Origin of the work:
1634 – 1635 Leszno
1951 Prague, G. H. Turnbull, J. A. Komenského Dva spisy vševědné – Two Pansophical Works by John Amos Comenius
1974 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 14
This is the first surviving, extensive fragment of Comenius’ unfinished introduction to universal wisdom, the Praecognita pansophica (the Premises of Pansophy), containing a setting forth of the need for, opportunities for and ease of pansophy. It was discovered in the form of a copy of the original manuscript among the effects of Samuel Hartlib. This fragment, together with the second surviving fragment, the Pansophiae Christianae liber III (The Third Book of Christian Pansophy) comprises the whole of the Praecognita.
The text has three main sections: an introduction, a a discourse on the purpose of Man, and a consideration of the means by which Man might achieve his purpose.
In the introduction, Comenius first defines human pansophy as the summary of knowledge about everything that affects Man. No one should be divested of this common world of knowledge – wisdom. Pansophy is necessary, possible and easy.
In the second part Comenius relates that the purpose of Man must be sought beyond this time and place. The greatest good; it is the most perfect perfection, the most peaceful peace and the certain certainty. The highest good is its eternal source: God. This earthly life is but preparation for eternal life, to which three means lead: cultivated knowledge (wisdom), noble virtue and piety.
In the third part three routes are shown whereby the purpose of Man may be achieved: the visible world, Holy Scripture and that which is most sublime in Man – his soul.
The fragment finishes in the middle of a sentence in paragraph 86. Compare also with the second fragment (see the entry for the Pansophia Christiana).
For further study, see also:
G. H. Turnbull, J. A. Komenského Dva spisy vševědné – Two Pansophical Works by John Amos Comenius. Prague 1951, pp143-146
J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 14. Prague 1974, pp89-93
Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp248-249