Jakub Koryl Winner of the RefoRC Paper Award 2018

Posted: 3 October 2018

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Jakub Koryl PhD has won the RefoRC Paper Award  2018 for his paper Beasts at School: Education for the Advancement of Germanness, presented at the Eighth Annual RefoRC Conference on Early Modern Christianity in May of this year.

The Board of RefoRC decided to give the award to Jakub Koryl. Congratulations to the winner!

The award consists of a certificate and a price of 250,00 euros and the paper will be published in the Journal of Early Modern Christianity.

We asked the price winner some questions:

Who is Jakub Koryl?

I am a philosopher and a cultural historian of early-modern era, that’s what I am up to at the Faculty of Polish Studies, Jagiellonian University. Over the past few years my academic activity included (and still does) varieties of German collective identities, philosophical implications and consequences of Lutheranism (of Luther’s work in particular), hermeneutics, phenomenology, and last but not least the animal studies. Quite a lot. However I believe that it is still a coherent mixture with a common feature.

Congratulations on the RefoRC Paper Award! How does that feel?

I am very excited about it. Nietzsche once noticed that the German soul abounds in labyrinths, caves, hiding places and dungeons – even the Germans can hardly find a way out of it. Although I myself did approach it from a greater distance or simply from a non-German standpoint, my effort was kindly appreciated and somehow confirmed from a much closer perspective. It’s truly an honor for me.

What made you choose the topic of your paper?

In 1525 Erasmus admitted that he could not understand his German-speaking milieu. Linguistic deficiency was not an issue here, since it was rather a well thought out and far beyond-language statement. It made me think what does it actually mean to refuse to understand those who prefer Hochdeutsch to Latin? Neither social sciences nor more recent cultural approaches provided me with a convincing answer to that particular question.

What is an unexpected outcome while doing research for your paper?

I would say it was already an unexpected starting point, a stepping stone that I still can’t skip over! Reading Luther in Latin and then in German turned out to be a striking experience for me. For two different languages were followed up with two persons who were totally unlike each other: ringing, truly musical and lively German of the vigorous, sometimes coarse Luther and schoolish, clumsy Latin of a faceless person. I realized again that such difference was not a matter of linguistic proficiency. It was German alone, not Latin, that was the house of Luther’s being, as Heidegger would say. Therefore this research made me feel certain that language as a form of being, a real shibboleth, remains the problem that still needs to be expounded.

What is in general your motivation for your research?

To succeed in understanding intellectual heresiarchs, namely those who really push things forward. I called myself a philosopher and a cultural historian. Okay, however these are only academic labels. When we truly take thinking itself into consideration there are no more divisions, faculties or disciplines. Call it a transdisciplinarity or a wandering discipline. It is wide open unless you are controlled by something different from the matter of thought itself. If you are not trapped, then there is no area that can not be discovered. This is the idea of research I exercise with genuine pleasure.

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