In this article, Ong points out that Johannes Piscator, a European Ramist theologian who wrote logical analyses of the Scriptures, is often mistaken as being two different people.  In fact, people have tried to "dichotomize" Piscator, an interesting move considering that while Ramists wanted to apply their technique to all forms of discourse, their technique was rooted heavily in the Cartesian dichotomy of mind/matter.

In an attempt to sort out how many Johannes Piscators actually existed, Ong traces the various references to Piscators in what is often an amusing, entertaining manner.  Ong begins with the listings found in the British Catalogue of Printed Books in the Library of the British Museum, the French Catalogue general des livres imprimes de la Bibliotheque Nationale, and the unpublished catalogue in the Bodleian library at Oxford.  The first catalogue attributes some works to Piscator of Herborn and others to Piscator of Wittenberg while the second and third catalogues attribute some works to a Strasburg Piscator and others to Piscator of Wittenberg (and there is not consistency between the catalogues about which works belong to which man).

This confusion, based on geography, is not surprising Ong explains, for "our" Piscator (Ong sometimes refers to him as the "1546-1625 man") moved around quite a bit, due to the plague and other factors.  It is also complicated by the fact that Piscator was a common name and the Latinization process of universalizing the names of various languages lumped multiple names under one Latin word (for example, Fischer, Engler, and any other name meaning "fisherman" ended up as "Piscator" in Latin).

As Ong moves more deeply into an examination of the various references to Piscator, sorting out all the information becomes more and more difficult; even when people tried to make corrections for the confusion, as Wilhelm Rotermund did in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, more problems result.  But Ong concludes that all of the editions of Ramus' works attributed to any Piscator in the British, French, and Oxford catalogues belong to our Piscator, as do all the logical analyses in theology.

As for the logical analyses of Cicero and Horace attributed to a Piscator in these catalogues, Ong believes that while we do not expect our Piscator to have been the author of these because by the time they were published, Piscator was well established as a theologian rather than as a classicist, they do in fact belong to him.  This is possible, Ong explains, because these books were probably the result of Piscator's early teaching days (when he would have applied the Ramist approach to logic to a variety of subjects in order to teach young schoolboys the method).  A similar case might be made, Ong asserts, for Milton's Artis logicae plenior institutio, ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata, which was published later in Milton's life.

Finally, Ong asserts at the end of the article, that for all these works to belong to the same man, our Johannes Piscator, is appropriate, for the Ramist philosophy was, after all, about finding a universalist approach to gaining knowledge.
 

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