411. Pen Pals: Later French Humanism

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Joseph Scaliger, Isaac Casaubon, and Guillaume du Vair grapple with history and the events of their own day.



Further Reading

G. Abel, Stoizismus und Frühe Neuzeit: zur Entstehungsgeschichte modernen Denkens im Felde von Ethik und Politik (Berlin: 1977), ch.5.

A. Grafton, “Joseph Scaliger and Historical Chronology: The Rise and Fall of a Discipline,” History and Theory 14 (1975), 156-85.

• A. Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: a Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, 2 vols (Oxford: 1983, 1993).

• A. Grafton and J. Weinberg, I Have Always Loved the Holy Tongue: Isaac Casaubon, the Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship (Cambridge MA: 2011).

• B. Petey-Girard (ed.), Guillaume du Vair: parlementaire et écrivain (1556-1621) (Geneva: 2005).

• R. Radouant, Guillaume Du Vair (Paris: 1970).

P. Rocques, “La Philosophie morale de Stoiques de Guillaume du Vair,” Archives de Philosophie 20 (1957), 226-39 and 379-91.

D. van Miert, “Language and Communication in the Republic of Letters: the Uses of Latin and French in the Correspondence of Joseph Scaliger,” Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 72 (2019), 7-34.


Acarya dasa on 18 January 2023


Great episode. I'm also loving the Africana series.

I don't have a question or even really a comment. Just something I wanted to relate. Ages ago, in the late '80s or early '90s I attended a public lecture by Umberto Eco on the ideas of Casaubon and others about  Hebrew being the original or primeval language. It was at Boston University. You only mentioned it in passing in this episode, and I don't know how much time and energy Casaubon himself devoted to it. It was fascinating and also hilarious presentation. I remember he showed one slide of a diagram purporting to show the position of the mouth, tongue, palate, teeth, etc. when forming the difference letter sounds and how the shape of the parts of the mouth (supposedly) mimic the shape of the hebrew letters. I think it is a topic that interested Eco, and it comes up at least a couple of times in his writings, and one of the main characters in his great novel "Foucault's Pendulum" is name Casaubon.

Thanks again for a great episode and a great series. Keep up the good work.


Acarya dasa


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