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Johann Heinrich Alsted 1588–1638Between Renaissance, Reformation, and Universal Reform$
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Howard Hotson

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208280.001.0001

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Education: Three Varieties of Further Reform, 1584–1610

Education: Three Varieties of Further Reform, 1584–1610

(p.15) 1 Education: Three Varieties of Further Reform, 1584–1610
Johann Heinrich Alsted 1588–1638

Howard Hotson

Oxford University Press

Johann Heinrich Alsted has often been labeled a ‘Ramist’. The most obvious grounds for this label is the place of Petrus Ramus’ name in the titles of four of Alsted's logical, grammatical, and pedagogical works. Its most monumental justification, however, is surely his masterwork, the Encyclopaedia. In the preface to that work, Alsted listed the encyclopedic writers whose example helped inspire it. Ramus, his student Theodor Zwinger, and his fervent disciple Johann Thomas Frey are all on the list, as are three figures generally included in the indistinct category of ‘semi-Ramists’: Alsted's own teacher at Herborn, Matthias Martinius, and two leading figures in the post-Ramist textbook tradition, Clemens Timpler and Bartholomäus Keckermann. The persistence of the founders of Herborn pedagogy in mixing Ramus with Aristotle despite the objections of purists on both sides shows clearly that they were drawn to Ramism neither by some doctrinaire abhorrence of pagan philosophy nor by some abstract affinity between Ramism and Calvinism, but primarily by the utility of this simplified and practical pedagogy for the practical agenda of the second reformation.

Keywords:   Johann Heinrich Alsted, reformation, Ramism, Petrus Ramus, Encyclopaedia, Herborn, Theodor Zwinger, Matthias Martinius, Calvinism

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