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John Amos Comenius

Birthdate: 28. March 1592
Date of death: 15. November 1670
Other names: Comenius, Johannes Amos Comenius

John Amos Comenius was a Czech philosopher, pedagogue and theologian from the Margraviate of Moravia and is considered the father of modern education. He served as the last bishop of Unity of the Brethren and became a religious refugee and one of the earliest champions of universal education, a concept eventually set forth in his book Didactica Magna. As an educator and theologian, he led schools and advised governments across Protestant Europe through the middle of the seventeenth century.

Comenius was the innovator who first introduced pictorial textbooks, written in native language instead of Latin, applied effective teaching based on the natural gradual growth from simple to more comprehensive concepts, supported lifelong learning and development of logical thinking by moving from dull memorization, presented and supported the idea of equal opportunity for impoverished children, opened doors to education for women, and made instruction universal and practical. Besides his native Bohemian Crown, he lived and worked in other regions of the Holy Roman Empire, and other countries: Sweden, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Transylvania, England, the Netherlands and Hungary.

„Aristotle compared the mind of man to a blank tablet on which nothing was written, but on which all things could be engraved. … There is, however, this difference, that on the tablet the writing is limited by space, while in the case of the mind, you may continually go on writing and engraving without finding any boundary, because, as has already been shown, the mind is without limit.“

—  John Amos Comenius

The Great Didactic (Didactica Magna) (Amsterdam, 1657) [written 1627–38], as translated by M. W. Keatinge (1896).
Cf. Aristotle, De anima, III, 4, 430a: "δυνάμει δ' οὕτως ὥσπερ ἐν γραμματείῳ ᾧ μηθὲν ἐνυπάρχει ἐντελεχείᾳ γεγραμμένον· ὅπερ συμβαίνει ἐπὶ τοῦ νοῦ."
Original: (la) Aristoteles hominis animum comparavit tabulae rasae, cui nihil inscriptum sit, inscribi tamen omnia possint. … Hoc interest, quod in tabula lineas ducere non licet, nisi quousque margo permittat: in mente usque et usque scribendo, et sculpendo, terminum nusquam invenies quia (ut ante monitum) interminabilis est.

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