Download Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything by Paula Findlen PDF

By Paula Findlen

I have learn much approximately this guy and was once stunned to discover a publication approximately him in my neighborhood book place. in spite of the fact that, i used to be dissapointed while i ultimately set out to examining the booklet and really acquired so bored i did not end it!

It regrettably reads like a persons' Masters thesis. This test at writing is abissmal, and will by no means were revealed prior to an honest (mass-market) editor checked out it. might have been much better is admittedly all i am asserting.

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Additional resources for Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything

Sample text

He did, in his own way, aspire to rule the globe; after all his years in Rome, advising popes and cardinals about obelisks and secrets, he had more than his share of ideas about the nature of good spiritual leadership. Having lived to an age when cardinals typically became eligible for the papal tiara, Kircher’s fantasy in his sixties serves to remind us that his ambitions transcended his specific intellectual interests. He had a vision of how knowledge might transform the world. At the heart of Kircher’s quest for omniscience lay a strong conviction that the world would be a better place if knowledge perpetuated the true faith.

99 Egypt spawned a thousand idolatries, but it was also the home of the Trinity. The history of knowledge, in short, was a meditation on everything that was possible, everything that had once been known but was now virtually unknowable. Discerning readers found Kircher’s account of Egypt filled with praise of civilizations he should have abhorred as an ordained Catholic priest. 100 But they never entirely succeeded in convincing Kircher’s readers that he really meant to condemn the pagan mysteries that he deciphered.

The Bembine Table. Source: Athanasius Kircher, Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652–55), vol. 3, p. 78. Courtesy of Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. pgsI 5/13/04 2:32 PM Page 18 18 • Paula Findlen tack all its errors. Peiresc cautioned them not to go too far. 52 Certainly Kircher did not dig deeply into the sources of his knowledge, nor did he take the time to establish sound proofs to shore up his conclusions. But, Peiresc reminded his colleagues, he was not a bad sort of Jesuit nor should he be entirely dismissed as a scholar.

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