Department of Comenius Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History

The department focuses on Comenius studies and various aspects of the early modern intellectual history of the Czech lands and Central Europe. Its main long-term project is the critical edition of Comenius’s works J. A. Comenii Opera omnia. It also publishes the international review of Comenius studies and early modern intellectual history Acta Comeniana (indexed by Scopus).

Among the most important recent outcomes are six monographs dealing with Comenius’s project of universal language, his drama, his use of biblical quotations, the anthropological consequences of changes in early modern cosmology, and concepts of evidence. Three volumes contain pioneering editions of Comenius’s correspondence, his metaphysical writings, and the important philosophical work De luce mentium by Valerian Magni.

Five major projects have dealt with philosophy and knowledge in the Czech lands and in the broader European context, with Comenius’s philosophy, forms of Humanism in literature of the Bohemian crown lands and early modern encyclopaedism. They also included cooperation on the European COST Action project Reassembling the Republic of Letters which discussed digital methods and tools for studying European intellectual networks. Cooperation on the exhibition “An Invisible Bridge. Milada Blekastad 1917–2003” (presented in the Czech Republic and Norway) features among the department’s outreach activities.

The history of the present department goes back to the early 1990s when part of the team based previously in the Institute of Education moved to the renewed Institute of Philosophy. The continuity of the interdisciplinary research of Comenius’s life and work and editorial activities within the Academy of Sciences dates, however, from the mid-1950s. Thus, the current team continues the work of some of the outstanding scholars in the field active in the Academy of Sciences, such as Jan Patočka, Antonín Škarka and Julie Nováková.

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