Edited By Rudolf Suntrup and Jan R. Veenstra
For medieval man heaven was a concrete reality. Belief in the afterlife was self-evident and intense in a way that is difficult to imagine for modern man who knows heaven sooner from booktitles, songs, figures of speech or advertisements than from every-day experience. The contributions to this volume of proceedings, however, deal with the question how in the late-medieval and early-modern period the idealized image of heaven influenced life, society and art. The various essays deal with the impact of this idealism on politics and society (ruler, state, education, theocracy), on religious practice (poor relief, pilgrimage), and on different art forms (Meistergesang, religious song, and allegorical poetry). The volume contains six German and three English contributions.
The School as Metaphor of Paradise: The Eternal Edict of theUniversity of Groningen and the Oration of Herman Ravenspergerat its Inauguration (1614)Zweder von Martels (Groningen) 151
The School as Metaphor of Paradise The Eternal Edict of the University of Groningen and the Oration of Herman Ravensperger at its Inauguration (1614) Zweder von Martels* (Groningen) Today the expression ‘paradise on earth’ may have lost much of its attraction since the belief in paradise has diminished, if not disappeared. The case was different, however, for the twenty-eight-year old theologian Herman Ravensper- ger, who was the first to occupy the chair in theology when the Academy of Groningen was founded in 1614, and who was given the honour of addressing the distinguished audience during the inaugural ceremony. He chose ‘the school’ as theme: its ancient names, its origin and progress, and its usefulness. In this connection, Ravensperger went so far as to equate school with paradise.1 The comparison had become part of that same protestant tradition which, a few months earlier, had inspired Ubbo Emmius, the first rector of the Academy of Groningen, to include some remarkable apophthegms of the early fifteenth- century King Alfonso the Magnanimous2 in the document known as the Founda- tion Charter or Eternal Edict of the University of Groningen.3 In order to explain the connection, I first describe the circumstances of the birth of the Academy of Groningen and the contents of the Eternal Edict. I, thereafter, turn to the oration * I thank Alasdair MacDonald and Jan Veenstra for valuable comments and counsel in con- tributing to the completion of this article. 1 Herman Ravensperger, Orationes ad inaugurationem Academiae Illustrium Ordinum Gro- ningae et...
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