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An introduction to the life of jan komensky

John Amos Comenius 1592—1670 was, even more than Ratke, a leading intellect of European educational theory in the 17th century. Though the teaching methods there were poor, he was befriended by a headmaster who recognized his gifts and encouraged him to train for the ministry.

While there he came under the influence of Protestant millennialists, who believed that men could achieve salvation on earth. He also read with enthusiasm the works of Francis Bacon and returned home convinced that the millennium could be attained with the aid of science. While in hiding, he wrote an allegoryThe Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart, in which he described both his early despair and his sources of consolation.

With a band of Brethren he escaped to Poland and in 1628 settled in Leszno. Believing that the Protestants would eventually win and liberate Bohemia, he began to prepare for the day when it would be possible to rebuild society there through a reformed educational system.

Educational reform The reform of the educational system would require two things. First, a revolution in methods of teaching was necessary so that learning might become rapid, pleasant, and thorough. Comenius made this the theme of The Great Didactic and also of The School of Infancy—a book for mothers on the early years of childhood.

Second, to make European culture accessible to all children, it was necessary that they learn Latin. To this end he wrote Janua Linguarum Reserataa textbook that described useful facts about the world in both Latin and Czech, side by side; thus, the pupils could compare the two languages and identify words with things.

Translated into German, the Janua soon became famous throughout Europe and was subsequently translated into a number of European and Asian languages. With the liberation of Bohemia less certain than before, Comenius turned to an even more ambitious project—the reform of human society through education. Others in Europe shared his an introduction to the life of jan komensky, among them a German merchant living in London, Samuel Hartlibwho invited Comenius to England to establish a college of pansophic learning.

Instead, Comenius accepted an offer from the government of Sweden to help reform its schools by writing a series of textbooks modeled on his Janua. After struggling hard to produce them, however, he found that they failed to satisfy anyone.

Nevertheless, in the course of his stay at Elbinghe tried to lay a philosophical foundation for a science of pedagogy.

Educational reform

In The Analytical Didactic, forming part of his Newest Method of Languages, he reinterpreted the principle of nature that he had described in The Great Didactic as a principle of logic. He put forward certain self-evident principles from which he derived a number of maxims, some of them full of common sense and others rather platitudinous. His chief attention was directed to his system of pansophy.

Ever since his student days he had been seeking a basic principle by which all knowledge could be harmonized. He believed that men could be trained to see the underlying harmony of the universe and thus to overcome its apparent disharmony. Few of them returned, since they would have been required to recant their beliefs.

An introduction to the life of jan komensky

Comenius left Elbing and returned to Poland, where the Brethren at Leszno had been cast into despair. In 1648 he was consecrated presiding bishop of the Moravians, the last of the Bohemian-Moravian clergy to hold this office. Comenius, arriving there in 1650, received a warm reception.

The school opened with about 100 pupils, but it proved unsuccessful.

  1. Adolf Patera Prague, 1897 ; 175 letters from Comenius to various addressees, 23 letters from various persons to Comenius, 46 letters of other persons Dury, Skytte, Figulus, Pell, de Geer, amongst others related to Comenius mostly from the collections of the National Museum in Prague, but also from other sources, for example Swedish archives and libraries.
  2. For this, he is believed to have received financial support from his Dutch benefactor Laurence de Geer. A valuable introduction collection of largely autobiographical texts, arranged chronologically.
  3. In The Analytical Didactic, forming part of his Newest Method of Languages, he reinterpreted the principle of nature that he had described in The Great Didactic as a principle of logic. The discovery of a substantial portion of his correspondence in Leszno in the mid-nineteenth century contributed significantly to Czech research on Comenius in the subsequent period, which then began to recognize Comenius not only as an important writer on education but also a crucial influence on the development of Czech culture and a figure paradigmatic of Czech history more generally.
  4. A valuable introduction collection of largely autobiographical texts, arranged chronologically.

The students were ill-prepared to learn anything beyond the rudiments of reading and writing, and the teachers soon lost interest in a scheme they could not understand. The prince died in 1652, and at about the same time war broke out in Poland. Comenius returned to Leszno, carrying with him the manuscript of a picture textbook he had written for his pupils but for which he had not yet been able to obtain the necessary woodcuts.

Jan Amos Comenius - a Bohemian in Amsterdam

The resulting book, Orbis Sensualium Pictus 1658; The Visible World in Pictureswas popular in Europe for two centuries and was the forerunner of the illustrated schoolbook of later times.

It consisted of pictures illustrating Latin sentences, accompanied by vernacular translations.

John Amos Comenius

In the Head are, the Hair, 1. In Capite sunt Capillus, 1. Comenius had not been back in Leszno long before it was occupied and destroyed, with the loss of many of his manuscripts. He escaped to Amsterdam, where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1657 he gathered together most of his writings on education and published them as a collection, Didactica Opera Omnia.

He devoted his remaining years to completing his great work, Consultation.

  1. A valuable introduction collection of largely autobiographical texts, arranged chronologically. The translation made in Istanbul under the supervision of the Dutch Republic's learned ambassador in Istanbul was completed in 1659 but was never published.
  2. At the present day he remains of interest as a prototype of the international citizen. The 1648 treaty of Westphalia had brought an end to Spanish supremacy in the Low Countries, but it had not been favourable to Comenius's native land.
  3. He also read with enthusiasm the works of Francis Bacon and returned home convinced that the millennium could be attained with the aid of science. Bohemia was to remain under Habsburg domination for almost three centuries.
  4. According to Hannah Neudecker, author of a thesis on the subject, there were probably earlier attempts but the translation commissioned by Comenius is the earliest translation still existing. Contributions mainly in Czech, with some in English and German.
  5. He was also, for all of his internationalism, a Czech patriot at a time when the Czechs had been nearly crushed.

He managed to get parts of it published, and when he was dying in 1670 he begged his close associates to publish the rest of it after his death. They failed to do so, and the manuscripts were lost until 1935, when they were found in an orphanage in Halle, Ger.

Legacy During his lifetime the fame of Comenius rested chiefly on his two popular textbooks, the Janua and the Orbis Sensualium Pictus.

He himself would have set more store by his influence as a social reformer, which reached its peak during his visit to England.

  • Comenius had lost his personal library and many precious manuscripts in a fire before he fled from his previous place of exile in Poland;
  • They failed to do so, and the manuscripts were lost until 1935, when they were found in an orphanage in Halle, Ger.

Men all over Europe had looked to Comenius as a leader; his vision had impressed both those who were seeking a more dynamic form of religion and those who looked to science as an avenue of reform. His pansophism, on the other hand, was not influential either during his lifetime or afterward. His dream of universal harmony was too vague and too grandiose for the mental outlook of the 17th century, which was already shifting in a utilitarian and materialistic direction; it has had even less appeal in modern times.

As a religious leader Comenius helped keep alive the faith of his church in its darkest hour, and he provided the inspiration that led to its subsequent revival as the Moravian Church under Nikolaus, Graf von Zinzendorf, in the 18th century. He was no sectarian but a champion of the church universal. He was also, for all of his internationalism, a Czech patriot at a time when the Czechs had been nearly crushed.

At the present day he remains of interest as a prototype of the international citizen. His patriotic feelings for Bohemia did not prevent him from feeling himself a European and from believing profoundly in the unity of mankind.