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Article

How and Why Philosophy Was First Called a System: Casmann against Hoffmann on Christian Wisdom and Double Truth

Acta Comeniana. 2018. Vol. 32. P. 29-40.

How and why did the notion of philosophy as a system evolve in Germany at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries? Otto Casmann’s Modesta Assertio (1601) provides new answers to this question. Casmann, Clemens Timpler’s predecessor as professor in Steinfurt refers to other ‘like-minded philosophers’ (nostrates) who believe that philosophy is a ‘structured system of the liberal arts’. Casmann himself states that philosophy is a ‘structured unity of erudite wisdom’. The text is part of the debate between Daniel Hoffmann and the Reformed philosophers about the relation between philosophy and theology. It can be made plausible that Hoffmann himself was Casmann’s target. The paper shows that a ‘structured unity of erudite wisdom’ presupposes harmony between theological insights and the findings of philosophy. Thus the earliest discussions of philosophy as a system were meant to immunise Reformed philosophy against Hoffmann’s attempt to revive Lutheran anti-philosophy.