The Better Part of Valor: More, Erasmus, Colet, and Vives, on Humanism, War, and Peace, 1496-1535

By Robert P. Adams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
BREAKTHROUGH IN CRITICISM:
JOHN COLET AND THE HISTORICAL METHOD

John Colet, who became Dean of St. Paul's ( 1504-19) and who founded St. Paul's School on humanist lines, was the first of the English new humanists to break away from the traditional medievalist modes of thought on war and peace. At Oxford, beginning with Michaelmas term in 1496, he gave a series of lectures on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. They constitute a landmark in literary and social criticism, a turning point in the slow change from medieval to Renaissance ways of thought, feeling, and action in England. Colet, strangely for his time, endeavored no less than to discover the original intent and meaning of St. Paul's teaching for primitive Christians in the first century A.D. Not only his conclusions but his critical methods were virtually novel, scarcely known before him in England, and very little elsewhere. In many ways these lectures, in the long run, "are more important in the history of English literary humanism than the Utopia of St. Thomas More, although the latter is sometimes considered as the only work of the early English humanists of European significance." 1

What conclusions did Colet reach in his first notable criticism of Christian man, of war, and of Christendom itself? To grasp his achievement requires at least a brief résumé of the positions against which he found himself in revolt.

In the first century St. Paul, in Romans 13, counseled a Christian minority in the Roman state upon the meaning and necessity of Christian nonviolence. He gave strong injunctions against disobedience to or violence against the Roman authorities. To St. Paul, Christianity was to be spread to the world, not by bloody iron, but by the sword of the spirit. But what St. Paul said and meant and what the later commentators discovered were his intents and meanings are different things. Upon the work of St. Ambrose ( A.D. 340-97) and St. Augustine, the later Schoolmen gradually built up a complex mass of interpretation declaring the

-21-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Better Part of Valor: More, Erasmus, Colet, and Vives, on Humanism, War, and Peace, 1496-1535
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 363

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.