Origin of the work:
1657 Amsterdam, Opera didactica omnia IV
1903 Prague, in: J. A. Komenského Vrchol moudrosti vychovatelské, Czech translation by J. V. Novák
1956 Prague, in: Scholarum reformator pansophicus. Pansofický vychovatel (Latin and Czech; Czech translation by J. Patočka)
1957 Prague, Opera didactica omnia IV (phototype edition)
A treatise on the question of factual education, its content and the means by which this should be conveyed. Comenius describes how from the time of his first pansophic inklings he was distracted by his need to devote himself to linguistic didactics. While Comenius recognises that languages are a great gift to mankind, he nevertheless feels that it is more important that a person make the best choices for his future life, i.e. chooses the good, which consists of the understanding of that which man should know, do and use. It is from a lack of knowledge of these things that a person falls into confusion and error, from which come great damage to mankind. To help in this, Comenius wishes to return paradise to young people, through this very book.
The first school in the world was that of Paradise, which God opened for Adam. This school must be imitated. It had no rules and no books, but the first person learned to directly recognise everything around him, to work with things and to use them, and thus was led to understanding, practice and use. Because since Adam’s time everything is different and more complex, it will be necessary for students to be provided with books on 1. the world, 2. thought and 3. Holy Scripture. Each of these books will require the attendant use of the appropriate methods. Such a school should not just be wished for, but efforts should be made that it might be obtained. That which we will have to be known in the Heavenly Paradise must be learned through this medium from the earthly Paradise of the church. Moreover, one should not only wish a school similar to that of Paradise, but one which is in certain ways more perfect, in which teaching will be through:
1. descriptive observation
2. rational explanation
3. the correct undertaking of that which may be undertaken
4. explanation of the use of the whole and each part separately.
For further study, see also:
J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp530-531
J. Patočka, O pozdních pedagogických spisech Komenského, in: Pansofický vychovatel, Prague 1956, pp85-89
Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, p284