Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/608

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navigate untravelled seas. Another of the German pioneers was Roelof Huysmann, known in literary history as Rudolf Agricola (1443- 85). Going to Ferrara in 1476, he attended the Greek lectures of Theodorus Gaza. Through the good offices of Johann von Dalberg, the scholarly Bishop of Worms, he was appointed to a professorship at Heidelberg. There, as also at Worms, he lectured on the Greek and Roman literature. He was an opponent of the scholastic philosophy as it existed in his day, and his best-known work, De Inventions Dialectica, was a plea for its reform. But his special claim to remembrance is that he was the first who systematically sought to make classical study an effective force in German education. He, and such as he, when they returned to Germany from their studies in Italy, found themselves in an atmosphere wholly different from that which surrounded the early Italian humanists. Erasmus has described the intellectual torpor which prevailed in Germany during his own boyhood and youth. The teaching of Latin was dull and meagre; Greek was scarcely taught at all. The masters were content with a few old hand-books, and wedded to outworn methods. Scholastic theologians and illiterate monks were equally hostile to the new humanism. It had, however, some powerful protectors, including the Roman King Maximilian; Joachim, the Elector of Brandenburg; Albert, Archbishop of Mainz; and, not least, Frederick, Elector of Saxony. Of the seventeen Universities, some, such as Vienna, Heidelberg, and Erfurt, admitted the New Learning, though in some others, such as Cologne, it was opposed. There were also groups of learned students at several centres, such as Basel, Strassburg, Augsburg, and Nürnberg; and there were some rising societies or academies, devoted to humane letters. But there was, as yet, no general or widely-diffused interest in the New Learning; while, on the other hand, there were powerful influences directly and strongly opposed to it. The first event which roused the public mind to a more active sympathy is connected with an illustrious name.

Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522) studied Greek at Paris, and also at Basel. He afterwards went to Italy. At Rome, in 1482, he heard Argyropoulos lecture on Thucydides, and was noticed by him as a student of great promise. He published some Latin versions from Greek authors, and some elementary Greek manuals which were used in German schools. But after 1492 his chief interest was in Hebrew,—mainly as the key of the Old Testament, but also on account of the Cabbala, that medieval system of Jewish theosophy which he regarded as helpful towards reconciling ancient philosophy with Christian doctrine. The same notion had been cherished by Pico della Mirandola (1463-94), who, like Reuchlin, had approached the Cabbala through Neoplatonism. Reuchlin's views on the subject were set forth in his treatises De Verbo Miriflco (1494) and De Arte Cabalistica (1517). Thus alike on theological and on philosophical grounds Reuchlin was