Athanasius Kircher, S. J. (1601/2-80), was one of Europe's most inventive and versatile scholars in the baroque era. But Kircher is most famous - or infamous - for his quixotic attempt to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs and reconstruct the ancient traditions they encoded. Here Daniel Stolzenberg presents a new interpretation of Kircher's hieroglyphic studies, placing them in the context of seventeenth-century scholarship on paganism and Oriental languages. The spectacular flaws of his scholarship have fostered an image of Kircher as an eccentric anachronism, a throwback to the Renaissance hermetic tradition. Stolzenberg argues against this view, showing how Kircher embodied essential tensions of a pivotal phase in European intellectual history, when pre-Enlightenment scholars pioneered modern empirical methods of studying the past while still working within traditional frameworks, such as biblical history and beliefs about magic and esoteric wisdom.
|Publication date:||30th June 2015|
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press|
|Format:||Paperback / softback|
|Categories:||Palaeography (history of writing), History of ideas,|
Daniel Stolzenberg is associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis.More About Daniel Stolzenberg