The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum, Christopher Clavius, and the Study of Mathematical Sciences in Universities

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In this paper, I examine the treatment of mathematics in the definitive 1599 Ratio Studiorum of the Jesuit Order and in the preliminary drafts of the Ratio that were done in 1586 and 1591. Drawing on some additional writings of the Jesuit mathematician Christopher Clavius and his view of the importance of mathematics in a university curriculum, I suggest that the inclusion of mathematics as a standard part of the curriculum in Jesuit schools at the beginning of the “scientific revolution” was of significant importance in a climate that often demeaned the work of mathematicians. Jesuit schools were being founded around the time of Galileo and other key figures who influenced the scientific revolution. The introduction of mathematical sciences into universities and the textbooks of Clavius laid the groundwork for generations of students to become better acquainted with mathematics and the sciences that were being developed during that period of history.