On Copia of Words and Ideas: De Utraque Verborem ac Rerum Copia

On Copia of Words and Ideas: De Utraque Verborem ac Rerum Copia

On Copia of Words and Ideas: De Utraque Verborem ac Rerum Copia

On Copia of Words and Ideas: De Utraque Verborem ac Rerum Copia

Excerpt

On a trip to England in the summer of 1499 Erasmus met several men who were to become lifelong friends, Thomas More, John Colet, and others enthusiastic about classical literature. Particularly fruitful was his encounter with Colet, who enkindled in Erasmus what was to become a major ambition: to revivify the theology of the schools with a deeper study of Holy Scripture in the original languages and also of the works of the early Church Fathers. With this aspect of his work we are not here directly concerned. Suffice it to say that after years of preparation and after he had become the most sought after scholar in Europe he finally published in 1516 his Latin version of the New Testament together with a Greek text. The same year saw his edition of the works of St. Jerome. From then until his death twenty years later there came from his pen revised forms of his New Testament, paraphrases of large parts of Scripture, and numerous editions of the works of the Fathers of the Church. None of this work is now of serious value textually, but in its time it constituted a tremendous exploitation of the recently discovered printer's art in what Erasmus hoped would be a renaissance of Christian faith and practice springing from a return to the sources.

Upon returning to Paris from England in 1500 Erasmus published the work which more than any other was to serve as the basis for his literary reputation. This was the Adagia, a collection of about 800 Latin proverbs (later much enlarged) with appropriate comments by Erasmus. The Adagia may be said to typify Erasmus' other major ambition: to replace medieval learning with the riches of Greek and Latin letters, or as it was then called, the New Learning. Other writings of Erasmus intended to open up to his contemporaries the riches of classical style and matter include the De copia, its companion volume, the De conscribendis epistolis, and the extremely popular and witty dialogues of the Colloquia. As a measure of his indefatigable industry it may be recalled that the first collected edition of his works, published in 1540, four years after his death, filled twelve large folio volumes. In addition, eleven volumes were required for the publication of his correspondence by P. S. Allen and H. M. Allen in the years from 1906 to 1947.

II. THE EDITIONS OF THE De Copia

The first edition of the De duplici copia verborum ac rerum of Erasmus was completed during Erasmus' third and most lengthy visit . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.