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Athanasius Kircher () — German Jesuit, occultist, polymath – was one of most curious figures in the history of science. He dabbled in all the mysteries. Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything. Front Cover. Paula Findlen. Taylor & Francis, May 15, – History – pages. Athanasius Kircher ()—German Jesuit, occultist, polymath—was one of most curious figures in the history of science. He dabbled in all the mysteries.

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Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything

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Return to Book Page. Preview — Athanasius Kircher by Paula Findlen. Athanasius Kircher —German Jesuit, occultist, polymath—was one of most curious figures in the history of science. He dabbled in all the mysteries of his time: Kircher coined the term electromagnetism, printed Sanskrit for t Athanasius Kircher —German Jesuit, occultist, polymath—was one llast most curious figures athanasiius the history of science.

Kircher coined the term electromagnetism, printed Sanskrit for the first time in a Western book, and built a famous museum collection. His wild, beautifully illustrated books are sometimes visionary, frequently wrong, and yet compelling documents in the history of ideas.

They are being rediscovered in our own time. Paperback1st editionpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign sho.

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To ask other readers questions about Athanasius Kircherplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Excellent book with an excellent title. Athanasius Kircher is perhaps known to literature fans as the early modern source that passed along the ‘manuscript’ written down by Adso from Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. It was a good choice by Eco: He wrote over thirty books during his lifetime, all of which he promoted extensively as often as possible, and he promised a litany Excellent book with an excellent title.

He wrote over thirty books during his lifetime, all of which he promoted extensively as often as possible, and he promised a litany of other books that he just never quite got around to writing. He wrote on Egyptian history, mysticism, volcanoes, medicine, epistemology, and more. He was heralded by contemporaries as both a magnificent genius and as a crackpot, often for the same things. This volume of essays suggests that this dichotomy arose because Kircher stood on the brink between two worlds: Positioned here, Kircher was increasingly called out by experts but still retained an international reputation for his massive breadth of knowledge as well as for the massive web of communication in maintained with fellow ,ast around the world.

He was frequently mocked, but the same people who mocked him continued to buy all of his books and seemed to hang on his every word.

As Paula Findlen notes in her introduction, “At the height of his career, Kircher created a kind of typographical labyrinth that temporarily trapped all the best minds of the mid-seventeenth century inside of his books He belonged to an era that combined rather than divided, that rhe delight in finding unlikely connections in the service of a grand unified theory of absolutely everything.

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Peirsec was a noted antiquarian of the period, and he was impressed by Kircher’s curiosity and enthusiasm but rather concerned about his, ahem, lack of methodological precision. Peirsec, who must have been a very perceptive fellow, decided that his pupil would perhaps be the most helpful to the scientific community by functioning as the heart of a global Jesuit network: And Peirsec proved to be write: Findlen also emphasizes the importance of Christianity to Kircher.

His insistence on learning everything about the world was centered on his belief that the entire world was tied together. This unity was predicated on God: The most colorful example of this comes from a period of sickness near the end everythihg Kircher’s life. He decided to self medicate himself because he figured he knew more than the doctors, presumably and slid immediately into a fever dream in which he was elected athanasis and transformed the world in accordance with his secret knowledge.

I like to think kurcher this sums him up well.

Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything – Google Books

All of this happens in the introduction! If you’d like mwn read it you can also learn about epidemiology, Kabbalah, Coptic studies, the Roman Inquisition, early modern ideas of extraterrestrial life, magnets, and dinosaur fossils. View all 7 comments. Jul 06, Katelis Viglas rated everyyhing really liked it Shelves: A collection of articles on Athanasius Kircher’s life and work. Paula Findlen’s Introduction is characterized by wit and originality.

Because Athanasius Kircher was “inviting his readers to explore the connections among virtually every imaginable form of knowledge” p. At his A collection of articles on Athanasius Kircher’s life and work. At his time Kircher was considered as a “baroque magus bearing gifts from the East”, and his books as conveying unknown knowledge, part of which was about ignored civilizations and languages.

Everythint boasted he had discovered the keys for deciphering strange ancient languages, as were the egyptian hieroglyphics, or that he could understand contemporary exotic tongues e.

Even if at his time was considered among the most brilliant and leading science writers, because of his credulity, he incorporated in his books invalid and usually incorrect informations. This had as result to be ridiculous klrcher the next generations. But today is recognised as a pioneer of scientific research. Today his books are the imagination of every bibliophile. The objects, animals and theories featuring in his books make themselves an immense cabinet of curiosities, along with the other Wunderkammerthe museum of strange inventions and objects he founded in Rome.

As a characterization of clemency and grandeur for his work would fit the expression “sometimes, even good Homer nots”, as Stephen Jay Gould wrote ibid.

Aug 21, Mira rated it it was amazing. Zthanasius Kircher — German Jesuit, occultist, polymath – was one of most curious figures in the history of science. His wild, beautifully illustr about this book: This is klrcher collection of essays by different scholars. So I will probably read it slowly over the course of the three weeks I have it out from the library. Aug 04, Rachael rated it really liked it.

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Kircher excites me almost as much as Garibaldi! Sean rated it it was amazing Aug 04, Kevin Faulkner rated it really liked it Feb 17, Thorin rated it really liked it Aug 06, Richard Kaczynski rated it it was amazing Jan 19, Arielle rated it it was amazing Aug 09, Eleanor rated it really liked it Jun 21, Danny rated it really liked it Aug 08, Gavin Smith rated it it was amazing Apr 30, Joe King rated it really liked it May 16, Maciek rated it really liked it Dec 02, Henk-Jan rated it it was amazing May 10, James of the Redwoods rated it really liked it Jun 10, Paul rated it liked it Aug 21, Sara rated it really liked it Jan 20, Chris jan it really liked it Jul 19, El rated it really liked it Nov 23, Chris Winkler rated it it was amazing Jul 02, Lou D rated it it was amazing Apr 14, James Sass rated it it was amazing Aug 23, John rated it really liked it Jun 12, Kimberly rated it really liked it Jun 20, Jul 06, Robbie Bruens added it Shelves: I discovered Athanasius Kircher the way a lot of people do – through the exhibit of his work at the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Little did I know that Kircher himself founded and curated one of the early museums of curiosities.

As you read through these essays, you feel the scale lasg the world bearing down upon you. We must give thanks then to the Kirchers, the Jurassic Technologists, the Walter Alvarezs and others who take such an exuberant and inspiring approach to learning. Of course, there I discovered Athanasius Kircher the way a lot of people do – through the exhibit of his work at the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Of course, there is folly in trying to take the entire world into the jaws of your understanding. Kircher seems to have been a bit of easy mark for khew and tellers of tall tales, and earned guffaws and ridicule from many of his contemporaries in the world of natural philosophy for his credulous publication of all tbe of nonsense as veritable.

There’s a sort of Huge If True level of gullibility Kircher exhibited. But is this the curse of the polymath? If you’re following your curiosity to its horizon, you’ll probably swallow a few whoppers in the process. To paraphrase Francis Wheen, if you everythinb your mind too much your brain might fall out.

Incidentally, I had intended to read this book for some time, and finally decided on reading it next while I was reading Italo Calvino’s If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Then blam in the middle of that novel there’s an extended to Kircher and one of the infernal machines he invented. Calvino’s reference to Kircher is then discussed in the introductory essay in this book. It’s a conspiracy, I’m sure of knwe.