Johannes Schefferus

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The Skytteanum at Uppsala University Skytteanum.jpg
The Skytteanum at Uppsala University

Johannes Schefferus (February 2, 1621 – March 26, 1679) was one of the most important Swedish humanists of his time. He was also known as Angelus and is remembered for writing hymns. [1]

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.5 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it. The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century to refer to a system of education based on the study of classical literature. Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. It views humans as solely responsible for the promotion and development of individuals and emphasizes a concern for man in relation to the world.

Schefferus was born in Strasbourg, then part of the Holy Roman Empire. He came from the patrician family (Scheffer), studied at university there and briefly in Leiden, and was in 1648 made professor Skytteanus of eloquence and government at Uppsala University, a chair he held until his death in 1679.

Strasbourg Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2016, the city proper had 279,284 inhabitants and both the Eurométropole de Strasbourg and the Arrondissement of Strasbourg had 491,409 inhabitants. Strasbourg's metropolitan area had a population of 785,839 in 2015, making it the ninth largest metro area in France and home to 13% of the Grand Est region's inhabitants. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Patrician (post-Roman Europe) post-Roman European social class; a formally defined class of governing upper classes found in metropolitan areas (Venice, Florence, Genoa, Amalfi) and Free cities of Germany (Nuremberg, Ravensburg, Augsburg, Konstanz, Lindau, Bern, Basel, Zurich)

Patricianship, the quality of belonging to a patriciate, began in the ancient world, where cities such as Ancient Rome had a class of patrician families whose members were the only people allowed to exercise many political functions. In the rise of European towns in the 12th and 13th century, the patriciate, a limited group of families with a special constitutional position, in Henri Pirenne's view, was the motive force. In 19th century central Europe, the term had become synonymous with the upper Bourgeoisie and can't be compared with the medieval patriciate in Central Europe. In the German speaking parts of Europe as well as in the maritime republics of Italy, the patricians were as a matter of fact the ruling body of the medieval town and particularly in Italy part of the nobility.

Schefferus also spent time on philological and archaeological studies. His De orbibus tribus aureis became the first publication on Swedish archaeology. The story of the Sami people, Lapponia (1673) became popular around Europe but was not translated into Swedish (as Lappland) until 1956. His posthumous publication, Suecia literata ("The Learned Sweden") (1680) is a Swedish history of science bibliography.

<i>Lapponia</i> (book) book

Lapponia is a book written by Johannes Schefferus covering a very comprehensive history of Northern Scandinavia topology, environment and Sami living condition, dwelling-places, clothing, gender roles, hunting, child raising, shamanism and pagan religion. It was published in late 1673 and closely followed by English, German, French and Dutch translations. Adapted and abridged version were also followed where only original chapters on shamanism and religion was preserved but the others replaced with tales on magic, sorcery, drums and heathenism.

The history of science and technology (HST) is a field of history which examines how humanity's understanding of the natural world (science) and ability to manipulate it (technology) have changed over the centuries. This academic discipline also studies the cultural, economic, and political impacts of scientific innovation.

Schefferus was later in life involved in an intellectual dispute, particularly with Olof Verelius (1618–1682) over the location of the Temple at Uppsala. He argued that the temple should be found near the current location of Helga Trefaldighets kyrka (Church of the Holy Trinity) in Uppsala. It is today known that his opponents usually used forgery to meet his argumentation. This was presumably the reason that parts of the largest surviving Gothic text, Codex Argenteus, were retouched.

Temple at Uppsala

The Temple at Uppsala was a religious center in the ancient Norse religion once located at what is now Gamla Uppsala, Sweden attested in Adam of Bremen's 11th-century work Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum and in Heimskringla, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. Theories have been proposed about the implications of the descriptions of the temple and the findings of the archaeological excavations in the area, along with recent findings of extensive wooden structures and log lines that may have played a supporting role to activities at the site, including ritual sacrifice.

<i>Codex Argenteus</i> Gothic bible translation

The Codex Argenteus is a 6th-century manuscript, originally containing a 4th century translation of the Bible into the Gothic language. Traditionally ascribed to bishop Ulfilas, it is now established that the Gothic translation was performed by several scholars, possibly under Ulfilas's supervision. Of the original 336 folios, 188—including the Speyer fragment discovered in 1970—have been preserved, containing the translation of the greater part of the four gospels. A part of it is on permanent display at the Carolina Rediviva library in Uppsala, Sweden.

In 1648, Schefferus married Regina Loccenia, the daughter of a previous (1628–1642) professor skytteanus, Johannes Loccenius, and had two sons (see Scheffer).

Johannes Loccenius German historian

Johannes Loccenius was a German jurist and historian, known as an academic in Sweden.

Scheffer is a Dutch occupational surname related to German Schäfer or Schaffer. Notable people with the surname include:

  1. See the link below "German Classics"

Publications (selected)

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