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Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), Jesuit Scholar: An Exhibition of His Works (New)

by Merrill, Brian L

Publisher: Martino Publishing

Binding: Hardcover

Book ID: 9781578984329, 1578984327


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Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), Jesuit Scholar: An Exhibition of His Works in the Harold B. Lee Library Collections at Brigham Young University

Cloth. Oversized Octavo. pp.xxxvii. 77. Provo: Friends of the Brigham Young University, 1989

Celebrated for the versatility of his knowledge and particularly distinguished for his knowledge of the natural sciences, b. 2 May, 1601, at Geisa, a small town on the northern bank of the Upper Rhone (Buchonia); d. at Rome, 28 Nov., 1680.

Kirchner played a role in the most varied branches of science. Even medicine received his attention, as is shown for example by his treatise, "Scrutinium physico-medicum contagiosæ luis, quæ pestis dicitur" (Rome, 1658). He also tried to form a universal language ("Polygraphia seu artificium lingarum, quo cum omnibus totius mundi populis poterit quis correspondere", Rome, 1663). His scientific activities brought him into scientific correspondence with scholars laboring in the most different fields, as the numerous volumes of his extant letters show. It is to his inventive mind that we owe one of the earliest of our counting machines: the speaking-tube and æolian harp were perfected by him. He was also the inventor of the magic lantern which has since been brought to such perfection and is today almost indispensable.

To give an approximate idea of Kircher's literary activity it is only necessary to remark that during his sojourn in Rome, no less than forty-four folio volumes came from his pen. A full list of his writings is to be found in Sommervogel, "Bibl. Scriptorum S.J.". Besides the works already named, it is sufficient to mention here: "Magnes sive de arte magnetica" (Rome, 1640; Cologne, 1643, 1654); "Lingua ægyptiaca restituta" (Rome, 1643); "Ars magna lucis et umbræ" (Rome, 1644); "Musurgia universalis sive ars consoni et dissoni" (Rome, 1650); "Itinerarium extaticum s. opificium coeleste" (Rome, 1656); "Iter extaticum secundum, mundi subterranei prodromus" (Rome, 1657); "Obeliscus Pamphylius" (Rome, 1650).

Originally published in 1989, this hard to find catalogue meticulously describes 31 original editions written by this polymath. The descriptions are exhaustive, and include useful annotations.

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