Zur Interaktion von Schule und Offizin im Straßburg des 16. Jahrhunderts am Beispiel der Wörterbuchproduktion der Druckerfamilie Rihel
modifié le: 2011-09-27

Dictionaries systematize and distribute language as well as knowledge, thereby exerting a certain amount of power over their readers’ linguistic as well as epistemic mental structures. In the 16th century, the role and status of the vernacular languages had yet to be determined. Unsurprisingly, Humanistic lexicographers, especially since Robert Estienne and his seminal works, considered the veteres beacons for Latinity. The classical texts provided their dictionaries with keywords, exempla, as well as with indications for correct syntactic and semantic usage of the lexemes. The German vernacular mainly served as a mere ‘interpretative language’, although in some cases innovative usage may be observed (f.i. with Petrus Dasypodius). Even when put in lemma position, German keywords are not based on word material from outside the classical literary framework und therefore inevitably point to Latin as their main referential system (f.i. in Josua Maaler). Latin also remained the standard of plurilingual dictionaries, in which three or more classical and/or vernacular languages are juxtaposed. Nevertheless, I claim that in some (not all) cases, despite its subservient role, the vernacular (i.e. German) language proves to be very vivid and dynamic.
As to the epistemic outline of the dictionary, the decision between alphabetical or topical (onomasiological) word order was based on the intentions of the authors and the needs of the intended recipients. ‘Learned’ dictionaries in the early modern age were considered ‘works’ in the strongest sense, even when they were adaptive for various means of reception, translation, transformation, and/or supplementation. Their authors exert a strong sense of authority and an air of learnedness, which is rooted in their hard work of reading, excerpting, and arranging. In most cases, several erudites joined forces in publishing a new dictionary, encouraged and led by the printer himself. These ‘authors’ document their intentions, outline the history of their venture, and justify their authority (and the authority of their ‘work’) in various paratexts. Thus, the genre ‘dictionary’ is a very suitable source for reconstructing the professional self-concepts (of the printer and his collaborators), as well as for tracing interaction in learned culture and at the same time for extrapolating programmatic notions of language, especially the vernacular.
Strasbourg, as a center of a culturally vibrant border region, fostered – along with Zurich and Basel – some of the first endeavors to implement the German language into Humanistic lexicography. Strikingly, almost all post-reformation Strasbourg dictionaries were commissioned by one family of printers: Wendelin (father), Josias and Theodosius (sons) Rihel. All three of them maintained strong connections with schools and prominent teachers/professors, for instance Helfricus Emmel of the Alzenau school or Petrus Dasypodius, Theophilus Golius, and Johannes Sturm of the Strasbourg Gymnasium, where Josias Rihel even served as scholarchus and librarius (i.e. the primary printer of its academic and legal output). Using the learned triangle of Helfricus Emmel, Theodosius Rihel, and Johannes Sturm as an example, this talk explores how dictionaries display authority and expertise, how these professional self-concepts are linked to the vernacular, and how the ‘authors’ explicitly (in paratexts) or implicitly (in the dictionary itself) unfold the potential of the German language.

Sylvia Brockstieger, Universität Tübingen


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