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Catholic Enlightenment

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Term The concept of Catholic Enlightenment developed in German historiography from the early 20th century, and has since the 1970s established itself as a specialist term [3. 40–53]; [5. 76–85]. In its general and internationally current sense, it denotes all the efforts undertaken within European …
Date: 2019-10-14

Wegestreit

(947 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. DefinitionThe term Wegestreit subsumes several quite different scholarly debates that took place between the early 14th and late 15th centuries in European universities, especially those of the Holy Roman Empire, regarding correct methods of academic teaching and learning, especially in the area of logic and metaphysics. The (modern) term  Wegestreit (English “battle of the ways”) arises from the fact that, before 1500, a scholastic method was usually called a  via (way). It was named after the head of the school who exemplified it (e.g.  via Thomae/“method of Thomas…
Date: 2023-11-14

Thesaurus

(1,161 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptA thesaurus (Greek/Latin “treasury”), often used synonymously with  bibliotheca or museum, was from the 16th century onwards the name or title of a work in a literary genre that claimed to compile all knowledge in a particular field, organizing it systematically and ideally also illustrating it (Knowledge, organization of; Knowledge, visualization of). The models and prototypes of the thesaurus arose in the practices of antiquarianism. They answered the Humanist (Humanism) demand to collect all…
Date: 2022-11-07

Table culture

(2,662 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewIn all cultures, eating together has been of central importance. It establishes community and is an indispensable element of festivals, diplomacy, and peace celebrations, a ritual of solidarity, fraternization, and friendship, an opportunity for extravagance (Representation) and ostentatious or conspicuous consumption. Beginning in the 15th century under the banner of the Renaissance, the style and perception of such meals changed among the elites of Europe. As a manifestation of the n…
Date: 2022-11-07

Wit

(2,002 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term wit (OE  gewit, “understanding,” “consciousness,” “sense”; Latin  ingenium, Italian  ingegno, Spanis  ingenio, German  Witz, French  esprit) in the early modern period denoted the art of connecting seemingly disparate thoughts and ideas in a surprising way and formulating them with ingenious pithiness such as to astound and spontaneously persuade the listener or reader [1. 874]; [10. 7 f.]. Wit was thus regarded as a basic condition of intellectual productivity and a key …
Date: 2023-11-14

Anglophilia

(968 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Terminology The term  Anglophilia first appeared around 1750. It and the stronger form  Anglomania refer - from a critical distance - to the “(unsophisticated) fondness for England, the English, and all things English” [7. 18] that appeared among the continental elite after 1713 and became a general vogue in the 1730s. Admiration for English politics, economics, philosophy, science, culture, and lifestyle led to wholesale imitation, triggering one of the most momentous transfers of culture in European history.Anglophilia was a concomitant of the Enlightenment and its new ideal of “nature”; like enlightenment thinking, it emerged in opposition to absolutism and the Catholic Church. Therefore it was socially correct to exhibit sympathy for England, especially in France after the death of Louis XIV (1715). Gerrit Walther 2. Themes …
Date: 2019-10-14

Epigraphy

(1,093 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and functionThe term “epigraphy” (from the Greek epigraphḗ; “inscription”) first occurred in German in the 18th century, and in French not until 1838. Yet the recording, collecting, and classifying of ancient inscriptions on stone and metal is among the oldest, most widespread, and most highly regarded forms of early modern antiquarianism and archaeology. The reaso…
Date: 2019-10-14

Latin studies

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. SurveyIn the early modern period, Latin was a language in active use in diplomacy, science, and the educational system (Bildung) and was therefore a living language. This circumstance favoured …
Date: 2019-10-14

Counter-Enlightenment

(1,547 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and problemThe term Counter-Enlightenment is first attested, as a synonym for Romanticism, in an 1877 note by Friedrich Nietzsche (“Der Höhe der Aufklärung entspricht die Höhe der Gegenaufklärung in Schopenhauer und Wagner”; “The peak of enlightenment corresponds to the peak of the Counter-Enlightenment in Schopenhauer and Wagner”) [16. 26]. Isaiah Berlin then introduced it to the international discourse as the Counter-Enlightenment from the 1950s, to denote - not without a philosophical value judgment - opponents of the Enlight…
Date: 2019-10-14

Philology

(2,252 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term “philology” (Greek  philología, “love of words/thoughts,” coined by Plato) had already become synonymous with erudition per se by the 1st century BCE, where that erudition was in the field of language and literature. A philologist (Greek  philólogos) was a specialist in grammar ( grammatikós) and linguistic and literary criticism ( kritikós), capable of assessing the linguistic correctness of texts and improving them as necessary. Philology was thus also synonymous with textual criticism and the disciplines of the  artes liberales (especially grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, poetics) that enabled it. Even in Greco-Roman antiquity, it was already a rival discipline to philosophy, whose exponents (e.g. …
Date: 2020-10-06

Club

(1,317 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and phenomenonThe club developed from the 16th century as a specifically  British form of urban sociability. The eccentric term - at the time, the word only had its original sense of “thick stick” - hints at the exclusive, masculine character of these societies, in which gentleman kept their own company and women were almost entirely excluded. The club differed from traditional forms of socializing (e.g. fraternity, guild, sect, academy) in being an “expression of a dynamic, visibly urban society, in which tr…
Date: 2019-10-14

Pedagogy

(3,556 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. TerminologyPedagogy, not identical with education as formation (Bildung), is the art of transmitting and inculcating the norms that apply within a society. It differs from education as schooling in its claim to have a theoretically grounded, systematic procedure guided by an explicit purpose. The term  paidagogía, first attested in Plato’s  Republic, denoted the “guidance [and instruction] of boys” in the interests of a specific political and moral public goal, that is, the activity of the pedagogue ( paidagogós) – in contrast to the earlier  paideía, education in general.…
Date: 2020-10-06

Riding

(2,782 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. SurveyIn all societies where the horse was an exclusive means of transportation, an indispensable requirement for personal mobility, a valuable weapon in hunting and in war, and a costly prestige object, the ability to ride well was one of the basic skills required of the nobility (Standesbiludung). Because riding went hand in hand with high social status, its rules – like everything about horses – were guarded as grand arcana and were never reduced to writing [20. 91]. Not until the beginning of the early modern period did riding become a topic of public discu…
Date: 2021-08-02

Criticism

(2,598 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and terminological historyCriticism (or, in earlier English usage, “critique”) as the art of “testing a given matter for authenticity, truth, correctness, or beauty, and forming a judgement based on the findings obtained” (“einen vorgegebenen Sachverhalt auf seine Echtheit oder Wahrheit, seine Richtigkeit oder Schönheit hin zu befragen, um aus der gewonnenen Erkenntnis heraus ein Urteil zu fällen”) [11. 86], developed through the early modern period into the European elite's preferred form of intellectual discourse. From the Enlightenment, i…
Date: 2019-10-14

Archaeology

(1,716 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept In Antiquity, the Greek term first encountered as archaiología (‘antiquarian lore’) in the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st century BCE – archaiologeín, ‘to discuss antiquities,’ is already found in Thucydides, 5th century BCE) denoted the sphere of history of which there were no longer living witnesses to give accounts, but that depended entirely on traditions and legends. The Renaissance Latinized the term to archaeologia or  archaeographia, and used it synonymously with antiquitates, i.e. antiquarianism, from which archaeology was indist…
Date: 2019-10-14

Conversation

(1,132 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. ConceptThe term conversation (from Latin conversari, “to have dealings with”, “to have intercourse with”; literally “to be engaged [in something] together”), adopted into most of the European languages in the 16th century, denotes a ritual that was typical of early modern European scholars: an informal discussion in a small group, the most important purpose of which was to explore the subject in question as thoroughly, elegantly, and entertainingly as possible. Unlike in institutionalized forms of …
Date: 2019-10-14

History

(4,883 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. OverviewThe urge to know as much as possible about the past of one’s race, clan, class, place of birth, homeland, people - and that of other groups, populations, and cultures too - and to certify and curate this knowledge in the hands of scholarly experts, was common to all learned cultures of the early modern era (Historiography; Historical traditions beyond Europe). This can be seen in the fact that tradition was fundamentally significant in all these cultures as the basis for claims to owne…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mythology

(2,027 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept and phenomenonIn Greco-Roman antiquity, the Greek term  múthos adopted into all European languages (German  Mythos, French  mythe) denoted a semantic field ranging from “word” and “factual statement” to “invented narrative.” Beginning with Plato, its meaning became confined to “story of the gods and heroes” [13. 181]. Accordingly, “mythology” throughout the early modern period was almost invariably taken to mean the study of the worlds of the Greek and Roman gods (Ancient religions), as it was portrayed by poets like Homer and …
Date: 2020-04-06

Civilization

(1,497 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Concept The term “civilization”, which appeared in French and in English shortly after 1750 and by 1820 was established in all Western European languages (French civilisation, German Zivilisation, Italian civilizzazione, Spanish civilisación), marks an ideal of the Enlightenment: a polity which has implemented, as much as possible, enlightened values - ranging from political freedom and a modern political economy (Economy, political) to humanity, education and urbanity -  und goes on perfectioning them. In this respect civi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Humanism

(10,285 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit
1. Introduction Humanism was the most important and influential European educational and cultural movement of the early modern period before the Enlightenment (Bildung). It arose in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries, and by the mid-16th century it had spread across the entire western world. Its aim was an aesthetic one: the restoration of the literature, arts, and sciences of classical antiquity, especially Roman culture from the period between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, which …
Date: 2019-10-14
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