Monday, December 11, 2006

Margarita Philosophica

Bibliodyssey has a fascinating feature on The Margarita Philosophica.

The Margarita philosophica (the Philosophic pearl) is a beautifully illustrated encyclopaedia which was widely used as a university textbook in the early sixteenth century, particularly in Germany. It gives us an intriguing insight into the university curriculum and state of learning and scientific knowledge at the close of the Middle Ages and the start of the sixteenth century.

Its author, Gregor Reisch (c.1467-1525), was a Carthusian monk and a friend of many of the most celebrated Humanists of his era including, Erasmus, Beatus and Rheananus.

He was prior of the Charterhouse of St John the Baptist near Freiburg-im-Breisgau from 1503 to 1525 and was confessor and counsellor to the Emperor Maximilian I. He was educated at the University of Freiburg where he received the degree of magister in 1489 and also taught there.

The Margarita seems to have been conceived as a textbook for his students at Freiburg, among whom were many influential figures of the German Renaissance, notably the theologian Johann Eck.

Link at bibliodyssey: