Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
A study on Jan Hus’ letters about his exile (1412)
Thiago Borges de Aguiar

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


Jan Hus (1369?-1415), priest, theologian and professor at Prague University, facing opposition from both the Catholic Church hierarchy and some University colleagues, was excommunicated and Prague city was put under interdict, two conditions which forced him to exile on October 15, 1412. At the first attempt of Church authorities to expel him (1410), he and his fellows remained in Prague and victoriously ignored the excommunication, keeping his position at both Bethlehem Chapel and the University. But the second attempt was too strong to be challenged and there could be some danger and damage to those who follow him. Jan Hus decided it was better to exile than to fight back Church opposition. This decision of leaving the city where he lived and worked, where he has built all his ecclesiastical and professorial carrier, required a change of mind. This paper explores Jan Hus’ letters written right in the moment when he decided to exile and also those he wrote when he has just left Prague to some hidden places. They form a set of four letters. Here, these letters are confronted with the others (about one hundred letters today available) as well as to Jan Hus’ treatises, Church documents and specialized bibliography. Methodological approach to this document analysis is inspired in Carlo Ginzburg’s historical discussions, mainly the concepts of estrangement, perspective and evidential paradigm. Specialized bibliographical support is also provided, mostly from authors like Spinka, Šmahel, Fudge and Atwood. There are also results arising from my own research on this historical context since the last ten years. Jan Hus and the Hussites play an important role in Czech History of Education, both for the cultural aspects that are set in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries regarding development of Czech language and literacy as well as for the most famous Hussite priest Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius). Therefore, to understand the exile of Jan Hus is to establish a dialogue not only with the micro-context in which his decision on leaving was set but also with the macro-context of the Czech cultural and educational history of late medieval times and early Modernity. It is our intention here to bring to light the effort of a person to fight against his own view of things since now they have changed to a different situation he has been used to. He must think differently, and adjust himself. From the analysis of these letters we could see the growth of the conflict between hope and doubt, the arising of some eschatological thoughts where victory/salvation is no longer in this world (after all, he is in exile, in “nowhere”) and the need to preserve some legacy of the past and the memory of his actions to the future.