Gregorian Archives Texts Editing (GATE)
"Par archive, j’entends d’abord la masse des choses dites dans une culture, conservées, valorisées, réutilisées, répétées et transformées. Bref toute cette masse verbale qui a été fabriquée par les hommes, investie dans leurs techniques et leurs institutions, et qui est tissée avec leur existence et leur histoire. Cette masse de choses dites, je l’envisage non pas du côté de la langue, du système linguistique qu’elles mettent en œuvre, mais du côté des opérations qui lui donnent naissance. […] C’est, en un mot, […] l’analyse des conditions historiques qui rendent compte de ce qu’on dit ou de ce qu’on rejette, ou de ce qu’on transforme dans la masse des choses dites."−Michel Foucault, Dits et écrits, Tome I
The Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University preserves about 6, 000 manusctipts, mostly works written by the Roman College Jesuits through four centuries, from its foundation in 1551 until today. A large amount of these codices are not still published, since they are texts prepared by professors for the lessons, correspondence, notes and sermons.
To value this heritage it has been decided to start an open and collaborative project where users from all over the world can give their contribution.
If you would like to cooperate to this project, please send a mail in order to request an account and start your collaboration.
Aims and goals
The main goal of this platform is to take advantage of the possibilities offered by a simple and ready to use software like MediaWiki, in order to publish not edited sources owned by the Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University. Sources like those ones that we are going to publish here, usually require years of scholarly work and consistent funding, especially for digitization and to develop and design web platforms. Sometimes these preliminary requirements discourage the start of many projects, especially within small institutions. Furthermore, this platform permit a collaborative work open to the scientific community.
This project aims to transcribe all the 2,674 letters collected by the jesuits François Xavier Le Bachelet (1855-1925) and Sebastian Peter Cornelis Tromp (1889-1975). These letters compose the so called Epistolae Bellarmini cardinalis collection, nine volumes of typescript epistolae transcription, almost ready to be published but, due to unknown reasons, not yet published until today.
The observation on modernity: a case study
Umberto Eco famously defined the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) as ‘the most contemporary among our ancestors, and the most outdated among our contemporaries’. We propose to focus on Kircher Correspondence and on his works. Athanasius Kircher is as a case study to explore the complexities and paradoxes of a ‘long’ modernity, starting from the seventeenth century up to our own world. In fact, the fundamental aim of this project is to articulate more clearly what is often hidden in every historical research: what matters to us is not in the past, but in the present. From a methodological point of view, we want this project to be not simply inter-disciplinary, but indeed trans-disciplinary. We start from Kircher’s crucial role in the early modern Republic of Letters and we insert Kircher’s case within a larger context involving the question of the nature of knowledge as both a kind of savoir faire and a kind of savoir vivre. From this perspective, we propose to reconsider Kircher’s vast bibliographical production and the methods of its dissemination, highlighting how Kircher grappled with, and contributed to develop, the concept of novitas. Our project is also concerned with the material aspect of culture, and more specifically with the early modern changes in the modes and methods of communicating and disseminating knowledge. The way in which Kircher managed, re-produced, and created knowledge is a lens through which we can understand several fundamental aspects of both the early modern and the modern world, which have been the object of a recent surge of scholarly interest, such as the exponential growth of information and consequently the development of new and more effective techniques to digest, store, and select this new amount of knowledge.
The Archives preserve 14 volumes of letters sent by and to Athanasius Kircher and five manuscripts, mostly unpublished. Years ago, Stanford University digitized all the letters and made them accessible via LunaImaging software, enriching them with detailed metadata. To complete this work, here we have started to transcribe the letters.
In addition we will proceed to transcribe a selection of Kircher's published works.
Angelo Secchi (1818-1878) was a jesuit astronomer and scientist, one of the fathers of the modern Astrophysics. The Archives preserve a large amount of his works, both handwritten and printed - with a lot of manuscript addition - and his extensive correspondence with the most important scientists of his time. With about 8,000 letters and more than 1,500 people involved, this correspondence is a treasure for the History of Science studies.