A Central European Example of 17th-Century Calvinist Intellectual Communication: Johann Heinrich Alsted and Albert Szenci Molnár

By Márton Szentpéteri (Centre des Hautes Études de la Renaissance, Budapest)


In the following lines my basic aim is to interpret the letters Alsted and Molnár wrote to each other in 1609. Although both of the letters have already been discovered by several German and Hungarian scholars, their thorough analysis is yet to be written. Whilst Molnár's letter to Alsted was entirely unknown to scholars of Early Hungarian Studies, the letter together with a copy of Alsted's Specimen musicae Ebraicae the German author sent to Molnár was practically unknown to Western scholars. Moreover, the former document has hitherto not been printed.

As a matter of fact, Albert Szenci Molnár (in Latin Albertus Molnar Ungarus) is one of the most important early Hungarian scholars who had fruitful connections with the contemporary German intelligentsia in the Early Modern, hence one can not find a better example of early modern intellectual communication between German and Hungarian scholars than that of Molnár and his friends in Germany.

The exchange of letters we are about to discuss strongly deserves our attention, since it reveals the fact that the early modern struggle for establishing the universal reform of the contemporary intellectual life (such as scholarship and science, education, religion and politics) could also imply the project of collecting different translations of the Psalms as a source of perfect harmony.

Biblical Encyclopedism and Encyclopedical Biblicism

Since Albert Szenci Molnár's published ouvre mainly consists of works devoted to Humanist language studies and to theological problems, he has been regarded by the scholars of Early Hungarian Studies as a late Renaissance Humanist who ignored dealing with the questions of 'philosophia naturalis', that is to say, of Science.1 Although one could find this consideration veritable at first sight, one has to recognize the importance of many of Molnár's sporadic statements on topics of 'naturalia' in his several dedications and prefaces. Such is the one on the brain: "Naturae vero indagatores, omnis intelligentiae et rationis sedem in cerebro, tanquam arce corporis, esse voluerunt."2

The testimony of his hitherto unpublished personal commonplace-book reveals evidence on Molnár's encyclopedical knowledge as well. Before analysing it thoroughly, one can immediately admit at first sight that the taxonomy of Molnár's Loci communes includes each and every faculty of knowledge and in doing so it offers a typical example of the struggle of finding the real order of late Renaissance thoughts, namely, of the encyclopedic structure of the Early Modern.3 The content of his dictionaries (Dictionarium Latinoungaricum, Nürnberg, 1604; Lexicon Latino-Graeco-Hungaricum, Hanau, 1611; Lexicon..., Heidelberg, 1621) also shows this encyclopedical aspect. Without so much as referring to all the sources that can improve our point on Molnár's competency in 'naturalia', let me mention only one more example. Up to the present, the Molnár-research has failed to recognize the importance of the fact that Molnár possessed a copy of the Pseudo-Albertus Magnus' De secretis, one of the most significant representatives of the popular magical Weltanschauung in the Middle Ages and in the Early Modern alike.4 It is pointless to emphasize that this book also belongs to the field of "natural sciences".

In fact, Molnár was a humanist in any case, however this does not mean that he had no ideas on different scientific questions. Naturally, he gained knowledge on nature from books and not from the scientific investigation of the world, but this humanist "textual approach" was not an impractical enterprise, but worked hand-in-hand with the new science being born.5

As for Molnár, the above-mentioned encyclopedic knowledge supported the exegesis of the Holy Scripture as it used to be common for the early modern Calvinist intelligentsia, particularly for scholars dealing with the universal scholarship of the Holy Scripture, the basis of all educational and scholarly efforts of the reformed church.6 In this context Humanist language studies earned a special importance. In Molnár's work writing of the vernacular grammar, the translation of Psalter, the proposed translation of Johann Piscator's German Bible and the realized Bible-editions formed an organic unity offering a good example of this biblicist universalism of the reformed churchmen.

For a follower of the universal scholarship of the Scripture all the cognitive and scientific activities aim at interpreting and comprehending the divine revelation, that is to say, the only way to understand the Bible, indeed, is that of sciences, whereas each and every science is solely understandable by means of the Scripture. As a matter of fact, the Scripture is the fundamental source of all knowledge and their object at the same time. This "vicious circle" produced two basic – and strictly corresponding – concepts, one of biblical encyclopedism and the other of encyclopedism supporting the explication of the Bible. Let me call the latter encyclopedical biblicism in the followings.

Molnár had very good relations with several scholars dealing with these concepts such as Elias Hutter and Johann Heinrich Alsted.7 The latter – one of the greatest encyclopedists of all time – in his Triumphus bibliorum sacrarum seu Encyclopaedia biblica collected 'loci' of all arts and sciences from the Bible.8 Hence, this time, he organized and explicated thoughts solely by means of the Scripture. Several pre-Rosicrucian and Paracelsist sources regarded the Bible as the encyclopaedia of nature as well and the biblicism of the Rosicrucian manifestos reveals quite a similar attitude.9 The practice to collect all thoughts only from the Bible – a special case of 'sole Scriptura' – can also remind us of Matthäus Vogel's theological encyclopaedia entitled Schatzkammer (Tübingen, 1581-88) wherein the author "ex solis Scripturae" collected and brought out "sacrosanctae testimoniis de omnibus partibus doctrinae coelestis".10

The 'intentio auctoris' of Alsted's Encyclopaedia (Herborn, 1630) and the iconography of its title-engraving make it obvious that for Alsted the profane encyclopaedia is an indispensable instrument for understanding the Bible.11 In his late Transylvanian works he maintained the same idea.12 It is obvious that his follower’s, the greatest Hungarian encyclopedist, János Apáczai Csere's similar opinion on the Bible and the encyclopaedia has its origin in the same tradition of the Herborn pansophism. Apáczai in the preface of his Magyar Encyclopaedia (Utrecht, 1653) refers to Johann Heinrich Bisterfeld's idea that nobody is able to explicate the Bible sufficiently without studying the whole encyclopaedia at least at a basic level.13 The Hungarian scholar also reinforced his professor's idea in his inaugural address (Ioannis Apátzai oratio de studio sapientiae, Gyulafehérvár, 1653) at the Collegium Bethlenianum Gyulafehérvár.14

I have already stated that the 'encyclopaedia sacra' and 'profana' strictly belonged together and created an organic unity. In order to support this statement one has to analyse some early modern versions of the metaphor 'liber mundi'. Szenci Molnár, in the preface of his second edition of the Hungarian Bible (originally translated by Gáspár Károlyi et alii) published in Oppenheim, wrote one of the most elaborate variants of the topos in the history of Hungarian literature:

"Since the comprehension of the one and only true God is eternity, His Majesty set two books before people from which they could learn Him and gain eternal life. The first book is the whole world and the ornate edifice of heaven and earth, wherein the living God infused and imprinted all sorts of glorious characters and certainties of his eternal omnipotence, wisdom, justice and mercy, and wherein he noted down and portrayed Himself in all of his creatures to become their paternal providence, especially of humans. These two wide folio books have as many different characters as there are different creatures in heaven and on earth. (...) The other book is the entire Holy Scripture, wherein God teaches us more clearly His salvatory knowledge."15

It is worth mentioning that Molnár followed the theological model of metaphor use, just like Francis Bacon did first in his Advancement of Learning, then in the Latin version De augmentis scientiarum16. According to Bacon, the book of the world also comprises two volumes such as the Book of God's Works and the Book of God's Words. To understand the previous the observer has to be skilled in 'philosophia naturalis' and in 'philosophia practica' – namely ethics, politics and economics –, to understand the latter one must be well-trained in 'divinitas', that is to say, in theology.17 In accordance with the book-metaphor, these two basic fields of knowledge construct a homogeneous context, the words (verba) are only interpretable by means of things (res) and vice versa. Hence there is perfect harmony between these two volumes: the order of words (ordo verborum) totally corresponds to the order of things (ordo rerum). Alsted, in the chapter on theology of his Encyclopaedia, states that the book of nature (liber naturae) includes two volumes, in which the bigger is the universe (macrocosm), the smaller the human being (microcosm). This doubled book consists of various letters such as hieroglyphic notes of God's majesty and of our service towards Him.18 On the sixth, theological circle of his Lullist combinatorial oratory entitled 'cyclognomonica oratoria', Alsted connected the book of nature to the Bible, thus, though this time he addressed the universe as a school – that means he applied the metaphor 'schola vitae' instead of 'liber mundi' – the formula became similar to that of Bacon and of Molnár.19

Hugh Ormsby-Lennon drew our attention to the book mysticism of the Rosicrucian manisfestos, and of the Rosicrucian linguistics in general.20 The Confessio Fraternitatis (Kassel, 1615), for example, applies a fairly similar version of the topos 'liber mundi' to that of Molnár. The magic writing and the new language of the Rosicrucians – a certain kind of both verbal and real character at the same time – have the same book mysticist ground as the one apparent in Molnár's text, thus the linguistic presuppositions of the Confessio and of Molnár's preface to his Oppenheim Bible are almost identical:

"...those great letters and characters which the Lord God hath written and imprinted in heaven and earth's edifice..."21

"These characters and letters, as God hath here and there incorporated them in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, so hath he imprinted them most apparently into the wonderful creation of heaven and earth, yea in all beasts (...) From the which characters or letters we have borrowed our magic writing, and have found out, and made, a new langauge for ourselves, in the which withall is expressed and declared the nature of all things."22

The strong biblicism which is manifest in the Confessio could also have been familiar to Molnár, a typical representative of the universal scholarship of the Bible, writing grammar and dictionaries, translating the Psalter and editing Bibles:

"But we must also let you understand that there are yet some Eagles' Feathers in our way, the which do hinder our purpose. Wherefore we do admonish everyone for to read diligently and continually the Holy Bible, for he that taketh all his plesaures therein, he shall know that he prepared for himself an excellent way to come to our fraternity. For as this is the whole sum and content of our rule, that every letter or character which is in the world ought to be learned and regarded well; so those are like unto us, and are very near allied unto us, who do make the Holy Bible a rule of their life, and an aim and end of all their studies: yea to let it be a compendium and content of the whole world."23

In the following I am to analyse the exchange of letters between Alsted and Szenci Molnár in the light of the biblical encyclopedism and encyclopedical biblicism, and of a certain universalism which struggled to reform religious life, education and scholarship at the same time in order to create peace and real harmony in the world before the expected Second Coming of Christ.


The Exchange of Letters


According to Molnár's letter, Georg Vechner Jr. was the first to display to him Alsted's Specimen musicae Ebraicae. "Caeterum ostendit mihi ornatissimus Juvenis Georg. Vechner Specimen Musicae Hebraicae a te Heidelbergae editae..." The Silesian scholar, later to become Comenius' colleauge in Leszno (Lissa) and collaborator on several pedagogical works, must have met Alsted in Marburg during the latter's stay at the university in 1607. A couple of days before Alsted, on December 25 1609, answered Molnár's Marburg letter dated December 18, Vechner sent a letter to Alsted from Marburg discussing the Herborn scholar's Clavis artis Lullianae published in autumn of 1609.24 We have to consider that the scholar, who first drew Molnár's attention to Alsted's translation of psalms 3 and 134 was a skilled Lullist, and pansophist of his time. Although Lullism has not been discovered to have played a crucial role in Molnár's intellectual activities, the pansophist efforts to reform the pedagogy of the period must have been familiar to Molnár.25 Otherwise it would have been nonsense for Alsted to promise that he would send Molnár his new publication entitled Systema mnemonicum duplex: "Ubi excusum erit, mittam tuae Humanitati, ut videat, num videri debeat." In addition to that, Alsted listed Molnár's name (Albertus Molnar) in this book among the the most important authors upon whom a contemporary reformer of education has to rely.26 Concerning encyclopedical biblicism, it is worth mentioning that the same erudite men inspired or even urged Alsted to translate the Psalter who wanted him to write the Systema: "Fecerunt et aliquam multi doctissimi viri id ipsum [videl. Alsted's 'conatum' to prepare the translations of the psalms], qui subinde mihi calcar et animum addunt. Iidem docti, quos dixi, mihi extorserunt Systema Mnemonicum de modo discendi..."


Millenarianism, Chiliasm and the Calling of the Jews

In his letter, Molnár was of the opinion that there were several of those who would welcome Alsted's translation of the whole Psalter, for it would be a sufficient, compulsive instrument (incentivum) to convert the Jews: "Erunt certe multi quibus pergratus erit labor tuus, et quis scit fortassis placuerit Deo, huiusmodi incentivis etiam Judaeorum caliginem excutere incipere..." Alsted, in his reply, confirmed that he would seriously work on the publication, if the distinct men (probis), namely those who find it important to drive the Jews out of their ignorance (excutere caliginem Judaeorum), would greet it: "Quod si videro probis probari haec talia, pro virili annitar, ut Musica Ebraeorum enitascat."

What is the appropriate device to convert the Jews and to convince them of the truth of the Messiah and of the Holy Trinity? To translate the different versions of the Huguenotic psalms (that of Clement Marot and Theodore Béze, of their Latin variants by Andreas Spethe, and of Ambrosius Lobwasser's German translations) back into the original Hebrew? For a reader of our times, the idea might seem a little bit confusing at first sight, however in the 17th century it was not that unique. If we suppose that they regarded the translation as a form of interpretation, the point is more understandable. As a matter of fact, the Christian philologists, who believed they have spiritualized the original Hebrew sources by means of their faith and poetic language could regard their translations as an appropriate vechicle of the Christian values. Moreover, the Huguenotic versions can be considered as mostly personal adaptations rather than close translations. Hence the rendering of these new psalms back into Hebrew could be an excellent representative of the Christian values indeed. I have already stated that this "cultural appropriation" was not unique in the Early Modern. In fact, the Christian cabbala since Pico della Mirandola had a similar attitude while christianising the cabbala, a form of Jewish mysticism. Moreover, it is also not an accident, that the Christian cabbalist disciples of the art of Ramon Llull regarded their master, the Doctor Illuminatus, as a Christian cabbalist, since Llull originally developed his method with a manifest missionary intention to convert the infidels, that is to say the Jews and the Mohammedans.27 Alsted, a typical synthetizer of the basic principles of the early modern Christian cabbala, defined its conversive aim and benefit (usus) as follows:

"Kabbalistae suppeditant preclara testimonia de SS. Trinitate, de Messia (...) quorum usus est in disputationibus adversus Iudaeos."28

"Caeterum huius Cabbalae usus non tantum est ut sit acutus lusus ingenii, sed etiam ut nobis serviat in confutandis Iudaeis recentioribus. Multa enim Scripturae V. T. loca per hanc Cabbalam a vetustissimis Iudaeis explicantur de sacrosancta Trinitate et Messia, et quidem adeo clare, ut recentiores Iudaei non habeant quod excipiant."29

This aspect of the Christian cabbala strictly corresponds to the ideas of contemporary Millenarianism. For the Calling of the Jews (vocatio Judaeorum) played a prominent role in 17th-century Millenarianism, particularly in Alsted's theories. In his Diatribe de mille annis apocalypticis, he writes de conversione Judaeorum in detail besides the calling of other gentiles.30 For the Millenarians the conversion of the Jews was seen as a necessary precondition for the Second Coming of Christ.31 Perhaps the best example of Alsted's Millenarian effort of this kind happened during his stay in Transylvania when Alsted and his colleagues Bisterfeld and Piscator successfully converted a distinct scholar, David Valerius, later to become professor at Sárospatak.32

To sum up, it seems reasonable to regard Alsted's project of translating the Huguenotic Psalter back into Hebrew as an act of Millenarianist efforts as well.33



Besides the Calling of the Jews, in the context of the hoped for conversion of all the gentiles, the conversion of the Turks was a Millenarianist purpose alike.34 However, when Molnár indicated that he intended to translate the Psalter into Turkish, he also pledged himself to follow another Millenarianist and Chiliast idea, namely, the Calvinoturcism that has an important Hungarian tradition, especially in Transylvania.35 To Molnár's mind, his forthcoming Turkish translation of the Psalter would one day be as popular as Alsted's proposed Musica Hebraica: "quemadmodum etiam meos eiusmodi labores et Turcis olim placituros sperant mei nonnulli populares". Naturally, the Millenarianist and Calvinist scholar Alsted welcomed Molnár's idea:"Perge inservire patriae tuae, imo et ipsismet Turcis, quorum linguam si excoleres, magnum faceres, doctissime domine Alberte, curae et operae pretium."36


Universal grammar

Besides these religio-political aspects, the mainly Calvinist project of translating the Psalter into as many vernaculars as possible certainly belongs to the early modern search for the perfect language alike. It is fairly presumable that for a pansophist like Alsted, the Psalter project also served the purpose of language comparison, that is to say, of 'grammatica generalis', not to mention the strictly corresponding 'poetica generalis', through the problems of metrics and rythm for instance.37 In one of my earlier articles I asserted that Alsted's late, Transylvanian rudimenta of Hebrew–Chaldean, Greek and Latin grammar were based on the same combinatorial principles, thus they reveal the idea of a universal grammar hidden in the three sacred languages.38 Alsted's contemporaries in Germany, such as Wolfgang Ratke, Christopher Hellwig, Schottel, Bisterfeld and Comenius were also involved in similar projects while they either wrote school-books to ease the study of languages just like Ratke with his Allgemeine Sprachlehr, Hellwig with Libri didactici, grammaticae universalis, Latinae, Graecae, Hebraicae, Chaldicae, Schottel with the Teutsche Sprachkunst and Comenius with his Janua, Vestibulum and Orbis pictus, or – like Bisterfeld in one of his letters to Samuel Hartlib – considered a philosophical language providing the harmony between things and words.39

I hope that my considerations outlined above could set the Psalterium-project in which Alsted and Szenci Molnár were both involved in its proper light when discussing a certain universalist context of biblical encyclopedism and encyclopedical biblicism and of ideas close to Millenarianism such as the Calling of the Jews and other Gentiles, Calvinoturcism and even the universalist approach in grammatical theories and language planning.40 In my opinion, this short article also supports the research of Alsted's Hungarian connections, and in doing so it is able to clear up such misunderstandigs that suggest a kind of intellectual hierarchy between Western and Eastern scholars rather than assuming intellectual communication between equally erudite participants.41



My greatest debt to Szilva Homok, Péter Banyó and Zoltán Csehy. Warm thanks are also due to Rolf Schiecke in Braunschweig, to Dr. Häbel in Wiesbaden and to Christian Hogrefe in the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel for their kind and indispensable help to reach the sources in Germany. Another major debt of gratitude is owed to the Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Wiesbaden, and to the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Arts and Scineces Budapest for permission to reproduce Alsted's and Szenci Molnár's documents.



1 See for instance Vásárhelyi, Judit, Eszmei áramlatok és politika Szenci Molnár Albert életművében [Ideology and Politics in Albert Szenci Molnár's work], Budapest, 1985. p. 75. (Humanizmus és Reformáció 12.)

2 Szenci Molnár, Albert, Dictionarium Latinoungaricum, Nürnberg, 1604. [Reprint, Budapest, 1990] Dedicatory letter to Rudolf II, fol. 3v (Bibliotheca Hungarica Antiqua 25.)

3 This personal commonplace–book is available in the Bibliotheca Teleki–Bolyai at Marosvásárhely-Tirgu Mures under the shelfmark To–3619b Ms. 37. Some part of it – such as Molnár's diary – were published by Lajos Dézsi. Cf. Szenczi Molnár Albert naplója, levelezése és irományai [Albert Szenci Molnár's diary, correspondence and other writings], Budapest, 1898. However Molnár's Loci communes is yet to be published. On Renaissance commonplace–books in general cf. Moss, Ann, Printed Commonplace–Books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought, Oxford, 1996. On Molnár's demonological 'loci', especially on the 'locus' of the legendary Johannes Faustus, namely the first explicit mentioning of Faustus in the Hungarian cultural history see my article 'Boszorkányos Szenci Molnár Albert' [Devilish Albert Szenci Molnár], Café Babel, 32 (1999/2), pp. 37–45.

4 Though Dézsi has already published a short document with a list of the books Szenci sent home from Wittenberg in 1592 by one of his friends – the fourth book is "Problemata Aristotelis cum Alberti Magni de secretis" –, owing to a small misunderstanding by László Szörényi, Hungarian scholars have ignored to detect Molnár's own copy, which has not yet been discovered. Recently, we have no concrete evidence (such as marginalia and underlinings) of Molnár' own reading. I did not find any mentioning of De secretis in Molnár's personal commonplace-book, according to his scholarly mentality, however, it is fairly presumable that he read the book before he sent it home to Hungary. Cf. Dézsi, op. cit. p. 404. and Szörényi, László, 'Szenci Molnár Albert latin versei' [Albert Szenci Molnár's Latin Poems], Szenci Molnár Albert és a magyar késõ-reneszánsz, ed. Csanda Sándor and Keserû Bálint, Szeged, 1978. p. 252. (Adattár XVII. századi szellemi mozgalmaink történetéhez 4.) The consulted copies of different editions of the De secretis bound together with the Pseudo–Aristoteles' Problemata in the National Library of Hungary are the following: a 1558 edition ,OSzK Ant. 13171(1); a 1584 Leyden edition, OSzK Ant. 8283 (2). On the cultural role of the book cf. Kieckhefer, Richard, Magic in the Middle Ages, Cambridge, 1993. p. 142.

5 As Anthony Grafton presented in his Defenders of the Text while attacking the penetrating dogma formulated at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries that humanism and modern science have nothing to share. See his Defenders of the Text. The Traditions of Scholarship in an Age of Science, 1450–1800, Harvard University Press, Cambridge–London, 1991. On humanist "scriptural commentary" see also Foucault, Michel, The Order of Things. An Archeology of the Human Science, Vintage Books, 1994. pp. 40-42.

6 See Mihály Imre's article attached to the reprint of Molnár's 1604 Dictionarium, op. cit. pp. 8-15.

7 As one of the most important Hebraist of his time, Hutter edited several polyglott Bibles, wrote Lesekünste (such as Globus and Cubus quoted by Alsted in his Encyclopaedia, 1630) to ease the learning to read and write. He was the publisher of the first edition of Molnár's Dictionarium in 1604. Cf. Szentpéteri, Márton, 'A grammatika oktatásának kombinatorikus módszere Johann Heinrich Alsted gyulafehérvári rudimentáiban' [The Combinatorial Method of Teaching the Grammar in J. H. Alsted's Rudimenta published in Gyulafehérvár], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények, 1998/3-4, pp. 443-444.

8 Alsted, Johann Heinrich, Triumphus bibliorum sacrarum seu Encyclopaedia biblica, Frankfurt, 1625. Consulted copies: OSzK XII. Exeg. 1602. and the second edition (Frankfurt, 1642) in the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel: HAB 522. 1. Th. (1). In the preface, Alsted discusses his sources of biblical encyclopedism, namely, the books of Franciscus Valesius, Levinus Lemnius, Lambertus Danaeus, Cunradus Heresbachius, Johannes Althusius, Grossius and others.

9 Gilly, Carlos, 'Vorläufer und Wegbereiter. Das Bibel als Enzyklopädie der Natur', Cimelia Rodostaurotica. Die Rosenkreuzer im Spiegel der zwischen 1610 und 1660 entstandenen Handschriften und Drucke, Austellungskatalog der Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica Amsterdam und der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, Amsterdam, 1995. pp. 10-12.

10 Schatzkammer heiliger Göttlicher schrifft (...) Alles allein auß der Bibel Altes und Newes Testaments zusamen getragen und in gute richtige Ordnung gesetzt und ordentlich auß geteilt durch M. Mattheum Vogeln..., Tübingen, 1581-88. Wolfenbüttel HAB Alv. X. 44–48. 2° . The citation in the Lectori salutatem of Vogel's Latin version: Thesaurus theologicus ex sola sacra scriptura depromtus, in quo unico tomo omnes loci theologici testimoniis verbi dei explicantur et confirmantur (...) autore M. Matthaeo Vogelio..., Tübingen, 1592. HAB A: 258 Theol. 2° .

11 Blekastad, Mila, Comenius. Versuch eines Umrisses von Leben, Werk und Schicksal des Jan Amos Komenský, Oslo–Praha, 1969. p. 32.

12 "Hic enim, si quis vastum Encyclopaediae Oceanum feliciter navigare in votis habeat, ventum secundum a Deo piis precibus implorare juxta impetrare (...) debet." Cf. Alsted, J. H., Veraedus ad perillustrem dominum ... Wolfgangum Hoffmannum..., Editio secunda. Albae Juliae, 1637. p. 3. The only known copy is in the Národní knihovna È eské republiky (Klementinum) under the shelfmark 12. L. 26. (2). (Hungarica code: RMK II. 507/a.) There is no evidence of any copy of the manuscript of the probably unpublished Colophon de Reformatione Philosophiae... on which this specimen was written. Alsted mentions this work in the preface – written on September 1 1633 – of his Turris David (Hanau, 1634). Therefore we can be sure that Alsted finished his Colophon before this date. The consulted copy of Turris David in Wolfenbüttel: HAB Xb. 2020(1).

13 "Excellentissimi viri D. Johannis Henrici Bisterfeldii ascitus, Praeceptorem quod ad disciplinarum amorem Praeceptori similem reperi. Quem etiam tam publice quam privatim diligentissime magnoque conamine discipulis suis haec verba inculcantem saepius hisce meis audivi auribus: Sacram scripturam scil. sine mediocri Encyclopaediae totius cognitione, neminem feliciter interpretari posse: Nihil utilius ad solidam eruditionem perveniendi, nullaq; via compendiosor, concatenata omnium rerum delineatione compendiisq; artium omnium memoriae mandatis." Apáczai, Csere János, Magyar Encyclopaedia Utrecht 1653–1655, Reprint, Budapest, 1975. fol. 3v. See also Evans, Robert J. W., 'Alsted és Erdély' [Alsted and Transylvania], Korunk, 1973, p. 1911.

14 "Dispeream si non omnium scientiarium adeoque totius Encyclopediae ope, in scriptura evolvenda indigeam, quando latifundium ejus quaqua versum considero." Ibid. p. 417. Apáczai discuss the problem in details: pp. 417-418.

15 Szenci Molnár Albert válogatott művei [Albert Szenci Molnár's Selected Works], ed. Judit Vásárhelyi, Bratislava, 1976. pp. 270-271. The excerpt was translated by M. Sz.

16 Curtius, Ernst Robert, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Princeton, 1953. p. 322.

17 Francis Bacon. A Critical Edition of the Major Works, ed. Brian Vickers, Oxford–New York, 1996. p. 126. (The Oxford Authors) See also his Fragmentum libri Verulamiani, cui titulus, Abecedarium Naturae, The Works of F.Bacon, coll. ed. James Spedding, Robert L. Ellis, Douglas D. Heath, London, 1876. Vol.2. pp. 85-88. in English Vol. 5. pp. 208-211.

18 "Liber naturae est magnus, vel parvus. Magnus, est mundus: parvus, est homo, qui appellatur parvus mundus, Graece . Duplex hic liber variis constat literis, tanquam notis hieroglyphicis majestatis Dei, et officii nostri." Alsted, Encyclopaedia septem tomis distincta, Herborn, 1630. Faksimile-Neudruck mit einem Vorwort von Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Stuttgart–Bad Cannstatt, 1989-90. p. 1561.

19 "Circulus sextus qui est Theologicus. B. Schola naturae. Hic tria expendantur. I. Liber naturae magnus et parvus. (...) 3. Literae hieroglyphicae insculptae huic libro, puta Dei bonitas, sapientia, potentia. C. Schola gratiae. Hic etiam tria sunt expendenda. I. Liber; videl. Scriptura V. et N. T. 2. Doctor; qui est Deus. 3. Literae inscriptae libro: videl. Deus et opera ejus." Alsted, Encyclopaedia, op. cit. p. 478. On the 'cyclognomonica oratoria' and its posthumus edition in Transylvania see my forthcoming paper ‘Alsted kombinatorikus szónoklattanának poszthumusz kiadása Piscator Rudimenta Oratoriae c. tankönyvében’ [The Posthumus Edition of Alsted's Combinatorial Oratory in Piscator's Rudimenta Oratoriae], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények, 2000/1-2.

20 Ormsby-Lennon, Hugh, Rosicrucian Linguistics: Twilight of a Renaissance Tradition, Hermeticism and the Renaissance, eds. Ingrid Merkel and Allen Debus, Washington–London–Toronto, 1988. pp. 311-344.

21 Quotation from Thomas Vaughan's translation (1652) edited by Frances Yates cf. The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, London, 1972. p. 255. In the original Latin version: "...Magnas illas Dei litteras, quas Mundi machinae inscripsit..." (Confessio Fraternitatis, Cap. VI. fol. 4v) The consulted copy is the first edition in Wolfenbüttel: HAB 240. 32. 2. Quodl.

22 Yates, op. cit. p. 257. "Eismodi characteres, atq; adeo Alphabetum suum sicut Deus sparsim SS. Bibliis inseruit, ita in admirando Creationis opere Caelis, Terrae, Animalibus manifeste impressit (...) A quibus literis nos omnino nostras Magicas mutuo sumsimus, et linguam nobis exinde novam collegimus; qua simul rerum natura exprimatur..." Confessio, op. cit. fol. 5v

23 Yates, ibid. "Illud itaq; omittendum nobis minime est, ut dum aquiliniae aliqout pennae nostris rebus moram tantillam ferunt, ad sacrorum Bibliorum unam, primam assiduam, et perpetuam Lectionem adhortemur; quae si cui admodum placebunt, is multum se ad Fraternitatem nostram impetrandam profecisse sciat. Sicut ea Legum nostrarum summa: nequa littera esset in tanto Mundi miraculo, quae memoriae non mandaretur: ita proximi ii, et maxime similes nobis, qui una Biblia suae vitae Regulam, suorum studiorum summam, Mundiq; universi compendium faciunt..." Ibid.

24 Hotson, Howard, 'Johann Heinrich Alsted's Relations with Silezia, Bohemia and Moravia: Patronage, Piety and Pansophia', Acta Comeniana 12 (1997), pp. 29-30.

25 One can find Molnár's one and only direct reference to Lull which has hitherto been discovered in his personal commonplace-book. However, these sentences do not prove that Molnár was competent in the art of Ramon Llull. Under the section entitled Academiarum universi orbis christiani... Molnár noted the followings: “Malorca vel Majoraca, quam et Lullianam vocant sic nominata quod Reimundi Lulli ars de inveniendo medio termino in Dialectica pro primo ibi tradatur in insula Majoraca.” Op. cit. fol. 482r

One of the best examples of Molnár's interest in education is the Syllecta scholastica...Heidelbergae (Frankfurt, 1621) edited by himself. Consulted copy in Wolfenbüttel: HAB 46. 1. Rhet. (3). See also his conception on the education of women, Szenci Molnár Albert válogatott..., op. cit. pp. 334-338. and Lajos Dézsi, Szenczi Molnár Albert (1574–1633), Budapest, 1897. pp. 223-224. (Magyar Történeti Életrajzok). Cf. also Evans' article Alsted és Erdély, op. cit. p. 1909.

26 Alsted, J. H., Systema mnemonicum duplex ... Artium liberarium. Ac facultatum omnium systema mnemonicum. De modo discendi..., Frankfurt, 1610. p. 8. Consulted copy in Wolfenbüttel: HAB Q98 Helmst. 8o.

27 For instance on Jewish technical and theological sources of the art of Ramon Llull see Idel, Moshe, 'Ramon Lull and Ecstatic Kabbalah', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 51 (1988). pp. 170-174.

28 Alsted, Encyclopaedia, op. cit. p. 2273.

29 Alsted, Triumphus, op. cit. p. 600.

30 On the conversio Judaeorum in Alsted's Diatribe see the excerpts of the reprint and of its English version translated by William Burton (The Beloved City...) in J. H. Alsted, Herborns calvinistische Theologie und Wissenschaft im Spiegel der englischen Kulturreform des frühen 17. Jahrhunderts. Studien zu englisch-deutschen Geistesbeziehungen der frühen Neuzeit von Beate Griesing, Jürgen Klein und Johannes Kramer, Hrsg. von. J. Klein und J. Kramer, Frankfurt-Bern-New York-Paris, 1988. pp. 36–39. (Aspekte der englischen Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte – Aspects of English Intellectual, Cultural, and Literary History 16.), see also Alsted and Leibniz On God, The Magistrate and the Millenium, Texts edited with introduction and commentary by Maria Rosa Antognazza and Howard Hotson, Wiesbaden, 1999. pp. 220–222. (Wolfenbütteler Arbeiten zur Barockforschung 34)

31 Katz, David S., 'Millenarianism, the Jews, and Biblical Criticism in Seventeenth-Century England', Chiliasmus in Deutschland und England im 17. Jahrhundert. Pietismus und Neuzeit 14 (1988) pp.167-168.

32 "David Valerius, Vir in omni scientiarum genere exercitatissimus, qui cursum studiorum in Academia Salmantica, toto Orbe celeberrima absolvens, praecipuas Hispaniae, Galliae, Italiaeque Academias perlustrans, divina tandem Providentia Albam Juliam, Transylv. delatus, per crebram conversationem Excelentiss. Virorum: D. Joh. Henrici Alstedi, D. Joh. Henrici Bisterfeldii, et D. M. Ludovici Piscatoris, Illustr. Gymnasii Albensis Professorum, ex Judaismo conversus, ad Professionem Theologiae, et Philosophicam, in ill. Schol. Patakina obeundam, extraordinario stipendio ab illustr. Principe Rakotzio I locatus fuerat." Lampe, Adolphus [actually the Hungarian Debreceni Ember Pál], Historia ecclesiae reformatae in Hungaria et Transylvania, Utrecht, 1728. p. 596.

33 In my opinion the reason why Alsted published engravings of 'Templum Salomonis' and 'Hierosolyma Sancta' in his Encyclopaedia in 1630 – there are solely three engravings in this vast book including its title-engraving! – was a conclusion of Millenarianism as well. Cf. Szentpéteri, Márton, '"A legbölcsebb építész" Salamon Temploma és a Szent Jeruzsálem Johann Heinrich Alsted enciklopédiájában' [The Wisest Architect...], Új Magyar Építőművészet, 1999/4. pp. 62-63. See also Offenberg, A. K., 'Jacob Jehuda Leon (1602–1675) and his Model of the Temple', Jewish-Christian Relations in the Seventeenth Century. Studies and Documents, eds. J. Van der Berg and Ernestine G. E. Van der Wall, Boston–Dortrecht–London, 1988. pp. 95-115. (International Archives of the History of Ideas 119)

34 Klein et alii, op. cit. p. 36. 37. Antognazza–Hotson, op. cit. p. 220.

35 Mout, M.E.H.N., 'Calvinoturcismus und Chiliasmus im 17. Jahrhundert', Pietismus und Neuzeit, op. cit. pp. 72-73. See also Evans, Robert J. W., 'Calvinism in East Central Europe: Hungary and Her Neighbours', International Calvinism 1541–1715, ed. Menna Prestwich, Oxford, 1985. p. 179. Szekfű, Gyula, Bethlen Gábor, Budapest, 1983. p. 100.

36 Since he did not know Molnár's letter to Alsted, Lajos Dézsi wrongly stated that Alsted suggested that Molnár should learn Turkish. Cf. his monography Szenczi Molnár Albert (1574–1633), Budapest, 1897. p. 182. (Magyar Történeti Életrajzok)

37 On 'grammatica generalis' and 'poëtica generalis' by Alsted see Encyclopaedia, op. cit. pp. 265-279. and pp. 509-528. In his letter Alsted promised Molnár to send his next work Compendium Grammaticae Latinae Mauritio–Philippo–Rameae... (Herborn, 1613): "Iam conscribo Grammaticam Latinam (...) quam primo quoque tempore tuae Excellentiae transmittam, si vivam et ita vivam." He also showed interest in Molnár's forthcoming Hungarian grammar Nova Grammatica Ungarica (Hanau, 1610): "Velim scire, nun tua Humanitas iam ad umbilicum perduxerit Grammaticam Hungaricam itemque quo loco iam sint res et tuae et patriae tuae."

38 Szentpéteri, A grammatika..., op. cit. pp. 455-456.

39 Padley, Georg Arthur, 'The beginnings of the universalist approach', Grammatical Theory in Western Europe 1500–1700. Trends in Vernacular Grammar I, Cambridge University Press, 1985. pp. 217-269. See also Strasser, Gerhard F., 'Closed and open languages: Samuel Hartlib's Involvement with Cryptology and Universal Languages', Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation. Studies in Intellectual Communication, eds. Mark Greengrass, Michael Leslie and Timothy Raylor, Cambridge, 1994. pp. 151-161. and Salmon, Vivian, 'The universal language problem', Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft, 7. 2. (Sprachphilosophie), New York–Berlin, 1995. p. 920.

40 On relations between Millenarianism and the universal language see Katz, op. cit. p. 167.

41 See for instance: "Albert Molnár ... darunter die zu Herborn, wohin er 1607 als begeisterter Schüler Johann Heinrich Alsteds wieder zurückkehrte." Kunstmann, Heinrich, Die Nürnberger Universität Altdorf und Böhmen. Beiträ ge zur Erforschung der Ostbeziehungen deutscher Universitäten, Köln–Graz, 1963. p. 91. According to the biographical data, Alsted was in his 'peregrinatio academica' during 1607, and the presumably earliest year of the beginning of his Lehrtätigkeit is 1608. See Ingo Schultz's detailed research on the topic in his doctoral dissertation: Studien zur Musikanschauung und Musiklehre Johann Heinrich Alsteds (1588–1638), Marburg (Lahn), 1967. pp. 29-31.