Peak Reland II – and Don’t Say They Never Come Back

Books relating to my protagonists (either re-editions of their works [R] or secondary literature [S]) over three centuries

Tuesday, September 10th, for Friday n° 47

Searching is easy, finding is hard

This post is coming rather delayed, I’m afraid; but I could not help it, for it was not as easy as I thought to gather the data I’d been looking for. What I wanted to do for this post was comparing the other side of scholarly text production – books – with the journals I had looked at for my last post, where I discovered the peak in Reland references around the 1740s. I was curious to see if this attention within a medial configuration which revolved rather quickly would translate into more long-term scholarly endeavours also, that is, if a similar pattern might be discovered in looking at full-blown books referring to my protagonists, be it reeditions of their works (the columns marked “R” in the diagram on top of this post) or publications directly relating to their persons, publications, or theses (represented by the columns marked “S” for ‘secondary literature’). I only selected publications coming off the press after my protagonist’s respective deaths, regardless of what kind of relation there existed between the publication and one of my protagonists. Thus, the auction catalogues of the libraries of Johannes Braun, Adriaan Reland, and – I finally found it! – Thomas Gale are included into the list.[1] The respective fourth catalogue is missing because Eusèbe Renaudot’s library was never auctioned off.  I also selected no publications after 2001, so that I have data covering a full three hundred years, broken down into ten-year-spans for the diagrams.

To do so, I decided to check on the applicable union catalogues which are out there: VD 18, KVK, the catalogue named JISC formerly known as COPAC, SUDOC, ESTC, STCN, WorldCat, and the catalogues of the Dutch, English, French, and German national libraries, to see what is out there. And that is where the tricky part began, because there were remarkable mismatches between what some of these catalogues listed and what really was there. In some cases, there was just a typo in the record of the respective publication, for instance ‘1783’ instead of ‘1733’ – but figuring out that this seeming 1783 reedition never really existed took me some time. Taken altogether it took me three days, to put it precisely. And that’s where the delay comes from… There still are some entries on my list where I am not really sure if they correspond to actual publications or if the records got screwed up in a way I could not figure out yet;[2]  I’ll have to wait until the holding libraries respond to my mails to get to know. But I would rather not wait for these replies to post this post, so please take the figures I give here with a grain of salt (as always, of course). For comparison, here are the aggregated figures (re-editions and secondary literature taken together) visualized as lines and not as columns; the peaks come out more prominent this way.

Books related to my protagonists, aggregated.

But regardless of some minor corrections which may still have to be made, the data provide some interesting points:

#1: Peak Reland II

The first thing which is easy to spot is that there really is a peak in publications related to Adriaan Reland precisely in the 1740s, and another, a bit smaller one in the 1760s, just as with the journals. It becomes even more interesting as the publications reviewed in the journal entries where Reland was mentioned are not the publications which ended up on my list here, because they are neither re-editions of Reland’s works nor directly related to them and/or him. That both spikes in Reland-related publications – in the 1740s and 1760s – so closely match those of the Nova Acta Eruditorum points to both being representations of the same underlying phenomenon: more attention paid to Reland during these periods than before and after.

But it also highlights another interesting pattern, which is a bit challenging for the assumptions I made in my last post. There I wrote that maybe the 1740s peak, which is not there in the patterns of my other protagonists, spells out the specific difference that kept Reland stronger rooted in structural memory than the other three. Looking at books – be it monographies, editions, or collected volumes – this seems obviously not to be the case. There are only four publications related to Reland after 1800, and none after 1845. Interestingly this is again a pattern completely different from those visible in other scholarly media, as for example in bio-bibliographical reference works, for this period of time, as I have shown here. So what this seems to indicate is that although the patterns of remembrance connected with individual scholars in different scholarly media are interconnected, they are not strictly interdependent. Which in turn means that to give a comprehensive analysis of the overall pattern, one cannot only go for some media and deduct other patterns from those found in these media, but one always needs to do them all, and to bring them all together afterwards to finally see the shape of structural forgetting taking form.

#2: The fading of Braun and Gale

Having a look at Johannes Braun and Thomas Gale in the charts here is more reassuring, as the patterns visible here conform to the overall tendencies I already detected in remembering them structurally from other points of investigation. Both fell into decline early on, and were only intermittently referred to by book-length publications from the middle of the 18th century onwards at the very latest. If the 1803 reprint of Braun’s De vestitu sacerdotum hebraeorum should prove to be a record error, there is nothing Braun-related to be seen here after the 1750s; and for Gale the same is true since the 1790s, as Parthey’s 1857 edition of Jamblichos[3] of course did take Gale’s edition into account but was not conceived as a re-edition of Gale’s take on the subject but as a thorough reworking of the existing manuscript sources according to the 1850’s state of the art of classical philology. (I have to add as a little caveat that in the late 20th century two of Gale’s publications were copied on microfiche,[4] which counts as a re-edition in my eyes). As I have suggested before, Braun’s and Gale’s ‘remembrance careers’, if I may put it like that, seem to be fairly similar. The question arising from this – why this should be the case – is one to which I have, alas, no answer at the moment, but I’m going to have a closer look at it.

#3: Don’t say they never come back! Renaudot’s return

 But the most interesting case here is that of Eusèbe Renaudot, I’d say. Because he made a formidable return, arising again from structural forgetting in the late 19th and early 20th century – or was made to have such a return, I should say, as he had no agency in the process, being dead for over one and a half centuries at the time.

The people who were instrumental in bringing this about were, and this corresponds not only to the patterns visible in the biographical dictionaries just mentioned but also to a general trend towards nationalisation and parochialism in the field of history during the 19th century, all French. Two of them are featuring in the graphs presented here: Antoine Villien (1867–1943), who wrote a first biographical sketch of Renaudot’s life enhanced with edited source materials in 1904,[5] and François-Albert Duffo (1858-c.1935), who in 1915 wrote one of his doctoral theses on Renaudot’s letters to cardinal Francesco Maria de’ Medici (1660-1711)[6] and subsequently published five volumes of Renaudot’s edited letters between 1926 and 1931.[7] Although there is not much biographical information about either Villien or Duffo, there are interesting similarities: Both were clerics from rural parts of France, both became doctors of canon law, and both graduated with theses on Renaudot (Villien’s 1904 publication had been his thesis also). Villien seems to have had the more successful career, rising up to the post of professor of canon law of the Institut catholique in Paris, whereas Duffo remained professor at the seminary of Tarbes. But as in Reland’s case in middle of the 18th century Germany, in Renaudot’s case in early 20th century France the interest in both scholar and scholarly work initially came from a theologically infused perspective, only this time from that of Catholic rather than Lutheran orthodoxy. And as in Reland’s case the interest came from figures on the fringes of the academic milieu rather than from its core.

Interestingly, the most well-known French scholar working (also) on Renaudot, Henri-Auguste Omont (1857-1940) is not on the list here because he did not dedicate a full book to the subject. Omont had in 1890 drawn up an inventory of Renaudot’s manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Nationale, which had been acquired during the French Revolution (see one of my older posts on the subject https://fading18-20.hypotheses.org/386).[8] Omont became conservateur des manuscrits at the Bibliothèque Nationale in 1900 and president of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres in 1911, and also was president of the publication commission of the Société de l’histoire de France. In this latter capacity he enters today’s list from the other side, so to say, because in 1925 Omont declined an application for the covering of printing expenses by Duffo for the Correspondance inédite d’Eusèbe Renaudot avec le cardinal François-Marie de Médicis because, as he said, “the most interesting parts are already perfectly well known from the author’s graduation thesis.”[9]

It’s not the science, stupid!

Omont’s denial of funding obviously did not hinder Duffo from publishing his editions, although – to prove this a more careful investigation of the materials would be necessary, so I’d rather be a bit cautious – from a purely scholarly point of view they might have been redundant. I don’t know if Duffo made any money from his editorial work, but what it did generate was attention. It made him visible. Publish or perish is no modern invention, but has a long tradition in academic biographies. So the main driving force behind the Renaudot spike in the early 20th century was not that either the man or his materials were rediscovered because of their historical weight, but because of two men, Villien and, much the more so, Duffo, wishing to make a career. That historical importance could be claimed for Renaudot without much debatable effort was some good reason to pick him as a stepping stone towards these careers, but surely not the sole decisive factor. As it seems, Reland and Renaudot had, each for a specific group of persons at a specific time and place, the right set of factors to offer to be referenced again, while Braun and Gale had not. The remaining task is now to figure out why not.


  • [1] Catalogus bibliothecæ luculentæ, libris theologicis, Hebræis, : aliisque non vulgaris numeri aut pretii instructæ, quos magno dilectu & impendio sibi comparavit … Johannes Braunius Palatinus … Auctio habebitur Groningæ in Academia die lunæ 6. maji 1709, Groningen: Spandaw 1709.
  • Pars Magna Bibliothecae Clarissimi & Celeberrimi Viri Hadriani Relandi, Professoris, dum viveret, Linguarum Orientalium, & Antiquitatum Hebraicorum, & Antiquitatum Hebraicarum in Academ. Ultraj. Continens diversi Generis & Var. Linguarum Libros Exquisitissimos Theologos, Philologicos, Patres Ecclesiaticos, Philosophicos, Auctores Graecos & Latinos, Antiquarios, Historicos, Lexicographos, aliosque Miscellaneos, inter quos excellunt Atlas Blavianus, Item Thesaurus Rom. & Graecus Graevii & Gronovii, 24 vol. Quorum auctio fiet publica in aedibus defuncti ad diem 7 Novembri 1718. Patebit Bibliotheca duabus ante auctionem diebus, nempe 4 & 5 Novemb. Trajecti Ad Rhenum, Apud Guilielmum Broedelet. 1718. Ubi Catalogi distribuentur, Utrecht: Broedelet 1718.
  • Thomas Osborne & J. Shipton: A Catalogue of the Libraries of the following Eminent and Learned Persons, deceased, viz. the Rev. Dr. Thomas Gale, Dean of York, and Editor of the Hist. Angl. Scriptores; Roger Gale, Esq; the great Antiquarian, and Commissioner of the Customs; the Learned Mr. Henry Wotton, Editor of St. Clementis Epistolae; Dr. Francis Dickens, Regius Professor of the Civil Law in the University of Cambridge; Counsellor Stukeley of the Temple; Counsellor Owen of Lincolns-Inn; Mr. Reynell, an Eminent Apothecary; and several Others. Vol. I. Containing near Two Hundred Thousand Volumes of the most scarce and valuable Books in all Languages, Arts and Sciences; great Numbers on large Paper, Morocco Leather, and other rich Bindings. […] Which will begin to be sold (the lowest Prices printed in the Catalogue, without any Abatement, for Ready Money only) at T. Osborne’s and J. Shipton’s in Gray’s-Inn, This Day, and for the Conveniency of the Nobility and Genrry who live at a Distance (this Collection being so very numerous) will continue daily selling for two Years, viz. to the First of January 1758. Catalogues may be had at all the Chief Cities and Noted Towns in Europe, and at the Place of Sale; where may be had Money for any Library or Parcel of Books, Prints or Manuscripts. [N.B.] There are some Manuscript Sermons to be disposed of, recommended by an eminent and dignified Divine. N. B. The Books contained in the Two Volumes of the Catalogue for the last Year, which remain unsold, stand in their Order for the Conveniency of those Gentlemen who have not seen the Catalogue, or sent their Orders. London: n.p. 1756.

[2] Cf. This 1711 reedition of Johannes Braun’s ‚Doctrina foederum‘: Johannis Braunii, Palatini S.S. theologiae doctoris, ejusdemque ut et Hebraeae linguae, in Academia Groningae et Omlandiae professoris, Doctrina foederum, sive systema theologiae didactiae et elencticae perspicua atque facili methodo. Juxta exemplar, Amstelodami: apud Abrahamum van Somere [=Frankfurt?] 1711 http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/717140789, and this 1803 reprint of his ‚De vestitu sacerdotum hebraeorum‘: Bigdej Kohanim : id est vestitus sacerdotum Hebræorum. Sive commentarius amplissimus in exodi cap. XXVIII. & levit. cap. XVI. Aliaque loca S. Scripturæ quam plurima … auctore Johanne Braunio …, Lipperheide: n.p. 1803. https://aleph-01.kb.dk/F/56TYEN1JQFG75FVMNJELMRTMHEYHI6EJN4641A586Q3EDQGBHJ-00340?func=find-b&request=Braun%2C+Johannes&find_code=WFO&adjacent=N&x=40&y=10  

[3] Gustav Friedrich Konstantin Parthey: Iamblichi De mysteriis liber ad fidem codicum manu scriptorum recogn. Gustavus Parthey, Berlin: Nicolai 1857.

[4] Thomas Gale: Rhetores selecti  [Oxford 1676], microfiche: Early English books, 1641-1700, 563:9, 1975; Thomas Gale: Opuscula mythologica, ethica et physica : Græce & Latine [Oxford 1671], microfiche: Early English books, 1641-1700, 1443:6, 1983.

[5] Antoine Villien: L’Abbé Eusèbe Renaudot. Essai sur sa vie et sur son oeuvre liturgique, Paris : Lecoffre 1904.

[6] François-Albert Duffo: Correspondance inédite d’Eusèbe Renaudot avec le cardinal François-Marie de Médicis (années 1705, 1706 et 1707): thèse complémentaire présentée à la Faculté des lettres de Toulouse. Par l’abbé Fr.-Albert Duffo, Paris: A. Picard et fils, 1915.

[7] François-Albert Duffo: Correspondance inédite d’Eusèbe Renaudot avec le cardinal François-Marie de Médicis (années 1703 et 1704) publiée avec préface et notes par l’abbé Fr.-Albert Duffo, Paris: Auguste Picard, 1926; — : Correspondance inédite d’Eusèbe Renaudot avec le Cardinal François Marie de Médicis et son frère Cosme III, Grand Duc de Toscane: Années 1708, 1709, 1710, 1711-1712: (suivies des Lettres à Salvini). Publiée avec préface, introduction et notes par Fr.-Albert Duffo, Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1927; — : Correspondance inédite d’Eusèbe Renaudot avec le cardinal François-Marie de Médicis et son frère Cosme III, grand-duc de Toscane. Années 1708, 1709, 1710, 1711-1712 (suivies des lettres à Salvini). Publiée avec préface, introduction et notes par l’abbé Fr.-Albert Duffo. Tarbes : Impr. pyrénéenne; Paris: P. Lethiellieux 1928 ; — : Un Abbé diplomate. I. Voyage à Rome d’E. Renaudot. II. Ses lettres au cardinal de Noailles. III. Ses lettres au ministre Colbert (1700-1701), Paris : P. Lethielleux, 1928; — : Lettres inédites de l’abbé E. Renaudot au ministre J.-B. Colbert (années 1692 à 1706). Lettres inédites de J.-B. Racine à l’abbé E. Renaudot (années 1699 et 1700), Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1931.

[8] Henri Auguste Omont: Inventaire sommaire des manuscrits de la collection Renaudot, conservée à la Bibliothèque nationale, in: Bibliothèque de l’école des chartes, Vol. 51, 1890, pp. 270-297.

[9] Procès-verbal de la séance du conseil d’administration de la société de l’histoire de France: tenue le 2 Février 1925, in: Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l’histoire de France, Vol. 62, No. 1 (1925), pp. 63-67 ; here p. 65:

“La proposition faite par M. l’abbé Duffo de publier la partie encore inédite de la correspondance de l’abbé Eusèbe Renaudot avec le cardinal de Médicis et son frère le grand-duc de Toscane Cosme III ne paraît pas pouvoir être acceptée, s’agissant de compléter une publication dont le début et la fin, – parties les plus intéressantes, – sont déjà entièrement connus par une des thèses de doctorat ès lettres de M. l’abbé Duffo.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.