Our current exhibition is ”The ‘Living Library’ of John Smith, Cambridge Platonist”. On our Facebook Page, you can now view images of the exhibition here: The Living Library of John Smith (1618 – 1652).

In addition to humanist learning (Proclus, Plotinus, Plutarch) and the newer 17th-century philosophies (Descartes, Galileo, Harvey, Kepler) Smith’s thirst for knowledge encompassed Egyptian medicine, geography, law, history, mathematics, travel and many other subjects. He was part of the Cambridge Platonists, a group of Cambridge thinkers who revitalized 17th-century Cambridge with new life, with the ideas and energy of the Renaissance, at a time when it was in danger of becoming a dry and mummified institution. Smith was himself a fabulous teacher, well-loved by all his students. One of his tutees, Simon Patrick (1626 – 1707), Bishop of Ely, wrote of Smith that he was a ‘living library’ and that his actual library was indeed a ‘noble company of books’. [1]

Olaus. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus [D. 10. 26.] Bear attacked by ants while searching for honey.

Olaus. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus [D. 10. 26.]
Bear attacked by ants while searching for honey.

Footnotes:

[1] Simon Patrick, The Autobiography of Simon Patrick, Bishop of Ely, Oxford, 1839.

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