Comenius, John Amos

Comenius, John Amos kōmēˈnēəs [key], Czech Jan Amos Komenský, 1592–1670, Moravian churchman and educator, last bishop of the Moravian Church. Comenius advocated relating education to everyday life by emphasizing contact with objects in the environment and systematizing all knowledge. He did not regard religion and science as incompatible. Teaching was to be in the vernacular rather than in Latin, and languages were to be learned by the conversational method. He worked for a universal system of education offering equal opportunities to women. His Didactica magna (1628–32; tr. by M. W. Keatinge, 1896; 2d ed., Pt. I, 1910, Pt. II, 1923, repr. 1967) contains an exposition of these principles. He also wrote Janua linguarum reserata (1631; tr. The Gate of Tongues Unlocked, 1659) and Orbis sensualium pictus (1658; tr. The Visible World, 1659), one of the earliest illustrated books for children. His collected works were first published in 1867.

See biography by F. H. Hay (1973); S. S. Laurie, John Amos Comenius (1892, repr. 1973); W. S. Monroe, Comenius and the Beginnings of Educational Reform (1900, repr. 1971).

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