« Alsace-Lorraine Alsted, Johann Heinrich Altar »

Alsted, Johann Heinrich

ALSTED, ɑ̄l´sted, JOHANN HEINRICH: Reformed theologian; b. at Ballersbach, near Herborn (43 m. n. of Wiesbaden), Nassau, 1588; d. at Weissenburg (Karlsburg, 240 m. e.s.e. of Budapest), Siebenbürgen, Hungary, Nov. 8, 1638. He studied at Herborn and became professor there in the philosophical faculty in 1610, and in the theological faculty in 1619. In 1629 he went to the newly founded University of Weissenburg. He represented the Church of Nassau at the Synod of Dort (1618-19). He was one of the famous teachers of his time, and compiled a series of compends of pretty nearly every branch of knowledge, which are interesting as showing the scholarly and literary methods and achievements of the seventeenth century. The most remarkable were Cursus philosophici encyclopædia (Herborn, 1620) and Encyclopædia septem tomis distincta (ib. 1630). The first of these comprises two volumes; one a quarto of 3,072 pages, containing: i., quatuor præcognita philosophica: archelogia, hexilogia, technologia, didactica; ii., undecim scientiæ philosophicæ theoreticæ: metaphysica, pneumatica, physica, arithmetica, geometria, cosmographia, uranoscophia, geographia, optica, musica, architectonica; iii., quinque prudentiæ philosophicæ practicæ: ethica, œconomica, politica, scholastica, historica; vol. ii. gives the septem artes liberales. The second work, in two folios, includes as its first, third, and fourth divisions the three given above, and adds: ii., philologia, i.e., lexica, grammatica, rhetorica, logica, oratoria, poetica; v., tres facultates principes: theologia, jurisprudentia, medicina; vi., artes mechanicæ; vii., a miscellaneous section, præcipuæ farragines disciplinarum: mnemonica, historica, chronologia, architectonica, critica, magia, alchymia, magnetographia, etc., including even tabacologia, or the doctrina de natura, usu et abusu tabaci. Theology is divided into seven branches: naturalis, catechetica, didactica, polemica, casuum, prophetica (homiletics), and moralis. He also wrote a Diatribe de mille annis (Frankfort, 1627), in which he fixes the beginning of the millennium at the year 1694.

(E. F. Karl Müller).

Bibliography: F. W. E. Roth, in Monatshefte der Comenius-Gesellschaft, 1895, pp. 29 sqq·; H. F. Criegern, J. A. Comenius aIs Theolog, pp. 365 sqq., Leipsic, 1881.

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