“A Pearl of Powerful Learning”: The University of Cracow in the Fifteenth Century
Paul W. Knoll, (Emeritus) University of Southern California
The first fully developed history of the University of Cracow in this period in over a century, “A Pearl of Powerful Learning.” The University of Cracow in the Fifteenth Century places the school in the context of late medieval universities, traces the process of its foundation, analyzes its institutional growth, its setting in the Polish royal capital, its role in national life, and provides a social and geographical profile of students and faculty. The book includes extended treatment of the content of intellectual life and accomplishments of the school with reference to the works of its most important scholars in the medieval arts curriculum, medicine, law, and theology. The emergence of early Renaissance humanist interests at the university is also discussed.
Winner of the ESSA 2016 Book Prize for most outstanding recent scholarly monograph on pre-modern Slavdom.
The work was described by the prize committee as: "A thoughtful, highly-informed, and nuanced history of the University of Cracow, an important institution in a pivotal period of Poland’s history. Knoll's treatment of such important issues as the role of the University in national life and the controversial and highly technical matter of the impact of Humanism are dealt with tactfully and thoughtfully. The book will become the definitive work on this topic, and will ensure that the material will rapidly be absorbed into general histories of education and of universities in the Renaissance."