František Faustin Procházka’s Approach to the History of Learning
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František Faustin Procházka (1749–1809) is usually remembered as a translator of the Bible in the history of Czech literature. However, in this contribution we aim to concentrate on the historia litteraria. We will attempt to find answers to the following issues: what style of historia litteraria was characteristic for Procházka and what he could have had exactly in mind when contemplating both education and scholarship. Going through Procházka’s Commentarius (first published in 1782) reveals the answers: the history of learning could be best comprehended, according to Procházka, as the history of the artistry of Latin writing. He studied Latin literary output throughout the centuries and marked the periods of excellence and also the ages of decline. He held firmly and he tried to prove that the advancement in the Latin literacy (literature) had always had the decisive impact on the whole progress in both scholarship and sciences, also because the precise and concise expressions in pure classical (Ciceronian) Latin were apt for clarity, and thus enabled to capture the order of the things faithfully, which created the rudiments for any true knowledge. Furthermore, the Latin education imbued the students with the ideal of Ciceronian humanity. Morals based on philanthropy were inherent to this type of schooling. Thus, the classical studies have direct impact on the well-being of the society and consequently, the welfare of the Czech nation depends on the prosperity of arts and scholarship, and ultimately, on the quality of Latin education.
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