This essay was originally published in the book Il lessico della politica di Johannes Althusius, edited by F. Ingravalle and C. Malandrino (Firenze, Leo S. Olschki, 2005, pdf available). The present German version is edited by the same C. Malandrino and by D. Wieduckel. The essay focuses the meanings and the significance of the words methodus and methodice in the works of Johannes Althusius. The analysis of their presence in the Althusius’s books is preceded by a survey of their use from the ancient time to the 16th century, when the question of renewing the different sciences and their teaching by the use of a proper method became a main matter of discussion and excited every scholarly milieu. Cesare Vasoli and Guido Oldrini have pointed out the role played by Philipp Melanchton and Johannes Sturm in spreading the consciousness of the necessity to apply the methodus, conceived as ratio docendi, to all fields of knowledge, as well as the influence exerted by Sturm on his pupil Petrus Ramus, whose lectures and writings on method, in their turn, influenced fruitfully the works of Jean Bodin and Johannes Althusius. Althusius assimilated the Ramus’s doctrine in Basel, where it had been propagated some years before by the law professor Johannes Freigius, and where it was still praised and taught by Theodor Zwinger and by Johannes Blistenius. Althusius’s first work, Juris romani libri duo, issued in Basel in 1586, explicitly aimed to apply the methodus ramea to the treatment of the roman law. The German jurist did not develop any theoretic discussion about method. Its definition was no more a question at the time. He simply engaged himself in applying the ramistic method to the teaching fields which interested him as well as scholar, as university professor and as political thinker: the roman law, the general science of law, ethics and politics. His intention of proceeding “methodically” was declared in the titles of his books and in their prefaces: their author aimed to give a systematic rational order to the complex and chaotic matters he was going to treat; the observance of the “three rules” of the ramistic method should make his pupils and his readers able to proceed from the most general knowledge to every particular case and to ascribe every subject to its proper field. The Althusius’s care to apply rightly the ramistic method to the political matter in order to make politics a true science, easy to be understood and learned, was openly stated in the preface of the first edition of the Politica methodice digesta. To this purpose –he wrote – it was necessary to distinguish the subjects pertaining to politics and to its aim (i.e. to the institution and preservation of the human society) from those pertaining to other human sciences, as law, ethics, theology and philosophy. Though the second edition of the work, in 1610, was clearly influenced by the new experience of the author as Syndikus of Emden and by his engagement in the religious and political ideology of this town, he did not cease to recall the rules of the ramistic method, and he was worry to demonstrate that the new subjects and exempla introduced in his book corresponded to their observance. In the edition of 1614, whose preface reproduced the preface of 1610, the lex methodi was recalled in the final pages, where Althusius justified the lack in his book of a chapter dedicated to the causes of destruction of the consociatio and refused other criticisms to his work. The care to observe the ramistic method’s rules did not leave Althusius along all his life; they have been indeed, according to his words, the “pole star” which oriented his way of passionate scholar, teacher and politician.

Methodus (Methodice)

DEL GROSSO, ANNA MARIA
2010

Abstract

This essay was originally published in the book Il lessico della politica di Johannes Althusius, edited by F. Ingravalle and C. Malandrino (Firenze, Leo S. Olschki, 2005, pdf available). The present German version is edited by the same C. Malandrino and by D. Wieduckel. The essay focuses the meanings and the significance of the words methodus and methodice in the works of Johannes Althusius. The analysis of their presence in the Althusius’s books is preceded by a survey of their use from the ancient time to the 16th century, when the question of renewing the different sciences and their teaching by the use of a proper method became a main matter of discussion and excited every scholarly milieu. Cesare Vasoli and Guido Oldrini have pointed out the role played by Philipp Melanchton and Johannes Sturm in spreading the consciousness of the necessity to apply the methodus, conceived as ratio docendi, to all fields of knowledge, as well as the influence exerted by Sturm on his pupil Petrus Ramus, whose lectures and writings on method, in their turn, influenced fruitfully the works of Jean Bodin and Johannes Althusius. Althusius assimilated the Ramus’s doctrine in Basel, where it had been propagated some years before by the law professor Johannes Freigius, and where it was still praised and taught by Theodor Zwinger and by Johannes Blistenius. Althusius’s first work, Juris romani libri duo, issued in Basel in 1586, explicitly aimed to apply the methodus ramea to the treatment of the roman law. The German jurist did not develop any theoretic discussion about method. Its definition was no more a question at the time. He simply engaged himself in applying the ramistic method to the teaching fields which interested him as well as scholar, as university professor and as political thinker: the roman law, the general science of law, ethics and politics. His intention of proceeding “methodically” was declared in the titles of his books and in their prefaces: their author aimed to give a systematic rational order to the complex and chaotic matters he was going to treat; the observance of the “three rules” of the ramistic method should make his pupils and his readers able to proceed from the most general knowledge to every particular case and to ascribe every subject to its proper field. The Althusius’s care to apply rightly the ramistic method to the political matter in order to make politics a true science, easy to be understood and learned, was openly stated in the preface of the first edition of the Politica methodice digesta. To this purpose –he wrote – it was necessary to distinguish the subjects pertaining to politics and to its aim (i.e. to the institution and preservation of the human society) from those pertaining to other human sciences, as law, ethics, theology and philosophy. Though the second edition of the work, in 1610, was clearly influenced by the new experience of the author as Syndikus of Emden and by his engagement in the religious and political ideology of this town, he did not cease to recall the rules of the ramistic method, and he was worry to demonstrate that the new subjects and exempla introduced in his book corresponded to their observance. In the edition of 1614, whose preface reproduced the preface of 1610, the lex methodi was recalled in the final pages, where Althusius justified the lack in his book of a chapter dedicated to the causes of destruction of the consociatio and refused other criticisms to his work. The care to observe the ramistic method’s rules did not leave Althusius along all his life; they have been indeed, according to his words, the “pole star” which oriented his way of passionate scholar, teacher and politician.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/235730
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