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A treatise (from the Latin tractatus "treatise, discussion", from tractare ) is a written treatise as a literary genre and is characterized by the fact that there are no further structures between the chapters and the full text. Often religious, philosophical, cultural, political, moral or (natural) scientific topics are dealt with in the treatise. The publication in the form of a treatise comes from ancient times . Due to the frequent use for didactic - dogmatic purposes, the word tract in German sometimes has a negative connotation.

Both the masculine form of the treatise and the neuter form of the treatise are common.

The first evidence of the use of the word “tract” in the German-speaking area dates back to the 8th century ( middle high German tractat m. ).

Current use

Today tracts are often used to spread religious or political ideologies . In this context, treatises do not make any scientific claims. Rather, they aim to present the ideas in question in a generally understandable manner and with great persuasiveness. These are often offered free of charge in the pedestrian zone or directly at the front door for missionary purposes or are available to take away at publicly accessible places. Flight pamphlets , disputes and diatribes fall under the term pamphlet . Both terms have a more or less negative undertone ( connotation ) depending on the context .


The architectural treatise was a literary genre of the 15th and 16th centuries, primarily intended to explain and disseminate the design system of Roman antiquity. The architectural treatise was the driving force behind the stylistic change from Gothic to Renaissance . Illustration and text stood side by side on an equal footing.

Especially in the 19th century, Christian literature with a wide impact was called a treatise . (see also: List of treaty companies )


A special form of treatise can be found in the Talmud . This extensive Jewish work, written in Tannaitic Hebrew , Biblical Aramaic, and Classical Aramaic, is also called the oral Torah . The Talmud contains commentaries on specific provisions of the written Torah . The Mishnah forms the basis of the Talmud, it consists of six orders ( sedarim , singular seder סדר), each containing 7–12 tracts ( masechtot , singular masechet מסכת ; lit. "web"), a total of 63 tracts. Each masechet is divided into chapters ( peraqim , singular pereq ) and further into paragraphs ( mishnayot , singular Mishnah ). In this context, the term Mishnah means a paragraph, the smallest unit of the entire structure. In the plural form, this led to the term “Mishnayot” for the entire work. Thus the Talmud also consists of six volumes, so-called regulations , which in turn are divided into 63 treatises.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: treatise  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. See also Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological Dictionary of the German Language . 20th ed., Ed. by Walther Mitzka , De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprinted ( "21 unchanged edition") ibid 1975 ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p 785 ( torment / tractare : hosting, manage, treat, discuss' negotiate).
  2. Gundolf Keil: "The best advice is the icker toe can against genomen vte platearise". References to Ypermans Medicine. In: Geneeskunde in nederlandstalige teksten tot 1600. Koninklijke Academie voor Geneeskunde van België, Brussels 2012 (2013), ISBN 978-90-75273-29-8 , pp. 93-137; here: p. 106, note 86 (on the tract Practica brevis by Johannes Platearius , written in the 12th century ).
  3. Literary Studies Essen ( Memento of February 16, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), written by the literary scholar Jürgen Link .