Volume 19, Issue 10, 2009
Return of the Polish Brethren in the Perspective of a New Stage of Universalism
Mikołaj Sienicki (1521–1582)
A Polish Brother at a Time when All the Szlachta Were (Still) Brethren
In the tradition of the Cracow Academy, Mikołaj Sienicki tried to establish a practical link between critical humanism and religious Reform by leading his compatriots from orality to literacy, from the culture of the spoken language to the culture of the written language. In his speeches he combined new conceptual maps with pragmatic objectives and demonstrated how these were referred to in the existing texts, both legal and religious. As a speaker he was able to satisfy the emotional needs of his multicultural, partly pagan audiences by a skilful use of the spoken discourse and, at the same time to inspire them with a critical and rational approach to new European realities; to reconcile Sarmatism with the rule of law.