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The Conception of Man in the Works of John Amos Comenius


Jan Čížek

This book maps the entire development of Comenius’s considerations on man, from his earliest writings to his philosophical masterwork. Although this book primarily offers an analysis and description of the conception of man in Comenius’s work, it may also serve the reader as a more general introduction to his philosophical conception. The author shows that, in spite of the fact that Comenius has received no small amount of academic attention, funded studies or monographs in English language remain in single figures. Thus, a range of Comenius’s remarkable ideas are still unknown to the wider public.


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9. Comenius’s anthropology in scholarly literature


We shall now provide an appropriate and comprehensive answer to the ques- tion raised at the beginning of the present volume, viz., “How has the subject of Comenius’s conception of man been covered in scholarly literature?” Before we proceed, it must be noted that the majority of the literature on the subject is writ- ten in Czech (or in German) and that there are only very few English-language materials on Comenius. After some necessary simplification, we can say that the texts may be classi- fied into three categories according to how they approach (or not) the subject of Comenius’s anthropology. The first category includes texts which do not deal with the subject at all (the number of such materials is surprisingly large, considering the importance of the topic). The second category includes texts that give some consideration to the sub- ject, but either use Comenius’s own terms without analysing their meaning or view Comenius’s anthropology from one perspective only. An example of the former sub-category is Jiřina Popelová’s extensive, but otherwise rather general discussion of Comenius’s views of the humana natura, in which no attempt is made to define the term in question.905 Several other studies mention Comenius’s conception of man; however, it is nearly always regarded as unambiguous and unproblematic, a subject that does not warrant further analysis. In one of her studies, Dagmar Čapková uses the phrase “Comenius’s anthropology”, but does not provide any explanation of it and only demands that we analyse the relation- ship...

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