification of their ways of being could have changed Western societies and cultures. Thus, they necessitate a rather non-anthropocentric model of counterfactuality which is not tantamount to the traditional alternative histories which depart from official narratives of the past.

By drawing on contemporary multispecies ethnography, I put forward a new understanding of counter-factuality which aims to reveal multiple entangled human and nonhuman stories already embedded in the seemingly unified history of the West. In this context, the concept of “polyphonic assemblage” (Lowenhaupt-Tsing) is employed to conceptualize the contingent and open-ended encounters of human and nonhuman historical actors which cut across different discourses and practices. I analyse Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle to show the entangled stories of humans and nonhumans in 17th century sciences, hardly present in traditional historiographies. In particular, Stephenson’s depiction of quicksilver and coffeehouse as nonhuman historical actors is scrutinized to show their vital role in the production of knowledge at the dawn of modernity.

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Cudowna Maszyna Optyczna Zograscope / The Wonderful Optical Machine Zograscope

Abstract

Zograscope is an optical device made to generate the illusion of immaterial space and its projection from a flat picture. Zograscopes appeared in the 1740s and were used until the late 1830s. They are a type of devices called “optical diagonal machines”, classified today as “the early visual media”. The emergence of the zograscope was a turning point in the history of generating and projecting pictures because it opened the chapter of constructing devices to project immaterial 3D pictures. From the historical perspective, zograscopes were something more than a popular parlor entertainment. They embody the Enlightenment drive for seeking knowledge and improvement. The patrons and lovers of science gathered around the optical devices for 3D projection constructed by members of scientific societies supported by aristocratic patrons of art and science, who were collectors at the same time, which may have happened already in the second half of the 17th century. However, those devices were not in general use at that time. The situation changes in the 1740s when zograscopes became desired consumer goods of the English elites and the subject of industrial interest.

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Bartłomiej Pękiel's Style of polyphony a cappella

Styl polifonii a cappella Bartłomieja Pękiela

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Long-term summer temperature variations in the Pyrenees from detrended stable carbon isotopes

Abstract

Substantial effort has recently been put into the development of climate reconstructions from tree-ring stable carbon isotopes, though the interpretation of long-term trends retained in such timeseries remains challenging. Here we use detrended δ13C measurements in Pinus uncinata tree-rings, from the Spanish Pyrenees, to reconstruct decadal variations in summer temperature back to the 13th century. The June-August temperature signal of this reconstruction is attributed using decadally as well as annually resolved, 20th century δ13C data. Results indicate that late 20th century warming has not been unique within the context of the past 750 years. Our reconstruction contains greater am-plitude than previous reconstructions derived from traditional tree-ring density data, and describes particularly cool conditions during the late 19th century. Some of these differences, including early warm periods in the 14th and 17th centuries, have been retained via δ13C timeseries detrending - a novel approach in tree-ring stable isotope chronology development. The overall reduced variance in earlier studies points to an underestimation of pre-instrumental summer temperature variability de-rived from traditional tree-ring parameters.

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This tickles beyond all measure: an expanded version of Henning’s Hieb-Fechten in Add MS 17533

Abstract

Erhardus Henning’s work on Hieb-Fechten is one of only a few 17th century German fencing treatises describing cut-based fencing. An expanded version of this text, containing a larger collection of lessons, can be found in British Library Add MS 17533 fol. 127v to 138v, titled only Daß Hieb Fechten. Based on the great similarities between these two texts, it is clear that they share a common ancestor.

In this contribution, the two versions of the Hieb-Fechten text are compared, and the main differences between the two versions are discussed. Based on the given comparison, and the more polished impression given by Henning’s published work, it is hypothesised this work presents a later version of the text than given in Add MS 17533. Whether Erhardus Henning was the original author of the text, or only edited and published an older text he did not author himself cannot be determined, though there is no reason to suspect he was not the original author.

Finally, full transcriptions and English translations of both works are provided, and the differences between the two texts are indicated in the translation.

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The Proto-Diplomatic Document in Romania

Abstract

The theme is decoding the “literary field of the Romanian proto-diplomatic document”, designed to replace the art of diplomacy and cultural regeneration. It is the observation field over the products of literature’s habitat, the “art of the word”. Therefore, to confirm the “Romanian tradition”, we have analysed several of the “literary works” of some Romanian writers from the 19th Century. Under these circumstances, attention is drawn on the role of the document/deed, on its importance in the universe of cultures. Attention is drawn on the occurrence of proto-religious documents and of the proto-diplomatic documents. During the evolution of scripts in the mid 17th Century – presented by Nicolae Iorga as “abandonment of the Franciscan spirit, a change of the entire meaning of the religious literature”, we have included in the study the role of Slavic monks (refugees from Mount Athos on our lands) and their apprenticeship in the atmosphere of “mysticism and culture”, the impact caused by founders of monasteries, turned genuine centres of culture. Within these monastic places, the art of calligraphy and miniature develops, revived under Matei Basarab, Vasile Lupu and especially during the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu.

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Early Modern Multiloquent Authors (EMMA): Designing a large-scale corpus of individuals’ languages

Abstract

The present article provides a detailed description of the corpus of Early Modern Multiloquent Authors (EMMA), as well as two small case studies that illustrate its benefits. As a large-scale specialized corpus, EMMA tries to strike the right balance between big data and sociolinguistic coverage. It comprises the writings of 50 carefully selected authors across five generations, mostly taken from the 17th-century London society. EMMA enables the study of language as both a social and cognitive phenomenon and allows us to explore the interaction between the individual and aggregate levels.

The first part of the article is a detailed description of EMMA’s first release as well as the sociolinguistic and methodological principles that underlie its design and compilation. We cover the conceptual decisions and practical implementations at various stages of the compilation process: from text-markup, encoding and data preprocessing to metadata enrichment and verification.

In the second part, we present two small case studies to illustrate how rich contextualization can guide the interpretation of quantitative corpus-linguistic findings. The first case study compares the past tense formation of strong verbs in writers without access to higher education to that of writers with an extensive training in Latin. The second case study relates s/th-variation in the language of a single writer, Margaret Cavendish, to major shifts in her personal life.

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Fundamental Rights in Early American Case Law: 1789-1859

Abstract

Fundamental Rights Law is a ubiquitous feature of modern American jurisprudence. Where did the term “Fundamental Rights” come from, and how was it applied in early American case law? This article outlines the genesis of fundamental rights law in early 17th century England and how this law developed and was applied over time. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 was the first attempt to codify these rights in English law. When the English legal system emigrated to America along with the early American colonists, it included the English conception of fundamental rights. The framers of the United States Constitution incorporated and expanded these rights. Early American Case law kept strictly within this tradition for the most past, and used the term “fundamental rights” usually for rights which had long been recognized in Anglo-American society. This article notes the concordance between the application of fundamental rights in early American case law and the long tradition of fundamental rights which ripened in the Anglo-American legal tradition.

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