A mysterious dialogue


In the months of June and July 2018, Dr. Gabriel King of the University of Notre Dame in Rome, has been carrying out an intensive internship at the APUG. He carried out a research on an unpublished manuscript by Athanasisus Kircher preserved in the PUG archives. The possibility of activating professional internships allows to open research sites more specific than those that can be achieved solely by means of internal resources. Furthermore, all the experiences coming from the outside contribute to bring new ideas and settings, always useful for discussion.

Attempting to characterize the historical presence of Athanasius Kircher’s APUG 1053 Dialogus Asceticus, Cosmiele et Theodidacto Interlocutoribus through investigation of online and print resources. The results will be used to make a determination on the publication status of this work, either independently or in part as a contribution to related publications. References to “research notes” can be further explored in the following document.

Is possible to find the transcription of Dialogus asceticus in GATE.

A kircherian inedit


  1. The first, and most rudimentary, approach to determining whether our text exists anywhere else outside of the manuscript was to search various databases and libraries. In the research notes document delineates the search terms used, none of which revealed any external match to our manuscript’s content. The closest results from this phase were either extremely generic phrases which were sufficiently common to appear in other, evidently unrelated, works at the time, or similarities to the much more widely published Iter Exstaticum.
  2. To understand the scope of the work more fully, the next step was to create a rough index of titles and headings from the manuscript to be referenced both in search terms and comparison to other works. 
  3. It eventually became evident that the closest semblance of a match to be found was the Iter Exstaticum, sharing the same protagonists and similar structure. To narrow down the most likely parts of the Iter to contain similarities to our work, the indices of the two were compared in notes §V. Those sections of the Iter that most closely matched the metaphysical nature of the Dialogus are delineated there. These sections were preliminarily compared, but there does not seem to be any direct correspondence in their content.
  4. Kircher’s correspondence from the Stanford project was also analyzed to search for reference to the Dialogus. Even extremely generic search terms both in the title/description and keyword fields failed to return any matches. The closest one to be found was APUG 555, which simply references a request by Pope Alexander VII to Kircher for “liturgical texts”. Though most likely not in reference to our theological manuscript.
  5. After reading the beginning of Findlen’s The Last Man Who Knew Everything, a reference in chapter 3 by Siebert to the Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus prompted a review of the latter. Allegedly documenting all the known publication of Kircher, this volume did not include reference to our work.
  6. With the Iter being the closest (and in some cases, unique) match under these searches, it eventually became necessary to take a closer look within the work.  There were no direct matches, and the closest partial match was the last chapter (Caput V) of Iter II. This chapter treated a metaphysical discourse between our same characters, but it evidently independent from that of the Dialogus.
  7. Analyzing Fletcher’s A Study of the Life and Works of Athanasius Kircher, ‘Germanus Incredibilis’, there was no reference to our Dialogus. In fact, the work contained a list of all of Kircher’s known publications, under which there was a section explicitly titled “miscellaneous manuscripts”, still without any appearance of our Dialogus.
  8. Finally, using Google’s advanced search (allowing the filtration of results that contain one term but not another), appearances of the characters Cosmiel and Theodidactus outside of Kircher’s works were explored. Though a few results were found from the 1500s, they were in various languages or unavailable online. The other results were either misreadings by automatic text recognition (col miele ⇎ cosmiele) or references to Iter in which the exclusive search did not properly filter away results from Kircher.


While difficult to say definitively that no portion of our work exists in any other form anywhere else in the world, the results of the research catalogued above seem to suggest it was never disseminated in published form. Whereas the other Kircherian publications were nearly ubiquitous in the various sources explored, ours was nowhere to be found. Additionally, the sources by experts on Kircher yielded no reference to our work and it is seemingly nonexistent even given the vast reach of the modern databases and search techniques employed.


APUG 1053

  • Dialogus Asceticus
    • Dialogus Primus
      • Caput I – De bonitate Dei et divini amoris in hominem magnitudine
      • Caput II – De Incarnatione Christi quod incomprehensibile divini amoris in humanum genus, argumentum est
      • Caput III – De excellentia et dignitate humanae naturae, in cuius assumptione vel ipse Deus aeternum sibi complacuit
    • Dialogus II – De Summe Regis Calestus et Aeterni in orbem Terrarem adventu
  • Dialogi Ascetici  Sive Scala Paradisi – Quà Per Solidarum Virtutum cultum ad Vitae aeternae et Summi Boni possesionem consequendam ascenditur
    • Dialogus I – De Unione cum Deo
    • Documenta Decem – Quidbus homo ad Divini Amoris Unionem pertingat, à Cosmiele praescripta Theodidacto
      • Documentum I – Itaque Soli Deo anima nostra intimè adhaereat
      • Documentum II – Cum anima nostra illam assequitur Theologiae mysticia Sapientiam Unionem Divinae Charitatis…
      • Documentum III – Ad hanc verman felicitatem nemo pervenire unquam poterit
      • Documentum IV – In omnibus honorem Dei quaerito, it id enititor, ut ejus voluntas in omnibus impleatur…
      • Documentum V – Intempestivam verborum asperitatem omni tempore declina, in sermone sis semper verus…
      • Documentum VI – Si te laedat aliquis, aut persequatur; nè credas, aut judices…
      • Documentum VII – Elige potiùs latere, quàm eminere, sub esse, quàm praeesse.
      • Documentum VIII – Hand Facillimam Sui ipsius mortificandi artem citò perdiscit…
      • Documentum IX – Si Colloquia, et negotia obstent quò minius in Deum liberè…
      • Documentum X – Nemo se propter ingenii stupiditatem ineptum ad hanc Sapientiam Comprehendendam existinet…
    • Exercitium Asceticum – Lamenta Theodidacta – De humanae mentis duitie et grandi, ad Deo se uniendum, negligentià; et Documenta ad perfectionem Spiritualem praescribit
    • Scalae Paradisi id est Scientiae Sanctorum et est Iesus Christus Crucifixus – Philosophia vera, et aeterna, Extra quam neque vita, neque Salus, neque quies anime ut (polae ultimi adtionam humanata finis ad centrae) ?
      • Caput I – Cur homines, cujus cunque tandem conditionis (fuerint, in suis actionibus, dispositionibus, intentionibus, adeò instabiles et inquieti reperiantur.)
      • Exhortatio – De Mundi, rerumque humarum, actionumque quarumcunque vanitate, nisi ad Deum dirigantur. (Ad omnes, qui laboribus mundanis involuti, ad Summi Boni aeternam felicitatem adipiscendam, relictis omnibus Mundi, Carnis et Sanguinis, vanitatibus, seriò aspirant, Deoque Soli Servire volunt.)
      • Sententiae
      • Exercitum Spirituale
    • Dialogus – De Paradoxis Passionis Christi
    • Epilogus hujus Opsculi
    • Exercitium Spirituale Marianum
      • Praefatio
      • Proloquium ad Beatissimam Dei param, Virginem
        • § I – Puritas Beatae Virginis
        • § II – Quomodo Deiparam in Virtute puritatis Virginea imitari possimus, et debeamus
        • § III – De Admirabilis Matris Excellentia Supra omens puras Creaturas, Cord-intimus conceptus, et existimatio.
        • § IV – De Industriis, et Spiritualibus Devotionis Exercitiis, Divinae Matri à suis fidelibus Servis, et amantibus, exhibendis
      • Exercitium Orationum, et Elogiorum Beatae Virgini Sub Forma acrostychis recitandorum
        • Psalmi et Orationes


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