Ways of Knowing in Early Modern Germany: Johannes Praetorius as a Witness to His Time
Gerhild Williams's Ways of Knowing in Early Modern Germany: Johannes Praetorius as a Witness to His Time, reviews key discourses in eight of Praetorius's works. She introduces the modern reader to the kinds of subjects, the intellectual and spiritual approaches to them, and the genres that this educated and productive German scholar and polymath presented to his audience in the seventeenth century. By relating these individual works to a number of contemporaneous writings, Williams shows how Praetorius constructed a panorama in print in which wonders, the occult, the emerging scientific way of thinking, family and social mores are recurrent themes. Included in Praetorius's portrait of the mid-seventeenth-century are discussions of Paracelsus's scientific theories and practice; early modern German theories on witchcraft and demonology and their applications in the seventeenth century. Furthermore, we read about the early modern beginnings of ethnography, anthropology, and physical geography; gender theory, early modern and contemporary notions of intellectual property, and competing and sometimes conflicting early modern scientific and theological explanations of natural anomalies
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