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January 26, 2007

The Rise of Athanasius Kircher


Who dat?

He was a seventeenth-century (that's the 1600s, if you get as confused as I still do trying to convert the word into the number) German Jesuit priest who "published dozens of volumes on matters both large — astronomy, Egyptology, cryptography, botany, geology, geography, magnetism, and linguistics — and small, such as the real size of Noah's Ark," wrote John Seabrook in the current (January 29, 2007) issue of the New Yorker.

[Not that] long story short: by the end of the seventeenth century (1699, if you're still befuddled) many of Kirchner's assumptions had been proven wrong and his reputation sank to that of a charlatan.

That was then, but this is now: in the late 1970s (twentieth-century) a Kircher resurgence began in academic circles and it's now gathered serious momentum.

Witness the very first meeting ever of the Athanasius Kircher Society, held in the CUNY Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue in New York City last week on January 16, 2007.

Here's a link the society's website, your gateway to Kircher's world.

Here's a link to Hugh Merwin's January 25, 2007 gothamist.com story about the inaugural meeting.

January 26, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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