The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century

By Perry Miller | Go to book overview

APPENDIX A
THE LITERATURE OF RAMUS' LOGIC IN EUROPE

There is crying need for a full study of Ramus and his influence. I have not attempted more than a cursory survey, nor checked all the editions, and offer this summary provisionally as an aid to further investigation.

Much of the contemporaneous writing upon Ramus is rhetorical exercise or vituperation, of the sort familiar to students of English literature in Milton's vilification of Salmasius. No doubt passions were running high, but much of the vehemence becomes merely tiresome to modern readers. Ramus' enemies shrieked with horror that he should so much as intimate anything disrespectful of the canonized Aristotle: "Dare you call him sophist whom Plato, of whom you profess to be a disciple, called the philosopher of truth? . . . Have you dared, I will not say to violate most abominably, but to presume to term him religionless, whom all ages, all men of letters, and all men until you, have held in highest veneration? Who is so great a madman as this?" ( Govéa, Pro Aristotela, 57 Recto). Ramus was compared to Phaeton attempting to drive the chariot of the sun; his followers were chastised for their arrogance and conceit, and the judgment of God invoked upon them for frivolity and irreverence. The friends of Ramus celebrated him in terms no less extravagant. "You are unconquerable, O Ramus," wrote Freigius, "for you have the strength of twice two men, of Socrates, Euclide, Tully and Aristotle; in art you are Aristotle, in method Plato, in speech Tully, in genius Euclide; -- O Ramus, what is there more?" ( Beurhusius, In. P. Rami, last page). Broscius suggested ( Apologia, B I) that Ramists exercise upon panegyrics of this nature something of the critical severity which Ramus applied to Aristotle, but the Ramists were not to be restrained. They compared him to Prometheus, restoring the sacred fire of logic after the Aristotelians had suffocated it in obscurities and sophistical darkness; Rodingus said he spoke but moderately when he declared that the head of Ramus rises above all others as the cypress surmounts the sluggish pines (ed. Dialecticae, 1579, pp. 5-7). At times Ramists uttered stirring sentiments for "freedom" in philosophy, attacked authoritarianism and excessive veneration for any man, argued that all philosophers including Aristotle should

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The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents *
  • Book I - Religion and Learning 1
  • Chapter I - The Augustinian Strain of Piety 3
  • Chapter II - The Practice of Piety 35
  • Chapter III - The Intellectual Character 64
  • Chapter IV - The Intellectual Heritage 89
  • Book II - Cosmology 109
  • Chapter V - The Instrument of Reason 111
  • Chapter VI - Knowledge 154
  • Chapter VII - The Uses of Reason 181
  • Chapter VIII - Nature 207
  • Book III - Anthropology 237
  • Chapter IX 239
  • Chapter X - The Means of Conversion 280
  • Chapter XI - Rhetoric 300
  • Chapter XII - The Plain Style 331
  • Book IV - Sociology 363
  • Chapter XIII - The Covenant of Grace 365
  • Chapter XIV - The Social Covenant 398
  • Chapter XV - The Church Covenant 432
  • Chapter XVI - God's Controversy with New England 463
  • Appendix A - The Literature of Ramus' Logic in Europe 493
  • Appendix B - The Federal School of Theology 502
  • Notes 507
  • Index 525
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