Abstract: Three fundamental scientific works on the pedagogy of Comenius will be considered from new perspectives. These are the works of the East German comeniologist Franz Hofmann and the two West German comeniologists, Klaus Schaller and Andreas Lischewski. Germany has produced numerous scientific analyses of Comenius since 1945, but these three habilitation theses were selected for comparative analysis because their authors gained an international reputation as comeniologists through these works. By illuminating the different views of Comenius, new aspects of his world view and pedagogy can be carved out. Differences arise not only due to certain peculiarities of Comeniology between East Germany and West Germany, but also between Protestant and Roman Catholic interpretations. Each of the three works describes the pedagogy of Comenius from its own perspective. Hofmann wrote as a historian of pedagogy and at the same time as a teacher-trainer who passes on the intellectual heritage to a younger generation of pedagogues; Schaller wrote as a pedagogue and philosopher who provided a philosophical deepening of Comenius’ pedagogy; Lischewski, as a younger scientist, undertook a scientific-critical effort to delve into the hidden theoretical structure of Comenius’ work. A look at the three works shows that there are still unresolved questions despite the renewed upswing in Comenius research since the 20th century.
Keywords: J.A. Comenius, Consultatio Catholica, German universities; Franz Hofmann, Klaus Schaller, Andreas Lischewski, Habilitation treatise.
摘要 (Dietmar Waterkamp: 捷克及世界教育家夸美纽斯著作中的现实主义，泛神论及心态: 德国三项基本著作及其对国际夸美纽斯学重要性的分析): 文章从新的角度分析了夸美纽斯教学法的三项基本科学著作。主要涉及东德夸美纽斯学学家 弗朗兹•霍夫曼以及两位西德的夸美纽斯学学家克劳斯•沙勒和安德烈亚斯•利舒夫斯基的著作。 自1945年以来，德国对夸美纽斯进行了诸多的学术分析。然而，这三项获得大学授课资质的学术著作被选中用于比较性的分析是因为三位作者由于他们的著作而赢得了作为夸美纽斯学者的很高的国际声誉，并且，因为他们从不同的视角阐释了夸美纽斯世界观的全新的观点， 从而教育学可以由此得到进一步展开。差异不仅源于东西德之间在夸美纽斯学上的某些特殊性，而且也源自新教和罗马天主教的阐释。这三部作品中的每一部都从个人的角度展现了夸美纽斯的教育学。作为教育史学家，同时也是一位教师教育家，霍夫曼描述了他将知识遗产传承给了年轻一代的教育家。作为教育家和哲学家，沙勒描述了他深化了科美尼亚教育学的哲学。而作为年轻的科学工作者，利舒夫斯基进行了科学的批判性的努力，以便了解科美尼亚著作中隐藏的知识结构。通过观察这三部作品可以发现，尽管对夸美纽斯的研究重新兴起，但自20世纪以来仍然存在着未解决的问题。
关键词: 夸美纽斯， 天主教会， 德国大学， 弗朗兹·霍夫曼， 克劳斯·沙勒 安德烈亚斯·利舒斯基 ， 大学授课资质论文。
摘要 (Dietmar Waterkamp: 捷克及世界教育家誇美紐斯著作中的現實主義，泛神論及心態: 德國三項基本著作及其對國際誇美紐斯學重要性的分析): 文章從新的角度分析了誇美紐斯教學法的三項基本科學著作。主要涉及東德誇美紐斯學學家弗朗茲•霍夫曼以及兩位西德的誇美紐斯學學家克勞斯•沙勒和安德烈亞斯•利舒夫斯基的著作。 自1945年以來，德國對誇美紐斯進行了諸多的學術分析。然而，這三項獲得大學授課資質的學術著作被選中用於比較性的分析是因為三位作者由於他們的著作而贏得了作為誇美紐斯學者的很高的國際聲譽，並且，因為他們從不同的視角闡釋了誇美紐斯世界觀的全新的觀點， 從而教育學可以由此得到進一步展開。差異不僅源於東西德之間在誇美紐斯學上的某些特殊性，而且也源自新教和羅馬天主教的闡釋。這三部作品中的每一部都從個人的角度展現了誇美紐斯的教育學。作為教育史學家，同時也是一位教師教育家，霍夫曼描述了他將知識遺產傳承給了年輕一代的教育家。作為教育家和哲學家，沙勒描述了他深化了科美尼亞教育學的哲學。而作為年輕的科學工作者，利舒夫斯基進行了科學的批判性的努力，以便了解科美尼亞著作中隱藏的知識結構。通過觀察這三部作品可以發現，儘管對誇美紐斯的研究重新興起，但自20世紀以來仍然存在著未解決的問題。
關鍵詞:誇美紐斯， 天主教會， 德國大學， 弗朗茲·霍夫曼， 克勞斯·沙勒 安德烈亞斯·利舒斯基 ， 大學授課資質論文。
Zusammenfassung (Dietmar Waterkamp: Realismus, Pansophie und Mentalität im Werk des tschechischen und Weltpädagogen J.A. Comenius: Eine Analyse dreier grundlegender deutscher Arbeiten und ihre Bedeutung für die internationale Comeniologie): Es werden drei grundlegende wissenschaftliche Werke zur Pädagogik des Comenius unter neuen Gesichtspunkten betrachtet. Dabei handelt es sich um die Arbeiten des ostdeutschen Comeniologen Franz Hofmann und der beiden westdeutschen Comeniologen, Klaus Schaller und Andreas Lischewski. Wissenschaftliche Analysen zu Comenius sind in Deutschland seit 1945 zahlreich zu finden, jedoch diese drei Habilitationsschriften wurden für die vergleichende Analyse ausgewählt, weil ihre Autoren durch diese Arbeiten eine hohe internationale Reputation als Comeniologen erlangten, und weil sichdurch die Beleuchtung der differenten Sicht auf Comenius neue Aspekte seiner Weltsicht und Pädagogik herausarbeiten lassen. Differenzen ergeben sich nicht nur durch bestimmte Eigenheiten der Comeniologie zwischen Ostdeutschland und Westdeutschland, sondern auch zwischen protestantischen und römisch-katholischen Interpretationen. Jede der drei Arbeiten entfaltet die Pädagogik des Comenius aus einem eigenen Blickwinkel. Hofmann schrieb als Historiker der Pädagogik und zugleich als Lehrerbildner, der das gedankliche Erbe an eine jüngere Generation von Pädagogen weitergibt, Schaller schrieb als Pädagoge und Philosoph, der eine philosophische Vertiefung der comenianischen Pädagogik leistete, Lischewski unternimmt als jüngerer Wissenschaftler eine wissenschaftlich-kritische Anstrengung, um zu einer verborgenen gedanklichen Struktur des comenianischen Werkes vorzudringen. Die Betrachtung der drei Werke zeigt, dass trotz des erneuten Aufschwungs der Comenius-Forschung seit dem 20. Jahrhundert noch ungelöste Fragen bestehen.
Schlüsselwörter: J.A. Comenius, Consultatio Catholica, deutsche Universitäten, Habilitationsschriften: Franz Hofmann, Klaus Schaller, Andreas Lischewski
Резюме (Дитмар Ватеркамп: Реализм, пансофизм и ментальность в трудах всемирно известного чешского педагога Я. А. Коменского: анализ трех основополагающих работ немецких специалистов, определение их значения для всей комениологии): В работе предпринимается попытка рассмотреть под новым углом зрения три основополагающие научные работы, посвященные педагогическому наследию Я. А. Коменского. Это публикации немецких комениологов: Франца Хофманна (Восточная Германия) и Клауса Шаллера и Андреаса Лишевски (Западная Германия). В Германии начиная с 1945 года появилось много научных исследований, направленных на изучение идей и концепций Я. А. Коменского. Мы отобрали для сравнительного анализа докторские диссертации названных выше ученых из Германии, поскольку именно благодаря этим работам ученые получили признание в научном сообществе комениологов на международном уровне. Вторым аргументом в пользу нашего выбора стало то, что данные работы – благодаря собственному, оригинальному взгляду авторов на дискурс Коменского – «высветили» новые аспекты его картины мира и педагогического творчества. Зоны расхождения во взглядах на педагогическое наследие Коменского объясняются не только спецификой развития комениологии в Восточной и Западной Германии, но и спецификой протестанской и римско-католической интерпретации работ чешского ученого. В каждой из трех работ присутствует своя перспектива осмысления педагогики Коменского. Хофманн смотрит на проблему глазами педагога-историка и специалиста, занимающегося профессиональной подготовкой учителей; его основная задача – транслировать идеи Коменского новому поколению педагогов; Шаллер пишет как педагог и философ – он обеспечивает педагогике Коменского философскую проекцию; Лишевски, представляя новое поколение ученых, осуществляет критическую рефлексию, чтобы проникнуть в глубь ментальных структур, определяющих концепцию Коменского. Анализ работ Хофманна, Шаллера и Лишевски показал, что, несмотря на новую волну интереса к наследию Коменского, обозначившуюся с XX века, на этом участке остается еще много нерешенных вопросов.
Ключевые слова: Я. А. Коменский, Всеобщий совет об исправлении дел человеческих, немецкие университеты, Франц Хофманн, Клаус Шаллер, Андреас Лишевски, докторские диссертации
On the scientific and social environment at the time the habilitation theses of the German comeniologists Hofmann, Schaller and Lischewski were written
It was not until the 20th century that important writings of the Czech and world pedagogue Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670) were found, viewed and published in archives. Several bibliographies have been compiled (Michel, & Beer, 2000; Korthaase, 1996; further bibliographical references can also be found in the IDE journal (Golz, 2015).
Most of the works of Comenius were discovered in the 1930s but were only edited and translated after the Second World War. It is above all the “Consultatio Catholica de Rerum Humanarum Emendatione” (in German: Allgemeine Beratung zur Verbesserung der menschlichen Dinge; in English: General advice on how to improve human things; abbreviated often referred to “Consultatio Catholica”), which Comenius wrote during the last three decades of his life and of which a copy has been preserved over the centuries in the city of Halle in eastern Germany. It is a very extensive work, consisting of seven individual books, which has by no means been translated into German in its entirety to this day. His work includes the famous books Pampaedia, Pansophia and Panglottia; the Panorthosia from this collective work of Comenius also became famous. The rescued Latin manuscript, which was not written by Comenius, is now in the National Comenius Pedagogy Museum in the Czech capital, Prague. The “Lexicon Reale Pansophicum” also belongs to the collection of manuscripts from Halle. In addition, smaller and fragmentary works from other places, which also represent Comenius’ Pansophicum, were found in the estate of Samuel Hartlib in London by G. H. Turnbull. Among them is a first short version of the Janua Rerum from 1643, which was reissued posthumously in 1681 as “Janua rerum reserata” and was more complete. Other works were found by F.M. Bartoš and St. Souček in St.Petersburg, which today belong to the so-called Leningrad manuscripts, including the Prima Philosophia, i.e. the Metaphysics of Comenius, which was written between 1628 and 1630. It should not be overlooked that quite a few of Torso’s unfinished works have been preserved (Schadel, 1989; Ludvikovskij, 1961).
Two independent camps have been attempting to present Comenius in a new way for contemporary educational science in Germany since 1960. This constellation in 20th century Germany is attributed by many to the desire of contemporary authors to reconcile past theories with the conditions of the modern world. Yet this phenomenon alone cannot account for the newly awakened interest in Comenius. The two German states which existed from 1949 to 1989 were faced with a difficult question: could the work of educational scientists in the time before 1945 be utilized or would researchers have to start from scratch?
The combination of Comenius’s status as an outstanding figure of educational thought in several European countries, including Germany, and the aforementioned coincidence in the history of manuscripts, ensured that the Consultation Work first became known as the main work of Comenius in the 20th century, making translations and commentaries necessary. On the one hand, there were educational scientists from the GDR (German Democratic Republic; often referred to as East Germany), who, inspired by a book by Robert Alt from 1953, edited and interpreted Comenius’ writings anew or for the first time (Alt, 1953). The leading scholar in this endeavour was initially Hans Ahrbeck (1890 to 1981). After his student Franz Hofmann had habilitated, he became the leading comeniologist in the pedagogy of the GDR. Hofmann was habilitated at the University of Halle in 1960 with a thesis on Comenius. In the Federal Republic of Germany, it was the Bochum Professor of Pedagogy Klaus Schaller, who was habilitated at the University of Mainz in 1959 with a scientific work on Comenius, who appeared in print in 1962. In Germany had the unusual situation that two outstanding experts on Comenius literature, both equipped with a good knowledge of Czech and with good contacts to Czech Comenius researchers, worked independently of each other, but with knowledge of each other’s publications. The period from 1960 to 1990 was productive for Comenius research in Germany, and Comenius remains a permanent fixture and perpetual undertaking in German educational science today. Both Hofmann and Schaller, inspired by Comenius’ holistic and universal thinking, understood and practiced their work as an international undertaking. A broad textual basis was created during the decades after 1960, giving Comenius research a new foundation. Translations into German as well as interpretive publications were produced. Two habilitation theses, from 1959 and 1962, stand out even today. The decades proved to be so fruitful for pedagogical Comenius research in Germany that in 2013 another German habilitation thesis on the pedagogy of Comenius was published, which can be positioned next to the two aforementioned ones.
As scientists, the East German Franz Hofmann and the West German Klaus Schaller were certainly on par with each other. Both read and spoke excellent Czech and had a good education in the old language. For both of them the topic “Comenius” was a lifelong pursuit. The coexistence of two outstanding Comenius experts in educational science in Germany, who belonged to the two opposing German states, was a special constellation in the second half of the 20th century. While Hofmann took up the work of older scientists in the GDR such as Robert Alt and Hans Ahrbeck, Schaller was strongly inspired by the Czech philosopher and Comenius expert Jan Patočka.
Andreas Lischewski’s monograph on Comenius, which was published by Schöningh Verlag in 2013, was a surprise for the public. It is a habilitation thesis which was submitted to the University of Passau under the title “The Discovery of the Pedagogical Mentality in Comenius”. The somewhat modernistic-looking title is initially irritating, but the subtitle clarifies the content: “The problem of anthropological empowerment in the Consultatio Catholica”. This book expands on the pedagogical interpretation of Comenius because it offers a generally consistent interpretation of the Consultatio Catholica. This helps to reconstruct the essential stages of Comenius’ philosophical career and to answer individual questions about his most important works. There was little reason to hope that another German scholar from the field of educational science would take the trouble to delve deeper into the work of Comenius than Hofmann and Schaller did. Both died in the early 21st century: Hofmann in 2002 and Schaller in 2015. One might assume that such a work would have had to have been written in Bochum under Schaller’s influence or – rather unlikely – in Halle under Hofmann’s influence. It should, however, be considered that Johannes Schurr had worked as an educational scientist in Passau and had published an introduction to the Consultatio Catholica as early as 1981 (Schurr, 1981). He died relatively early in 1994.
There was also strong cohort of philophical-theological Comenius researchers in Bamberg with Erwin Schadel and Uwe Voigt. Lischewski probably met Schaller, who was perhaps the first to introduce him to Comenius, during his studies in Bochum. He certainly got to know Hofmann through Comenius conferences; the two Bamberg philosophers were known to him early on. He himself mentions only Schadel by name in the epilogue to the printed habilitation thesis but he refers to the “Stiftung Forschungskreis zur Förderung der Begründungswissenschaft Metaphysik”, whose Pentecost conferences he repeatedly attended. The foundation awards scholarships for doctoral students among other things,. In view of the strong secularization which educational science in Germany has undergone in the past 50 years or so, the reference to this scientific milieu sounds almost as if the author wanted to locate himself on the fringes of this science. But the opposite is the case, Lischewski is in the middle of the professional guild. This is shown by his other publications.
One might wonder why Lischewski did not continue his academic career with Klaus Schaller. This question would have been easier to answer with Franz Hofmann in Halle. But the university towns that have influenced the student and scientist from North Rhine-Westphalia most in his intellectual development are in Bavaria: Würzburg and Passau in particular, and Eichstätt next door, where Lischewski also taught at the university. The aforementioned foundation is based in the Franconian town of Eisingen near Würzburg. One of the founders of the foundation was Rudolph Beringer, who was a professor of philosophy at the University of Würzburg. Lischewski probably became acquainted with Beringer’s philosophical teachings through Winfried Böhm, a student of Beringer. A similar relationship existed with Prof. Wiebke Schrader, a younger colleague of Beringer’s in Würzburg, who was particularly familiar with Lischewski’s subject matter. Lischewski refers to her as his “mentor” (Lischewski, 2010, Acknowledgement). The scientific and intellectual environment chosen by Lischewski suggests that Schaller’s interpretation of Comenius did not entirely appeal to him.
These suspicions are fed by the titles that Lischewski has associated with his company: One recognizes the desire to do justice to the theological intention of Comenius. Lischewski reveals the linguistic influence of the great past thinker in his tendency to create a variety of detailed titles. Three years before his habilitation theses, which was written as a methodological paper on the subject, he announced an extensive publication for which the same title was intended:
Palimpsestus Comenii or:
Divine Salvation and Human Forces on Earth – The Problem of Anthropological Empowerment in the Work of Johann Amos Comenius. A history of mentalities study on the genesis of the Comenian concept of “hope” (nadčje, spes) and its pedagogical consequences (Lischewski, 2010, Acknowledgement).
In Passau, Prof. Norbert Seibert and Prof. Guido Pollak were reviewers of the habilitation thesis, and Prof. Erwin Schadel joined as an external reviewer. Lischewski mentions Prof. Wiebke Schrader, who died in 2007, and Prof. Guido Pollak as the authoritative advisors during the writing process. Erwin Schadel might have joined the supervision and review for Mrs. Wiebke Schrader.
Andreas Lischewski has since been appointed to a professorship in general education at the Alanus University of Art and Society in Alfter near Bonn. In 2017 he was instrumental in the organisation of the international conference “Art and Culture” at Alanus University, which was organised by the university together with the German Comenius Society and the Czech Unie Comenius. The Comenius Yearbook 26 from 2018 documents this conference under the title “Art and Culture” under the editorship of the former chairman of the German Comenius Society Prof. Andreas Fritsch from the Free University of Berlin, Prof. Andreas Lischewski and the current chairman Prof. Uwe Voigt, who now teaches at the University of Augsburg.
This rapid admission of Lischewski into the circle of comeniologists shows that Lischewski’s habilitation thesis immediately gained recognition in the circle of experts. It is a special achievement of Lischewski’s that he brought the topic of Comenius, and especially the ‘Consultatio Catholica’, into collegial contexts that did not seem predestined for it. The two Passau experts Prof. Pollak and Prof. Seibert have not yet been assigned any research work on Comenius. The former has filled a chair for general pedagogy, the latter still holds a chair for school pedagogy. Thus it was unexpected that Lischewski received his first appointment to a chair of general education through an anthroposophically inspired university. Further publications from Lischewski will perhaps reveal the connection between Comenius pedagogy and anthroposophical pedagogy.
Scientific interrelations and differences in the habilitation theses of Hofmann, Schaller and Lischewski
Franz Hofmann wrote his habilitation thesis before receiving Klaus Schaller’s. He referred only to three earlier publications by Klaus Schaller, namely his dissertation of 1955 (Schaller, 1955), his translation and publication of the Pampaedia of 1957 (Schaller, 1957) and a paper of 1958 on the ancient Greek word PAN (Schaller 1958). Hofmann’s work was not a response from one Comenius expert to another. Hofmann focused on the pansophy of Comenius in order to demonstrate its significance for his pedagogy. He saw the most important intellectual property of Comenius in pansophy, only indirectly in pedagogy. Schaller, on the other hand, approached Comenius’ own pedagogy directly and expanded his inquiry by describing numerous other works and authors of the 17th century, which he summarized under the characteristic “pedagogical realism”. In doing so, he positioned Comenius in the larger framework of contemporary pedagogy.
The achievements of both scholars are quite comparable, but the fact that Hofmann ‘s habilitation thesis was not printed shows that the two were written under different conditions. It is a great pity and downright painful that the typewritten copy of Hofmann’s habilitation thesis, which is available for loan in the Halle University Library, is now in such a poor state of repair that it is unlikely to be available for much longer. For a deeper understanding of Comenius’ thoughts, even after sixty years, the work still represents a very important, by no means obsolete source.
Hofmann’s work is both scientific and didactic. It is an echo of Comenius’ own efforts to create encyclopaedias and at the same time to make his own research and his thoughts known to a wide audience. Hofmann describes the latter as the “popular educational efforts” of Comenius. Although Comenius was one of the earliest to write encyclopaedias in alphabetical order of words, he was not only an encyclopaedist, but also someone who envisions structure. He based his work on the efforts of his teacher Johann Heinrich Alsted from Herborn, who dealt with the topics of theology and philosophy in compendia. Comenius took up the metaphor of the theatre, which was popular at the time, and summarised his educational programme as “Theatre of Nature”, “Theatre of Human Life”, “Theatre of the Earth Circle”, “Theatre of the Centuries”. He wrote the entire “theatrum” in his mother tongue (Hofmann, 1960, p. 36).
Hofmann has designed his writing in such a way that even the uniformed can understand the Comenian thought of pansophy. He shows how this concept came into being and how Comenius had to grapple with it. The approach from the point of view of the development itself originates from a didactic intention. Hofmann writes as a teacher-trainer for educators, which can be easily seen in his characterization of the two didactics of Comenius: Czech didactics and Latin didactics (Didactica Magna). Hofmann wrote that Comenius was a sensualist and empiricist in didactics,. Later, in the presentation of Pansophy in the Consultatio Catholica, he was a subjective idealist (Hofmann, 1960, p. 182). In his opinion, at the time of the writing of the Czech (or Bohemian) didactics, pansophy was not yet mature; Hofmann even spoke of “pansophical-methodical ideas”. Comenius’ attempt to organize was still encyclopaedic in the conventional sense (Hofmann, 1960, p. 116). This was also largely true for the Didactica Magna. There was still no inner connection in the accumulation of knowledge.
However, the limited scope expanded beyond the Czech nation, and the humane concern was taken into account. The word “universalis” was often used; Hofmann wishes to translate it as “holistic”. The Didactica Magna values a methodical approach: didactic rules are derived from the comparison of examples. While Czech didactics still said that “art imitates nature”, Comenius in Latin didactics strived for a systematic approach, he sought a way to define “principia” and to base teaching and learning on principia (Hofmann, 1960, p. 119). For Hofmann, this change in Comenius’ thinking did not begin until 1638, when he created a method in the form of four standard questions which were intended to shed light on the nature of every object of teaching and learning. The “what” (quid) leads to a clear definition of the object. The “what” (per quid) leads to the structure of the thing by grasping its components. The “by what means” (quomodo) serves to reveal the axioms, i.e. the way a thing fulfils its purpose, the “how often” aims at a subdivision of the thing, i.e. the detection of variations in characteristics, including defects. In the spirit of Comenius, Hofmann formulates: “Thus things are our masters and teachers, they show us the panharmonic order of the whole” (Hofmann, 1960, p. 67).
For Comenius, “didactics” was an effort to order the educational material. The didacticist could not do without metaphysics, because the basis for the order of the educational material had to be the order of being. Behind it all was the conviction that the world has a universal harmony and that the realms of being exist in correspondence with each other. There is a parallelism between the spheres of being of nature, art and education. Sometimes Comenius chose the allegory of the clock, which was intended to illustrate how one thing in the world interferes with another (Hofmann 1960, p. 57). But didactics cannot be limited to describing the world according to the age of the learners, it must also show the position of man and the learner in the world, because if man does not know which is his place in the world, no learning is possible. Man himself exists in this harmony, he is a reflection of its creation. He is God’s most noble creation.
Comenius first had to fight for the optimistic view of man in God’s creation, he had to fight his way through the doubt that the world was not recognizable to man. The divine ideas underlying creation were closed to man according to ancient metaphysics. The doctrine of man’s fall from grace also applied here; he was cast out of paradise. This teaching had led Luther to a pessimistic view of the world and a pessimistic view of man. The temptation of this view was also present in Comenius, but Comenius never gave up the idea of the image of man as God, he did not cultivate such a radical image of sinfulness as Luther did.
Hofmann criticized his West German colleague Schaller for classifying Comenius’ recourse to metaphysics as a return to the Middle Ages (Hofmann, 1960, p. 71). In Schaller’s view, Comenius had taken the principles of the order of being from the (supposed) objective “All of things”.Hofmann refers to the Czech Comenius expert Jan Patočka, who is highly esteemed by both of them and who considers Comenius’ use of metaphysics to be an effort to find a general science that is not based on the Cartesian epistemology; he does not consider this to be a relapse into the Middle Ages.
Hofmann therefore did not have the problem which Schaller had in distancing his work from didactics. Rather, he wanted to show that pansophical thinking is already perceptible in Latin didactics. The differing evaluation of the didactics of Comenius between two scientific figures in both German states also has to do with the change in the conceptual understanding of didactics. According to today’s understanding, didactics aims more at methods and techniques of teaching, and no longer considers the fundamental questions of philosophy. This would not have been acceptable for Comenius. Behind Hofmann’s demarcation from Schaller lies the larger problem of whether Comenius was already an early thinker of the modern age, as Hofmann was convinced that he was, and who called him a pioneer of the modern age. Hofmann would like to preserve Comenius as a thinker who also speaks to the present day and could accordingly be related to the pedagogy in the GDR. He suspects that Comenius could only be of historical interest in Schaller’s view (Hofmann, 1960, p. 30).
The didactics could not be limited to the selection and arrangement of the educational subjects. Tt was self-evident for Comenius that lessons had to lead to the correct application of knowledge. It was a characteristic of Pansophy, as Hofmann describes it, that teaching and cognition would lead to new agency within humanity and between states. In this way, man is also drawn into the philosophy of harmony. He goes back the way to his original predetermination (Hofmann, 1960, p. 183), he will develop from there and become God’s helper in the world reform. His ego will expand to the universe, to the whole. God could only initiate this correction by sending his Son into the world, who exemplified this experience. Pedagogy is included in these humanistic thoughts, for it will ensure that nations acquire proper knowledge and recognize the plan and action of God. Hofmann emphasizes the shift from man’s understanding to his will in this anthropology because understanding the world was essential for conversion until now (Hofmann 1960, ppm. 183-184), now it is free will. The Consultatio Catholica builds on this, Hofmann wants to make connections from didactics to this main work of Comenius. Thus, the Pampaedia, as the middle section of the Consultatio Catholica, is also an extension of all previous pedagogical writings. The Greek prefix “Pan”, which appears in many connections, basically indicates the great expansion that will take place in all dimensions of the world and of man (Hofmann, 1960, pp. 184-185). Education is expanding to self-education. The whole world is a school of God’s wisdom, and the whole of life is a path of education which ultimately leads to the divine “academy” which man reaches after death. The educational process takes on a cosmic dimension. God himself becomes teacher of the schola hyperphysica (Hofmann 1960, p. 189). Thus also the Latin didactics expands to Consultatio.
The problem arose for Comenius that on the one hand he spoke of the “seeds”, i.e. plants which God had placed in man to become helpers, while on the other hand man had fallen and needed regeneration. He solved this anthropological problem by the great thought that man would again place himself in God’s original plan for the world. The core problem with this is that it is high time for conversion, because the end of the world is approaching, and this plan can also fail – to the detriment of man and the world.
For Hofmann, these bold thoughts of Comenius could be explained by his “sect heritage”, i.e. his being rooted in the Hussite religious movement of the brotherhood. It cultivated a positive image of man in which the divine filiation of all people was anchored, in which man was a reasonable creature, even the Lord of creatures – as the image of his Creator (Hofmann 1960, p. 186). Basically, the theology of creation had more to say with the brothers than a Christology. They combined it with an eschatological view of the imminent end of the world. Thus, the thoughts of Comenius were lent drama as was his own fate as a church leader of the end times.
Hofmann does not lose sight of the practical reform steps that Comenius is taking parallel to the elaboration of a new pansophical foundation of pedagogy. After the great disappointment over the Peace of Münster of 1648, which left the Brethren Church in Bohemia and Moravia with no chance, he tries to realize his reform ideas in Hungary in the Transylvanian domain of Prince Sigismund Rákóczi. In 1650 his activity began in Sárospatak. There he wrote the famous books Orbis sensualium pictus and Schola ludus. The illustration of the “Orbis” shows that Comenius took up the sensualism of his time, and the theatrical play of the Schola ludus shows that Comenius also understood the Jesuits’ appreciation of the theatrical play in the school. His didactics now include sensual activity and movement. Language remains at the centre of both reform efforts. The school reform in Sárospatak, however, covered only the first three school years, which were already in Latin. During these three years the vestibule, the janua and atrium were taught, three language books of Comenius. The books are mainly about the “external” things which are named and described. Philosophical knowledge, i.e. explanatory knowledge, was intended for the fourth grade, which was no longer possible, and the fifth grade was intended as a logical class. The 6th class, the “political” class, would have had the goal of proving the knowledge gained to be “salutary” for the present, i.e. to represent and apply to daily and common life. The 7th class was to become the theological class that showed the way to eternal life. For Hofmann, this structure of educational goods is the proof of Pansophical thinking in pedagogy.
Transitioning from Hofmann’s habilitation thesis to Schaller’s can seem like immersing oneself in another linguistic world. The difference would be less noticeable if the two authors had focused their attention on different sub-themes of the great Comenian work, but this is not the case. Both assume – in accordance with the chosen titles of the works – that Comenius has developed his own pedagogy, which is the subject of their works. Hofmann obviously considers the pansophy of Comenius to be the essential foundation of his thoughts and formulates his title thus: “The Pansophy of J.A. Comenius and its significance for his pedagogy”. Accordingly, Pansophy is the conceptual construct which was used as the foundation of pedagogy, and which therefore deserves detailed consideration and analysis – even before the description of the pedagogy of Comenius. Schaller’s habilitation thesis does not speak of pansophy in its title, but immediately of pedagogy: “The pedagogy of Johann Amos Comenius and the beginnings of pedagogical realism in the 17th century”. It comprises three parts of similar scope. The first part deals with “Pansophy and Pedagogy”, the second part with “The Pedagogy of J.A. Comenius”, the third part “The beginnings of pedagogical realism in the 17th century”, offers a history of the impact of the pedagogy of Comenius in the 17th century and characterizes both positive and critical reactions from pedagogues and pedagogies in the environment of Comenius. The expansion of the subject matter is very valuable and brings many sources which were seldomly used into the field of vision. The third part has, however, no parallels to the other two habilitation theses considered here, so it is not taken into consideration in the present study.
The heading “Pansophy and Pedagogy” shows the proximity of Schaller’s thoughts to those of Hofmann. Both are aware of the central importance of “Pansophy” in Comenius, but they have a different relationship with this part of Comenius’ thinking. It did not play a significant role that Hofmann taught and researched in Halle and Schaller in Mainz and Bochum. They both had extensive theological knowledge and a feeling for the theological roots of Comenius’ thought. It is noticeable that Schaller goes into the theological statements in more detail.
Hofmann differs from Schaller only in a few places because he is interested in differences in the fundamentals, not in details. Hofmann draws the conclusion from a longer passage in Schaller’s dissertation of 1955 (Schaller, 1955) that Comenius is “rather a guardian of the old than a pioneer of the new” for Schaller “whose pedagogical principles can only be compared in terminology with the modern ones, since they are not anthropologically but cosmologically-metaphysically-theologically founded” (Hofmann, 1960, p. 29). Hofmann obviously misjudges Schaller’s intention, but makes it clear that he prefers the anthropological foundation of pedagogy for his interpretation of Comenius in comparison to the West German philosopher Schaller, who apparently does not want to claim it as his own. Hofmann would like to understand Comenius’ “commitment to education and humanity, to peace and friendship among peoples” as a “living call to contemporary humanity” (Hofmann, 1960, p. 30). Schaller does not share such enthusiasm. Hofmann indirectly addresses a question to Schaller with this criticism: Can a philosopher as deeply rooted in late ancient and medieval theology and philosophy as Comenius – as Schaller sees him – still inspire today’s pedagogy? Schaller does not draw the picture of the visionary Comenius, he looks instead more closely at the political reformer Comenius.
Schaller wants to show that Comenius had important philosophical thoughts and that his theoretical statements are always based on philosophical connections. What is difficult for the reader is Schaller’s tendency to interpret what has just been said from another angle, i.e. to be able to see and show it differently. He wants to draw the reader into his philosophical thoughts. In this way he tends to formulate paradoxes and avoids unambiguous statements. Schaller does not describe or summarize, as Hofmann does to a large extent, but follows his own philosophical impulse, which he is convinced can already be perceived in the thinking of Comenius. He speaks of the “asubjectivity of Comenius’ pedagogy”. With this he alludes to his own criticism of modern pedagogy, which in his opinion is shaped by the idea of the subjectivity of modern man. However, he brings the thinker Comenius so close to the present day that he can speak of an identity in “our time”, but still draws a line: “it is an identity of opposites, which actually acts as an absolute identity through the repetition of the same word”. Systematically – and with a theological undertone – he states at the beginning of his investigation: “It only appears that the Comenian train of thought is an anticipation of modern pedagogy. In truth he thinks the completely different” (Schaller 1962, p. 14). Schaller wraps Comenius up in a riddle, but will he solve it? Schaller argues that one must always know the whole of the work in order to be able to evaluate the pieces. What is more: the relationship of the individual to the whole of the universe must always be taken into consideration, and this relationship must be direct.
Among the paradoxes that Schaller identifies in Comenius’ thinking are “The surface of things is their backside” (Schaller, 1962, p. 31). “The sum of knowledge inevitably becomes ignorance” (Schaller 1962, p. 33). “The activity of the world as a whole manifests itself in the passivity of knowledge” (Schaller, 1962, p. 58). A deeper paradox is that man is only given to himself as a human being when he retreats from himself and finds his sense of being in the other (Schaller, 1962, p. 140). Schaller declares this paradox to be the essence of pedagogy: “It is only the renunciation of the human being in his reflexive self-understanding that makes the human being as a person free of himself and his tasks, which he encounters in fellow human beings and things” (Schaller, 1962, p. 157).
Schaller is already entering the field of pansophy with these formulations. How can we understand the whole, everything, space, the universe, all of creation? Obviously, we cannot research everything, we can only recognize the harmony of it all, the parallels between structures on a large and small scale, because everything that exists has isomorphic structures. The “everything” is also the “one”. “Panharmony” becomes the principle of knowledge. The realms of knowledge explain each other, everything is similar to everything. Schaller declares the Panharmonics to be one of the most important “inventions” in the Comenian system. It is a key (Schaller, 1962, p. 29). This also established that panharmony cannot produce anything new (Schaller, 1962, p. 30). It does not follow the modern understanding of science; it moves cyclically.
But the “one” of the whole is not obvious, it is hidden by the many. This reputes the view of the unifying features of the whole. The danger of factual isolation, of “chunkiness”, as Schaller translates it, also exists for didactics, which Schaller pays relatively little attention to. That is why it is so important that pedagogy draws on pansophy. But for Schaller, the transition to pansophy requires a revision, a completely unfamiliar relationship to knowledge; in fact, such a process would be so devastating that it would be hard to imagine that many people would actually do it. Knowledge is not the empowerment of man, from the point of view of pansophy. It does not originate from the desire to rule over nature and the world, but rather means precisely the disempowerment of man, the abandonment of the striving for power, the end of the striving for the subject, which strives to create an object for itself and to dispose of it (Schaller, 1962, p. 191). All previous science – and Schaller counts metaphysics among them – remained blind, it could not recognize the purposes of the whole and did not find the basis of the perfect action, the Chresis. Only illusory images came to light. All desire to act turned into a disturbance of order, into violentia and into an obstruction of the free flow of human activity. Therefore, “disempowerment”, abandonment of subject thinking, is the necessary condition to gain access to Pansophia (Schaller, 1962, pp. 60-62).
Schaller is skeptical about the tendency of people to want to strengthen their subjectivity. It is the tendency to raise oneself as a one who recognizes to the “subject of the recognized”, in a movement of reflexivity aimed at anchoring the certainty of recognition in the recognizing subject (Schaller, 1962, pp. 137, 60, 158f). Schaller knows that this tendency is constitutive for modern thinking, but he does not surrender to it; he wants to maintain a balance between subjectivity and objectivity. If an exaggeration of the cognitive subject is to be avoided, it is obvious to grant the objects of cognition, the “things”, a higher status, close to an ontological quality. This is easy to observe with Schaller. In this respect he can draw on Comenius’ theorem that the “realia”, the things themselves, teach people what to do (Schaller, 1962, p. 139). The universe opens up to knowledge from within itself (Schaller, 1962, p. 29). Knowledge is not a human achievement. Schaller formulates in the sense of Comenius: “The lumen universale leads from God through things into man” (Schaller, 1962, p. 179). Thus “the things” – the created – shine for man. The power of the universe is also communicated to pedagogy. “The pedagogical measures of the Pampaedia will only be able to develop pedagogical energy if they make use of the instrumental power of the universe” (Schaller, 1962, p. 246).
The rejection of a strengthening of subjectivity is consistent with Schaller’s tendency to suggest the abscence of will to the person striving for knowledge. He formulates the following about knowledge: “Thus it accomplishes the will of God in unwillingness, thus it inactively brings about the order of the world: chresis” (Schaller, 1962, p. 60). The chresis is the culmination and conclusion of knowledge, it points man to practical realization. Knowledge is no longer “knowledge” if it has lost Christ as its actual content, who wanted to realize the will of God on earth. But it can be completed in order to bring about the completion of “world history” (Schaller, 1962, p. 63), that is, the return to Christ. Comenius worked on the completion. Obviously, it is not a sleepy inactivity that Comenius wanted, but rather an inactivity strained towards the goal.
Schaller had a strong desire to accredit Comenius to the modern era (Schaller, 1962, p. 137f). This desire also manifested itself in a weaker form in Hofmann. If the attribution to modern times were not to apply, the legitimacy of the extensive study of Comenius in today’s pedagogy would be questionable. Schaller nevertheless shied away from making the reference to the modern age clear; he also left open the option of bringing Comenius into the proximity of New Platonism. He sees in Comenius the endeavour “to free things as what they are, to free them from every ontological-metaphysical bracketing” (Schaller, 1962, p. 189). What then is “the authoritative horizon of the whole” that can prevent man from descending into the abuse of creation (Schaller, 1962, p. 249)? In the theory of language, which Schaller found innately in Comenius, the oscillation between classifications to late antiquity and modernity becomes apparent. Schaller dedicates profound thoughts to Comenius’ language theory (Schaller, 1962, pp. 91-106). According to Comenius, “true speech” requires the “unambiguous assignment of thing and word” (Schaller, 1962, p. 93). For the encyclopedist Comenius there was still a great deal to be done in the field of languages to prepare mankind for the return of Christ. It was not only about extensive lexical work, but also about working out a world language. According to biblical tradition, the coexistence of a multitude of languages in humanity was a great obstacle to the spread of the unifying religion and to communication in the world in politics, culture and education.
The question of the world language clearly showed Comenius what the divine mission to mankind meant, to complete creation. Comenius demanded that every thing, even the smallest, must be named by sounds and phonetic symbols. There should be no more sound connections than things and no more things than sound connections. All real and observable phonemes in mankind must be taken into account for the world language. New words must be invented according to these principles. These speculations reflect something of the Comenius way of thinking: the urge for completeness, for clarity, order and unambiguity, and above all the conviction that everything important has already been created and is waiting to be used correctly by mankind, the Chresis. A mechanical world view underlies this way of thinking. It is regrettable that Schaller did not address the limitations of Comenius’ thinking, of Comenius’ attachment to traditional philosophy and theology in this important intellectual field.
For Comenius, who wrote a textbook of physics (Physicae ad lumen divinum reformatae synopsis – 1632) the scientific phenomenon of light has always been fascinating. As with all observations of natural phenomena, light becomes a parable for Comenius that can pictorially explain God’s action with the world and man. The metaphor of the mirror is added to the metaphor of light, which Comenius crafted and which Schaller interprets. This allegorical metaphorical speaking is a continuous feature of Comenius’ philosophising. It would be worth giving an analytical appraisal, but it was not Schaller’s aim – despite his strong philosophical impulse – to give an analysis of Comenius’ way of thinking. Schaller takes Comenius’ peculiarity of linking images and pictorial speech for granted, mostly as a result of his theological thinking. He explains his linguistic results, but he does not fundamentally address the difference of about 300 years which separate us in terms of Comenius’ way of thinking and speaking.
A pictorial manner of speaking may be the expected language use for a follower, but Klaus Schaller did not join the faith of Comenius at all. Speaking in this manner could no longer be appropriate for the issues which Comenius negotiated. In spite of all the impressive historical detail and accuracy that characterises Schaller’s comments on Comenius’ works, there is a gap between Comenius’ own intentions and the willingness of today’s Comenius reader to understand. Comenius’ theory of language, as well as his the theory of light, are considered to be deficient today. Schaller certainly wanted to translate Comenius’ thinking and speaking into the present day, but he did so by repeatedly filling the statements of Comenius with a philosophical way of speaking tested on Heidegger, which seemed to him to provide a secure basis for “modern” philosophising. It also guaranteed a relatively close intertwining of philosophy and theology, but it could not narrow the gap between Comenius and today’s reader. Schaller demonstrated an impressive wealth of references to Comenius’ thinking, which clashed with the strange nature of the philosophical undercurrent that was to enliven Schaller’s interpretation of Comenius.
Lischewski’s book was published about 53 years after the two earlier habilitation theses (Lischewski, 2013). This may be a long time in science, but it is clear from Lischewski’s work that it was written in response to the two earlier ones. This is understandable, because they set standards that had yet to have been surpassed. But the scientific situation had changed, on the one hand the dissonances within Germany are a thing of the past, on the other hand Lischewski, building on the existence of these two works, had to give his work a specific direction of inquiry. It was not a question of giving one of the two works the higher rank, but of working out a core problem of Comenius’ thought and solving it as far as possible. Lischewski was able to rely on the works of Hofmann and Schaller with regard to the standards of exegetic procedures, such as textual criticism, criticality, traditional cinema and criticism of form, as well as the history of concepts and motifs. He did not imitate their broad approach to information processing but rather concentrated his analysis on the main and late work of Comenius. He approached his goal of revealing the message of this work and his lines of argumentation in an argumentative and developing manner.
It is related to the Consultatio Catholica of Comenius, often referred to as the Consultation Work, as done so by Lischewski. It is comprised of seven books and only came to academic attention after the discovery of the complete manuscript by the Ukrainian philosopher Dimitri Tschižewskij in the library of the orphanage of the Francke Foundations in Halle in 1933/34. It was a manuscript, but not by the hand of Comenius. Comenius gave this work the title: De emendatione rerum humanarum consultatio catholica, which is usually translated General advice on the improvement of human things. Chyzhevsky made a copy of the extensive manuscript, which was later partially copied. The manuscript remained in Halle until 1957, when the government of the GDR decided to donate the manuscript to the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, a German translation of one of the seven books, the middle central one entitled Pampaedia, was published – based on Chyzhevsky’s early copy – together with the Latin text of this book as early as 1960. This first Latin-German edition of the Pampaedia was prepared by Dmitriy Chyzhevsky and Klaus Schaller together with Heinrich Geissler and published by Quelle and Meyer in Heidelberg in 1960. The Prague Academy published a two-volume edition in Latin in 1966 with the entire text of the seven books found by Chyzhevsky. The details of the text layout in the original manuscript, which was by no means ready for printing, had to be discussed at length. After the Czech Academy of Sciences had worked through the complete work in 1966 without reaching the state of a critical edition, Klaus Schaller reworked his translation of the Pampaedia and in 1991 presented another bilingual edition of the Pampaedia – this time at the Academia Verlag in Sankt Augustin (Schaller, 1991).
Attempts to make the counselling work accessible to interested parties, at least in excerpts, in German were made twice by Franz Hofmann, once in a work that offered larger excerpts from all seven parts of the counselling work in Hofmann’s own translation (Hofmann, 1970), and again in 1992 in the so-called anniversary edition for the 400th birthday, in which Hofmann offered translations of relatively short excerpts from many of Comenius’ writings that were important for pedagogy (Hofmann, 1992). But a complete translation of the advisory work into German is still missing. Lischewski relies mainly on the Latin Prague edition of 1966.
What status does the consultancy work have? What is the point of such a comprehensive multi-part work to carry out consultations? Did an author like Comenius really believe that he could give a new direction to the events in humanity and the world and motivate people to change the goal of their lives? If the work was to be an aid in the great deliberations of statesmen, leading clergymen and administrators of schools, it anticipate the deliberations, but it could not create real situations! Was there a solution to this dilemma? If Comenius really wanted to exert a historically relevant influence, his work had to have mysterious powers. But Comenius’ historical thinking was not only about political or social history, that is, as Comenius said, secular history, but also about the history of salvation, which God pursues with the humanity created by him. The relationship between world history and salvation history is also a dilemma, because in the end world history will inevitably parallel salvation history, but both historical dynamics are neither controllable and nor predictable. Can it be accomplished by putting all events and all open questions confidently into God’s hands? That is not what Comenius meant; in his opinion, God wants to enable man to work with him and wants to give him enough autonomy to direct historical dynamics towards the good goal.
Lischewski’s work differs from both of his predecessor works. The author delves deeper into the inner structure of Comenius’ late work. His book is argumentative, it argues progressively and reaches its goal in chapter VI (Outlook). Since Lischewski also establishes connections to other writings of Comenius, the analysis of the consultancy work is placed in a broader context of Comenius research, without losing the argumentative thread. At the centre of the argumentation are always the “means” that have already been invented or are yet to be invented in order to be able to fulfil the hopes.
The material of this great work of Comenius seems to be something very abstract. What hope is being discussed? When an object of hope becomes a foundation of hope – through a larger chain of justifications – this intellectual progress is quite impressive, but still it does not answer the question of what it is about. The answer is understandable: It is about the exile’s hope to return to their homeland as a step towards overcoming the division of Christianity. But in the meantime Comenius was about much more than that, about the hope for the return of Christ, who will rule the world in a millennial kingdom. But if this scenario is to come true, the ground must be prepared for it. Fundamental reforms must be achieved in all areas of the common life of the people in a relatively short time, otherwise it could be that Christ will return in a mission quite different from that which was hoped for. Comenius carried out a great thought experiment in this late great work which should demonstrate the following:
Fundamental reforms are possible, as there are very good conditions present, so world reform is possible. However, the fear of failure is always present – with terrible consequences. Thus this work also serves the self-assurance of Comenius himself – the self-assurance of his faith, that is: his hopes. One can feel how strongly the fear attacks his own train of thought and the doubt about the validity of the evidence. Lischewski has no smooth success story to report.
It is a strength of Lischewski’s work to repeatedly make this self-referential moment of Comenian thought visible (Lischewski, 2013, e.g., p. 231).
Although he writes that Comenius observed a “doubtful indecision between hope and fear” (ibid) of himself and in the environment at the beginning of writing the consulting work, this was transformed into “a firmly founded hope” (ibid). Fear in another form resonates with today’s reader: Is Comenius dealing here with something real or only with an abstract model of progress? Do his thoughts have a real object or are they purely semantic in nature? If something is not recognized as existing, is it possible to make it existent through a plethora of arguments in which it is treated as existing? Is this the content of progress that Comenius repeatedly attests to? In other words: is it a philosophical autosuggestion? It is to the credit of the researcher Lischewski that, through his persistent pursuit of the thought processes of Comenius, he leads today’s reader to this limit of doubt. Lischewski does not cross this boundary, nor could he do so without denying the temporal distance that separates us from Comenius. This enables Lischewski’s work to address the dangers contained in the Comenius argumentation. The two predecessors did not, and probably could not, do so, since an admiration of the founder of modern pedagogy seemed natural to them, in order to bring this scholar back into the centre of their own science.
Lischewski is particularly critical of the chiliasm of Comenius. Comenius was convinced of the final character of his era and looked forward to the first phase of the Last Days, the millennial kingdom of Christ, with joyful expectation and at the same time with great concern for humanity. Not only did he observe these happenings, but he saw himself in the midst of it, and it was questionable as to whether humanity, and above all Christianity, would be able to cope with this upheaval of the time and the world. He felt the pressure on himself to do justice to the special role God had placed upon him in this event. Comenius was convinced that he himself had taken an essential step to create a new situation in salvation history with the writing of the Consultatio Catholica. He himself counted the Consultatio among the “works of divine providence” (Lischewski, 2013, p. 327). Comenius often operated with the image of the “path of light” or “the paths of light”, so he was convinced that with the conclusion of the Consultatio and its irrefutable proof, now a new path of light was discovered which allowed for decisive action.
Comenius relied on syllogistic reasoning, which proceeds in three steps. The superset establishes which conditions must be fulfilled in order to achieve the great goal, the subordinate establishes that these conditions are indeed and in reality fulfilled (or in the negative case: not or not yet), so that in the third step the conclusio can take place, which says: The desired result can actually be produced (in the negative case: not produced). Then those who feel called can go to work in order to reach the desired result (ibid, p. 171). For Comenius, the centrepiece (the pedestal) was the most laborious piece of work, because he had to show that the means are really available or can be made available to complete the work. There had to be at least three major chapters in the Consultatio that could prove that the goal of universal reform, that is, world reform, was attainable. These were the weighty chapters that form the centre of the great work. First there is Pansophia, it shows the complete order of things, because this order is the truth and ensures that actions based on it are true and can be seen by all. The Pansophia is followed by the Pampaedia, which must show how people can acquire knowledge of the truth of things and overcome ignorance, i.e. how they must be instructed in the truth, i.e. which is the one correct content and path of teaching. This is followed by the Panglottia, which has the extremely difficult task of creating a universal language and showing that it contains something of all languages and can be understood by all speaking people. In this way, the wisdom that is brought to light in Pansophia can be communicated to all people. Comenius has indeed carried out detailed preliminary studies for the universal language and has published some of them. He tackled the lexis, as well as the phonetics and syntax of such a language. In doing so, he certainly had the Christian world mission in mind, because the world reform was the plan of a Christianization of mankind. One can see from these three core elements of the Consultatio that Comenius spent a lot of time and energy establishing the world reform, i.e. the reform of humanity. These three books led to the discovery of the most important means necessary for the systematic implementation of human enlightenment: knowledge of the world, i.e. knowledge of all means that can serve mankind, school as a possibility to pass this knowledge on to all people, and the world language, which would enable a uniform teaching of all people and a common administration of all peoples (Lischewski, 2013, pp. 334-335). Lischewski was the first to uncover the steps of thought and solutions to problems included in this project in a systematic presentation.
The three parts of the Consultation are preceded by two chapters which are intended to clarify the intention and working methods of Comenius. The first chapter is Panegersia, which Comenius called a wake-up call. The call for consultation goes to all people who care about the reform work. By pointing out the corruption of human society in its full extent, it underlines the urgency of counselling on the improvement of human conditions. He also states that certain rules must apply to counselling. The second chapter is the Panaugia, a chapter that demonstrates the necessity, possibility and ease of world reform. It is based to a great extent on the metaphor of light. Chapters of Comenius’ work Via Lucis have been included in this chapter. Comenius had completed the Via Lucis almost 30 years before the publication of the Consultatio and had given it to the Lords of the Royal Society in London, who did not accept it for printing. It was not until 1668 that the Royal Society had this work printed, which is now available in a German translation by Uwe Voigt, with an introduction and a detailed commentary (Der Weg des Lichtes, Hamburg, 1997).
The three middle chapters are followed by two concluding chapters. Panorthosia is of great importance for the whole work of Consultation, it shows how the improvement in the institutions of the societies – in families, schools, churches and the states – should proceed and which political institutions should be established for this purpose. In the last chapter, the seventh book, called Pannuthesia – which means: All admonition – all responsible persons are admonished to promote the work of renewal in their area of responsibility. Thus the circle of the Consultation is closed.
Lischewski was one of the first to address the presumptuousness of such a program (Lischewski, 2013, p. 433). As strong as the motive of Comenius was to bring together the peoples of the earth and thus to promote peace on earth, Comenius’ thought also contains a clear streak of violence. Lischewski reveals this. The role of violence in his reform programme makes Comenius somewhat invisible in that he wants to present the implementation of the reforms as something easy and pleasant. However, the “lightness” is achieved by the fact that he wants to understand it as an automatism, as an event that happens by itself, as something spontaneous that is at the same time something mechanical (Lischewski, 2013, p. 291). This tendency is rooted in the Pansophical view that things manifest themselves (ibid, p. 274), i.e. that they force the mind under their command, the order of things (ibid, p. 294). The strongly developed metaphor of light also supports the idea of lightness. But light does not send freedom or spontaneity; man cannot escape the light unless one wickedly blocks access to their own eyes. Lischewski brings Pansophy and machine into a direct connection by formulating: “The Pansophical world order established by God was transferred into a concrete social order by means of the machine model” (ibid, p. 300). The Pansophical order of the world has something machine-like, it strives with the certainty of a machine towards its goal, which was also its starting point.
Man has been given knowledge and ability along the path to awareness, but what about the will? Even if God has given man insight and ability, man does not want to carry out what he has realised. Man must subordinate his will to the order of the world, that is, to the divine will, become one with it, so to speak. In the same way, he must take the logical steps that Comenius presents, for to pull away from the logic he has revealed would be a sin that would destroy his soul. Lischewski states dryly that Comenius’ concept of freedom is negative (ibid, p. 304). Man must subject his will to the divine. Otherwise Comenius cannot achieve the goal of the advisory work, namely to lead all people to the recognition of Christ as the ruler in the Millennial Kingdom. In the worship service of the Moravian Church the listeners concentrated on hearing, a dialogical event between pastor and congregation hardly existed. Lischewski not only addresses the weakness of Comenius’ concept of freedom, he also reveals – the closer he gets to the end of his analysis – more and more doubts. These concern above all the Comenian chiliasm, from which also the Comenian idea of the state originates. Lischewski speaks of the Christian theocracy as the ideal image of Comenius, which serves the Christianization of the people and will ultimately enforce the rule of God on earth. The absolutist territorial state provides the pattern (ibid, p. 296f). Lischewski is not afraid to speak of the “political surveillance state” (ibid, p. 283). He describes the supervisory structure that Comenius envisaged for family, school and church (ibid, p. 297). Book censorship is also part of this, printed works against the truth are to be forbidden (ibid, p. 316). Comenius also planned for his own books to be examined by a “world assembly”, but in his case he meant more a legitimation than an examination. In this way pansophy can be spread among all peoples (ibid, p. 298).
Lischewski repeatedly quotes Comenius’ referring to the “enemies” (ibid, pp. 286, 288, 315, 326). This meant primarily the Catholic Habsburgs, who had forcibly expelled Protestantism from their lands, including Bohemia and Moravia. Comenius had no doubt that these enemies would have to be fought in the future, also by force. The Peace of Westphalia had no binding force for him, for he had handed Bohemia and Moravia completely over to the Habsburgs and had left the Protestant Czechs no chance to continue their churches. It was undeniable for Comenius that in the end times the friends of Christ and the enemies of Christ, Christianity and Christianity of lies (ibid, p. 315), would face each other and lead their armies against each other (ibid, p. 317). Comenius had no doubt about the outcome of this battle: already in this “mortal life” the enemies of Christ would be “destroyed” and would find “their tragic end” (ibid, p. 315).
Lischewski is aware that Comenius was, more deeply than often assumed, influenced by the events of the religious war in the 17th century and did not place the final conflict under the requirement of non-violence.
Of course, he granted his church the right to exclude those church members who followed a different theology. He labeled opponents of his church with the Pauline term “obduracy”, it was allowed to proceed with armed force against them if necessary (ibid, p. 316).
The word “consultation” (consultatio) can give the impression that Comenius was concerned with a discourse free of domination between church leaders, scholars and state leaders, but Lischewski contradicts this, because in his opinion Comenius shied away from the “risk of equal talks” (ibid, p. 430). What else should be discussed, if the result of the discussions was already determined beyond doubt in advance by Comenius? When in the “Consultatio” he insisted so strongly on the irrefutability of his argumentation, he made it clear that fundamental contradiction was not possible. Lischewski attests that Comenius had a “fundamental inclination to practical totalitarianism” (ibid, p. 435). This is certainly difficult to accept for the Protestant-dominated pedagogy in Germany, but it can be of particular interest to read a Comenius interpretation that was written in the environment of Catholic-dominated Pedagogical Institutes.
Lischewski opened a new view on Comenius because he recognized the great tension under which Comenius stood not only politically but also intellectually and theologically. The great work of counseling is by no means the work of his age as the sum of the thoughts of a sage, but rather it shows how his whole way of thinking placed him in an ever higher tension, and how hope and despair pulled him in different directions and threatened to tear him apart. He was not only on the summit, but just as much on the abyss. Lischewski writes: “There was a constant up and down of hopes and disappointments, which also affected the late Comenius” (ibid, p. 374). In doing so, he is thinking above all of the political hopes of Comenius, but an awareness of the – as Lischewski writes – “fragility” of the “overall conception” of pansophy was probably also present in Comenius (ibid, p. 422). Pansophy was so centrally important for Comenius because the work of counseling was not only meant to be an academic intellectual achievement for him, but was itself of “salvation-historical” importance. With its logical or syllogistic success, a new situation in salvation history had to arise (ibid, p. 327). The work was thus also an effective force in the eschatological debate; he was convinced that the spirits would separate in the eschatological struggle. It is more difficult to say what was the cause of his own doubts regarding this work. For Lischewski there is a weakness in the concept of human will, in which Comenius lagged behind Augustine (ibid, p. 422). In fact, the value of the doctrine of the will from Comenius is disputed among Comenius interpreters. Since Comenius does not express a concept of the individual, previous interpreters were willing to put the will of man behind his ability to reason. But Lischewski points to the passages in the “Consultatio” in which Comenius declares that God wants to make people who do not want to become willing (ibid, p. 396). The human desire was a force in which the “change of the world” would take place. The Pansophical education goes from knowledge to wanting and from there to action, but people often refuse to take this last step.
More generally speaking, a contradiction arises from the fact that Comenius ascribed a kind of metaphysical power to “things”, i.e. the material world. It forces man to subordinate himself, because he does not translate his insights into action. But in doing so, he devalued man’s will power and the act of choosing his will. The weakness of his concept of freedom may be related to this. Comenius did indeed elevate man to the co-worker of God in the forthcoming completion of creation, but he did not grant him individuality and thus subordinated him to the anonymous objective power of the created world. Likewise, he pursued the presumptuous idea that the objectivity of the world (res) must be transferred into the mind of man (mens) in pedagogy (ibid, p. 362). Although Lischewski (like Schaller and Hofmann) also subscribes to the idea that Comenius had already opened the door to modern thinking, the lack of a concept of individuality casts doubt on this. For Comenius, “truth” came from things, not from language (ibid, p. 430f). For him, the objectivity of things ruled the human mind and there was only one truth for him. Comenius thought more of the faith in creation than of the faith in redemption. Things created by God had a divine signature for himself.
He pursued the idea of perpetual motion machines for decades in connection to this line of thinking. The device, if invented, would be regarded by him as proof of the correctness of his entire body of thought. It would have demonstrated that nature executes its movement by itself, evenly and without a foreseeable end. The clockwork “world” would also have to run its course and confirm the findings of Pansophy, Pampaedia and Panglottia. How could the educated thinker and above all the deeply religious Christian Comenius pursue such an abstruse idea? He was looking for something supernatural through which “Elijah” could appear with power before a world council and drive apart the enemies of Christ. These thoughts and plans give an idea of how desperate Comenius must have been about the course of events and above all about the mental powerlessness which he himself also felt. The hope for a perpetual motion machine was just as much a human hubris as the idea of a didactic machine (ibid, p. 437). It resembled Comenius’ idea of the printing press, which was still relatively new at the time, in that it would ensure a fast, accurate and easy transfer of the desired knowledge from the teacher to the pupils. Lischewski writes about Comenius, who was taken up by the idea of order and hoped for a turning point in the history of God’s salvation: “The first step to be taken must be taken by the force of the inner-worldly order of beings into the human spirit, for only through this force is man himself ordered” (ibid, p. 360). Perhaps Comenius already saw the first step into this pedagogical machine age in the series of textbooks he wrote, especially the language textbooks.
The more critical points Lischewski brings together in the last one hundred pages of his book – with due restraint – to form Comenius’s explanations, the more critical are his casual references to Schaller’s works. What bothers him is his tendency to place Comenius in a “non-binding limbo of a supposedly discursive openness”, which is only suitable for “making fundamental criticism impossible” (ibid, p. 402f). Lischewski moves away from Schaller’s willingness to praise Comenius as an advocate of the freedom of the subject (Lischewski, 2010, p. 426), and also rejects Schaller’s attempt to call Comenius a witness of “communicative reason” (Lischewski, 2013, p. 412). It disconcerts him that Schaller himself claims that he allows Comenius to speak as himself, while others make him the mouthpiece of their own speech (Lischewski, 2013, p. 387f). Lischewski’s refusal to separate pansophy from the mechanistic notion of didactics takes aim at Schaller, who wanted exactly that. Lischewski, on the other hand, demands: “this unity of pansophical universalism and pedagogical mechanism must be held fast” (ibid, p. 439). Lischewski even sees Comenius as “the mechanization of hope” (ibid..), which can only produce a certainty of victory. In this intensification, however, he can no longer follow Comenius, and he therefore moves on to the critical question of what then remains of the “praised Comenian greatness” (ibid..). This sounds like a final rejection of Comenius, but he may not be able to bring himself to enact such a rejection. Thus, he has a need to escape from the trap he set for himself in the last pages of his work.
One of the most important questions of Comenius’ research is certainly whether the life of Comenius was straightforward or interrupted. What is striking about Schaller’s numerous works on Comenius is the weight he attaches to Joachim Hübner’s criticism of his “Didactica Magna”. Comenius had sent handwritten copies of his “Didactica Magna” to a few well-disposed scholars for evaluation. A reply was received in 1639 from the German lawyer and philologist Joachim Hübner, who lived in Oxford, and was critical of the planned book. The distance that Hübner had to this work did not prevent him from accompanying Comenius on his intellectual paths in a friendly manner, sometimes with subtle irony (Blekastad, 1969, pp. 249-260). Schaller sees Hübner’s criticism as the trigger for a retention of the Latin manuscript for about twenty years, which only appeared in the large Amsterdam edition of his works in 1657 (Schaller, 2004, p. 70). Hübner had warned Comenius that he could be counted among the “didactic sect”, which he considered to be a disaster. Schaller sees this as the reason why Comenius increasingly avoided the term ‘didactics’ (didactica) (Schaller, 1992d). He sees a turning point in Comenius’ thinking around the years 1639 to 1640 (Schaller, 2004, p. 71). In the meantime, he had found Pansophia and was therefore able to fill the concept of didactics with new content. He had turned away from a purely technical understanding of teaching, Schaller speaks of a “pansophical rehabilitation of the Didactica Magna”. Didactics later appeared to him as a labyrinth into which he had temporarily gotten lost (Schaller, 1992a). Nevertheless, it is surprising that Comenius sticks to the analogy of teaching and printing and maintains the triad of “fast, safe, pleasant” as an indication of correct teaching. The technique of the printing press is given the attributes: fast, uniform and flawless, and this ideal is to be achieved one day in the mechanics of teaching.
Schaller obviously rejected the technical proximity of Comenian didactics. He repeatedly distanced himself from the false didactic view that can be read from Comenius’ writings, but which Schaller believed should not be taken so seriously, because Comenius had later changed his opinion. In Schaller’s opinion, the turn to pansophy had transcended the didactic phase in Comenius’ thinking. “This change is expressed in a new, pansophical understanding of knowledge”, wrote Schaller in 1992 (Schaller, 1992a, 27). However, the technical proximity of Comenius’ thinking remained.
If this turning point in the thinking of Comenius really existed, it was a real upheaval. Pansophy must have entered Comenius’ life and way of thinking like something really new. According to Schaller, the Pampaedia was a part of this. However, Comenius not only brought about a turn in philosophical thinking, but Schaller also saw a turning point for active intervention during Comenius’ stay in England in 1641/42. According to this view, Comenius recognizes that man should mediate between God and things, thus completing creation (Schaller, 1992a). Is it justified to assume there was such a striking turn in Comenius’ thinking? Schaller considers it to be an essential reason for the intrusion of Chiliasm in Comenius’ conception of theology (Schaller, 1992c, p. 51f). This fact is strange, at least for today’s reader, and requires further explanation. It would not only be a way to escape his resignation in the phase of his life when he wrote Trostschriften, but also an outbreak. Such a turn of events catapulted the Bishop of the Brethren University from the self-conception of being the first pastor of his Church to the confidence of a prophet of Christianity, later perhaps of a third Elijah. The reader, who cannot claim to be an expert on Comenius, is irritated by the fact that there is nothing to be said of such a turning point with Franz Hofmann or Hans Ahrbeck.
Franz Hofmann knows the Hübner criticism, especially since Ahrbeck has already written about it (Comenius, 1961, p. 27). But neither of the two scholars speaks of the shock that Hübner’s criticism of Comenius would have caused. There was no real break for them between didactics and pansophy. On the contrary, pansophy appears to be a method that can make didactics and other intellectual efforts even more reliable. The Prodromus pansophiae, the Prelude to Pansophy, and the Didactica Magna were published together in 1657 in the Opera Didactica Omnia in Amsterdam. In Hofmann’s opinion, pansophy was already present when the Latin Didactics were written (written 1633-38) and even more so in the writing: Pansophiae diatyposis (translated by Hofmann: The Picture of Pansophia of J.A. Comenius in the Ground Plan and Outline, which outlines the scope, extent and application of the whole future work (Hofmann, 1992, pp. 98-152), which was largely written in 1639 and printed in Gdansk and Amsterdam in 1643. Schaller refers to some aggressive contemporary reactions to pansophy, which partially destroyed the goodwill that Comenius earned through his didactic writings (Schaller, 2004, pp. 19-21). Nevertheless, the defense against technical aspects in pedagogy could also be a special feature of West German pedagogy, perhaps a legacy of the so-called humanities pedagogy, which considered the philosophical foundation of pedagogy to be irreplaceable. For the philosopher Jan Patočka, “the turning point” was characteristic of the anthropological constitution (Patočka, 1970, pp. 61-74).
One could assume that the dissonance on the topic of the relationship between didactics and pan-sophy not only existed between two scientists but was partly caused by their different locations in divided a Germany. Was it a dissonance within Germany? It was never personal antagonism. Both scientists took part in the “exemplary international scientific cooperation” of which Schaller once spoke with regard to international Comenius research, which could not be divided by the Iron Curtain (Schaller, 1973, p. 17). Schaller and Hofmann published repeatedly in one and the same publication. The question of whether this apparently minor, but not insignificant, difference for the interpretation of the Comenius was made moot by the later work of Lischewski.
If one searches Lischewski’s work, it is noticeable that Lischewski does not ask directly for the views of Comenius, but rather follows the development of his thought through the works. According to Lischewski, Comenius constructed a chain of evidence. It therefore remains a question as to whether Comenius was able to sufficiently substantiate his arguments or had to to leave them unproven. Further texts forced him to change his path to finding proof. It was extremely important for Comenius to make at clear statements. Lischewski based his entire analysis on the concept of hope. This seems appropriate for the faith and thinking of Comenius. Lischewski’s guiding question is always whether there are sufficient well-founded indications that hope will be fulfilled. For every time hope is present, proof must be found showing that there are means available to make this hope justifiable. It must be proved that the means are effective, i.e. that they do what is expected of them. The burden of proof is not necessarily meant in the sense of empirical proof, i.e. it does not always require a measurement, but requires a consistent intellectual deduction. Once a means of fulfilling hope has been found and its effectiveness clearly deduced, the means can become a new reason for hope. In this way, hope can become more concrete step by step. In this way people can come closer to Christ’s plan of salvation, for Comenius believes that it is Christ himself who creates and fulfils hope.
In Lischewski’s view, didactics itself has become a means for Comenius and then also a “central carrier of hope”, which gives reason to hope that the great promises will come to be (Lischewski, 2013, p. 71). Didactics has achieved “an infallible certainty”, so that it can safely prevent the failure of an expected success (ibid., p. 70). This is true if didactics is applied persistently and continuously to all pupils in school lessons. Thus, according to Lischewski, there is no break in the thinking of Comenius, not even between Bohemian and Latin didactics. For Lischewski the idea of the “didactic machine” (ibid., p. 71) is not objectionable, on the contrary, it is very promising.
By choosing the concept of hope as an analytical approach, Lischewski recognizes that the entire Consultatio is full of suspense. The danger there would be the risk that the prophecy would be considered proof – a so-called self-fulfilling prophecy. Although the faith is certain in the end – the saving act of Christ will prove itself – failure remains possible. It would be the failure of the human being to whom God has entrusted so much and to whom he has sent Christ as an outstanding helper. God himself cannot fail, but his creation “man” is not secured against failure. That is why Comenius’ mental effort for hope has such need and drama. Yes, in the end Comenius sees himself as the Elijah whom God has called, but who can also fail, quite similar to the Old Testament Elijah and also the second Elijah – John the Baptist. Much was at stake for Comenius during the conception and writing of the consultation work, he was the representative of the mankind, so to speak, whom God called to help God’s plan of salvation with mankind to succeed – or to surrender to failure. A tremendous historical burden lies on Comenius’ shoulders. He is the last link in a long line of pioneers who strove to make God’s plan of salvation a reality. It was up to him and to his mental implementation of the breakthrough of hope to determine whether the chance that God gave mankind would become reality. Comenius had to make an unprecedented spiritual effort and at the same time endure the mental tensions that were connected with it. He was truly a man of longing and a man of pain. In doing so, he was under extraordinary time pressure, for the return of Christ was imminent and mankind had to be ready. If it is not ready, the return of Christ will be quite different from what one hopes for. How close the eschatological event was, was shown by the signs that especially gifted people could see.
With his great late work, Comenius not only described what hope had achieved so far and what it still had to achieve, but he also encouraged hope. He wanted to awaken it to new strength. It is a question whether this thinking and experience of Comenius can be described at all in the past tense, because the hoped-for events did not occur, the hopes have thus passed, although for Comenius there could be no afterwards after these hopes and events. There was no doctrine of faith for such an afterthought, nor did Comenius lay the foundation for such a new doctrine of faith. It follows from this that one must report on Comenius’ thoughts and faith in the present tense, because supposedly his hope must also be our hope. But indeed, if we admit to ourselves today that the hopes and events did not occur, what are our future prospects? This old problem of Christianity confronts us also today – even if one speaks about it in Christian theology as about something past from the early days of Christianity. Comenius was not satisfied with the message that one must never give up hope, but he worked on the refinement of hope to a new quality from mere hope to secure knowledge. If this path to the autosuggestion of faith failed with him, will it succeed with us? But if we give up this attempt, what still connects us with Comenius?
Comenius extended the idea of hope from the manageable hope of the Moravian Brethren to return to their homeland and to freely exercise and proclaim their faith to the hope of humanity. This was perhaps an act of despair because the concrete hope simply did not want to be fulfilled in the events of the Thirty Years’ War. To give up hope was a strong temptation for Comenius for a time, this was very hard on him and drove him to great despair until he exponentially increased hope, inflated it, so to speak, to a gigantic cosmic ball, because only the new great hope could also pull the smaller one with it. Comenius thus lived in himself and through himself, which he had to think through at the same time. He was not a scholar who had to define himself through an object, but he lived through his problem as fate itself. It should be solved in him, in his life and thinking. In spite of his entanglement in the existential distress of his problems, he had to keep a cool mind and take every step of his thoughts into account. In Lischewski’s book, this tension in Comenius’ life and thought becomes tangible. In this way, Lischewski initiates a new dynamic in the study of Comenius’ pedagogy, which is not only significant for the study of the life of Comenius, but also for the weighting of the Comenius legacy in pedagogy.
The analysis of these three habilitation theses proves the value of the traditional habilitation, which offered time, support and freedom to devote oneself to such a large and presuppositional topic. However, the value of habilitation theses and habilitation procedures is changing, and it is questionable whether such achievements can be expected in the foreseeable future. This change could perhaps be compensated for if international research cooperations on Comenius were made possible in educational science, because hardly any other personality in educational history has had such an international reputation as Comenius. The work of Lischewski shows that traditional confessional boundaries can also be crossed. National educational cultures could rise above their borders and find mutual complementarity in research on this topic. A joint, cross-border research would have to achieve more than anthologies with contributions from scholars from several countries would undoubtedly do (Charles University Prague, 1991).
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About the Author
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Waterkamp: Emeritus, Comparative Educational Studies and European Education Systems, Technical University Dresden (Germany); e-mail: email@example.com