Erasmus, Utopia, and the Jesuits: Essays on the Outreach of Humanism

By John C. Olin | Go to book overview

disdainful of the ancient authors and ungrateful to those to whom we owe so much, he writes. What could we accomplish in scriptural studies without their help? Not that St. Thomas and Duns Scotus should be entirely rejected, but that our regard for them should not lead us to "clamour against good literature happily springing up again everywhere." Reverence is due the ancient authors and fairness the modern ones, and "let furious contention, the bane of peace and concord, be absent everywhere." 23

Thus he ends his appeal to Carondelet and the statement and defense of his own point of view at this critical time. His comments and themes are his own, but it is remarkable -- one might say ingenious -- how he employed this occasion to present them anew and how he drew on Hilary and used his example to underscore and support them. However, Erasmus' prescriptions and advice had little effect, and the preface unfortunately became one of his most controversial writings.
Propositions from it were censured by the Sorbonne in 1526 and bitterly attacked at the Valladolid conference in Spain in 1527. 24 The letter is nevertheless a striking instance of the way Erasmus understood and made use of the patristic heritage, and the edition remains one of the many achievements of his humanist scholarship and his reform purpose.


NOTES
1.
The quotations are from E. F. Rice, "The Humanist Idea of Christian Antiquity and the Impact of Greek Patristic Work on Sixteenth-Century Thought," in Classical Influences on European Culture, A.D. 1500- 1700, ed. R. R. Bolgar ( Cambridge, 1976), p. 200, and Henri de Lubac, Exégèe médiévale II ( Paris, 1964), p. 431, respectively.
2.
Preserved Smith, Erasmus: A Study of His Life, Ideals, and Place in History ( New York, 1923), pp. 189-93, and J. E. Sandys,

-34-

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Erasmus, Utopia, and the Jesuits: Essays on the Outreach of Humanism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Notes xvii
  • 1 - Erasmus and Saint Jerome: The Close Bond and Its Significance 1
  • Notes 22
  • 2 - Erasmus and His Edition of Saint Hilary 27
  • Notes 34
  • 3 - Erasmus and Aldus Manutius 39
  • Notes 55
  • 4 - Erasmus' Adagia and More's Utopia 57
  • Notes 67
  • 5 - More, Montaigne, and Matthew Arnold: Thoughts on the Utopian Vision 71
  • Notes 83
  • 6 - The Jesuits, Humanism, and History 85
  • Notes 104
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