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János Apáczai Csere

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János Apáczai Csere

The tomb of Apáczai in Cluj-Napoca's Hajongard cemetery

János Apáczai Csere (June 10, 1625 – December 31, 1659) was a Transylvanian Hungarian polyglot and mathematician, famous for his work The Hungarian Encyclopedia, the first textbook to be written in Hungarian.[1] The Encyclopædia Britannica calls him "the leading Protestant scholar and writer" of 17th-century Hungary.[2]

Life

He was born in [1][3] At this time, Bisterfeld was still head of the school in Gyulafehérvár, but on his death in 1655 Apáczai fell out of favor and lost his position;[3] in 1656 he was sent instead to what is now Cluj-Napoca to become head of the Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) School there.[1] He died in 1659 at the age of 34.[1]

The Hungarian Encyclopedia

Apáczai wrote his encyclopedia while he was in Utrecht,[3] and it was in Utrecht that it was published, in 1655 (with the year of 1653 printed on the frontispiece), after he had returned to Transylvania.[1] The first part of the encyclopedia consisted of a translation of the philosophy of Descartes, and the second and third covered logic following the earlier treatments of Petrus Ramus and his student Amesius. The fourth part concerned arithmetic, and the fifth part geometry, again based on the work of Ramus. The sixth part covered astronomy, and was notable for including controversial heliocentric theories of cosmology. The remaining parts of the encyclopedia concerned natural history, technology, history, social institutions, and theology. Apáczai's work fell into disfavor and neglect in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, after the Hungarian Counter-Reformation led to a return of Catholicism in that country. However, in 1803, a second edition was published, and it was republished again as recently as 1977 by Kriterion. Due to this work, Apáczai is now considered a national cultural hero.[1]

Legacy

The Apáczai Csere János High School in Budapest, one of the most reputed high schools in Hungary,[4] is named after Apáczai, as are the Apáczai Csere János High School in Cluj,[5] the Apáczai Csere János Teacher-Training College in Győr, and Apáczai Csere János utca (a street in Budapest). In 1998, the Hungarian government established the Apáczai Public Foundation for the education of Hungarians living in other countries.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i .
  2. ^ János Apáczai Csere, Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 2009-03-18.
  3. ^ a b c d e f .
  4. ^ School Profile on the web site of the Apaczai Csere János School (in English). Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  5. ^ Who was Apáczai Csere János, Szilágyi Júlia, Apáczai Csere János High School, Cluj. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
  6. ^ Apáczai Public Foundation web site (in Hungarian). Established by Government Resolution 1162/1998. (XII. 17).

Additional reading

  • . A book-length study of the writings of Apáczai, in Hungarian.
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