P. Matthaus Rader S. J. Volume I: 1595-1612

By Bireley, Robert | The Catholic Historical Review, April 1997 | Go to article overview

P. Matthaus Rader S. J. Volume I: 1595-1612


Bireley, Robert, The Catholic Historical Review


P. Matthaus Rader S.J. Volume 1:1595-1612. Bearbeitet von Helmut Zah und Silvia Strodel; eingeleitet und herausgegeben von Alois Schmid. [Bayerische Gelehrten Korrespondenz.] (Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.1995. Pp. lxix, 659.)

This volume is a masterpiece of scholarship. It inaugurates auspiciously the publication by the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften of a projected multi-volume series of the correspondence of early modern Bavarian scholars and savants, many of whom were Jesuits. The project was initiated by Richard van Dulmen, who in the mid-seventies first urged the publication of the correspondence of the Munich Jesuits during the long reign of Duke and then Elector Maximilian I (1598-1651), and it must be seen as part of the long-range effort to redress the imbalance between the study and appreciation of North German Protestant culture and South German Catholic culture which has borne fruit in recent years.

The first volumes of this series are devoted to the Jesuit Matthaus Rader, whom the editors consider to be"the most important representative of Late Humanism in Upper Germany (p. xxix). Born in 1556 in Innichen in South Tyrol, Rader entered the Jesuits in 1581. He taught humanities and rhetoric at the Jesuit college in Augsburg from 1591 to 1612, when at the request of Duke Maximilian he was transferred to the college in Munich, where he died in 1634. A prolific author as well as a teacher, Rader produced works of history and historiography, edited classical and Byzantine texts, and contributed several plays to the growing body of Jesuit drama. Political obstacles prevented the publication of the three-volume court history of Bavaria, for the writing of which he was originally summoned to Munich. His most famous work was his Bavaria pia et sancta (4 vols., Munich, 1615-1627), perhaps "the most characteristic publication of the Bavarian Baroque" (p. xxvi), which in turn stimulated similar volumes telling the story of the saints and blessed of other territories. Among his other earlier publications were the Acta of the eighth ecumenical council of Constantinople as well as the Epigrams of Martial and works of Curtius Rufus.

Like many Jesuits, Rader participated in the epistolary culture of Late Humanism with an extensive, international correspondence, mostly with fellow Jesuits but with many others too.

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