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Chambers's Cyclopaedia on natureAnalysis of the text of the article on nature in Chambers’s Cyclopaedia demonstrates the importance of contemporary scientists to Chambers’s work. The first part of the article is constructed, almost verbatim, from passages taken from Robert Boyle’s A Free Inquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (1686). The second part of the article is Chambers’s literal translation of several paragraphs in Isaac Newton’s Principia (1686). These paragraphs state and explain Newton’s three laws of motion, which Chambers here called laws of nature.

This analysis is an excerpt from the forthcoming Enlightenment Views of Definition, Volume 1: Definition in Chambers’s Cyclopaedia.

Chambers’s  Cyclopaedia on definition in rhetoric.  This draft study examines Chambers’s article on definition in rhetoric within his larger article on DEFINITION. The correspondence between Chambers’s text and passages found in Dominique de Colonia’s De arte rhetorica of 1705 is scrutinized in detail, using a new reading of de Colonia’s Latin text.

Readers are asked to help identify candidate sources for the final paragraph on definition in rhetoric.

Plagiarism in Diderot’s Encyclopédie?  Etienne Bonnot de Condillac’s Essai sur l’Origine des Connaissances Humaines first appeared in 1746. He was then associated with Denis Diderot following the departure of John Mills from the nascent Encyclopédie effort. Volume 4 of the Encyclopédie, containing the article on ‘Définition’ claimed by Johann Heinrich Samuel Formey, appeared in 1754. A significant portion of the text of Formey’s ‘Définition’ article, including complete paragraphs, is taken directly from Condillac’s Essai. The associations among the cast of characters associated with the Encyclopédie and the chronology of these relationships suggests that Condillac may have ventured a draft of the article in which he borrowed freely from his own Essai and that this draft later may have become the basis for Formey’s article. But makers of dictionaries and encyclopedias are notorious plagiarists...

This research note details the correspondence between the text of Condillac’s Essai and Formey’s article on ‘Définition’.

Johann Esper: "Vulgari Hominis Definitione, qua Dicitur Animal Rationale".  In 1695, at the University of Altdorf near Nuremberg, in a practice we would recognize today as a dissertation defense, Johann Esper stood to argue against the ancient definitional claim that “man is a rational animal.” This document is a record of Esper’s argument. No English translation has been published. Esper’s discourse is written in Latin, Greek, and German. It is printed with mixed roman fonts, mixed Greek fonts, and mixed Fraktur fonts. Medieval conventions and ligatures are used in printing each language. The Greek text particularly suffers from blurred impressions. The text, as visual artifact, is ugly, and it is unpleasant to read. And text that is not easy to read is text that is not easy to translate.

This edition of Esper's argument renders his dissertation in a consistent, simple way. The Latin, Greek, and German text of his argument, including punctuation, has been completely transliterated into corresponding ligature-free text that is suitable as a clean basis text for translation.

Christophoro Rhewendo: "Definitione Hominis: Homo est Animal Rationale". In 1654, at the Alma Mater Viadrina, in a practice we would recognize today as a dissertation defense, Christophoro Rhewendo defended the notion,  expressed as a definition, that "man is a rational animal". This document is a record of his argument. Written in Latin and Greek, no English translation is yet available.

This edition of Rhewendo's argument renders his argument in a consistent, simple way. The Latin and Greek of his argument have been transformed into a readable ligature-free text that is suitable as a clean basis text for translation.