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Literary and Educational Writings 7

Literary and Educational Writings 7: Volume 7: De virtute / Oratio funebris / Encomium medicinae / De puero / Tyrannicida / Ovid / Prudentis / Galen / Lingua, Volume 29

Elaine Fantham
Erika Rummel
with the assistance of Jozef IJsewijn
Volume: 29
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 546
  • Book Info
    Literary and Educational Writings 7
    Book Description:

    This final volume in the Literary and Educational Writings contains diverse woks spanning a generation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7668-8
    Subjects: History, Philosophy, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xx)
    Erika Rummel

    The pieces that make up this volume form a suitable conclusion to the series of literary and educational writings in the CWE. While the commentaries on Ovid and Prudentius undoubtedly come under the heading of educational writings, and theLinguamay be regarded primarily as a literary composition, the rest of the works included here straddle the two categories. Moralizing in content and paradigmatic in form, they appeal to the reader’s Christian conscience as well as his literary tastes and provide for his moral as well as his stylistic guidance. As works of literature, the compositions are impressive witnesses to...

  4. Erasmus and the Greek Classics
    (pp. xxi-xxxiii)
    Erika Rummel

    Erasmus grew up in an era that was a turning point for Greek scholarship. During the latter half of the fifteenth century the rediscovery and publication of a number of classical texts had generated a new wave of interest in Greek studies. Erasmus himself was eager to acquire a knowledge of Greek, but his efforts were frustrated by lack of funds, unsympathetic advisors, and a scarcity of texts and teachers north of the Alps. Yet he persevered and ultimately succeeded in his quest. He was inclined to ascribe his success to a ‘mysterious force of nature’¹ that had guided him...

  5. Erasmus and the Latin Classics
    (pp. xxxiv-l)
    Elaine Fantham

    The relationship of Erasmus’ thought and works to the classical authors is matter for a book, even several books. This brief essay concentrates on three aspects of it: the use made by Erasmus of different authors and the value he ascribed to them, his changing interests from youth to old age, illustrated by the preparation of editions of Latin writers and translations of the Greek, and the balance kept during his creative years between the demands of his biblical and theological studies and his continuing loyalty to the classics. It requires an effort of the imagination for any twentieth-century student,...

  6. Oration on the Pursuit of Virtue / Oratio de virtute amplectenda
    (pp. 1-14)

    This formal epistle is addressed to Adolph, prince of Veere (1490?–1540), the son of Erasmus’ patroness Anna van Borssele (c1471–1518), to whom he wrote Ep 145. Anna was a maternal granddaughter of the Bourbon duke Louis I; hence Adolph could claim French royal blood (4 below). Philip of Burgundy (1453–1498), Adolph’s father, was the son of Anthony of Burgundy (8 below) (1421–1504), the bastard son of Philip the Good (1396–1467), the duke who established the Burgundian control of the Low Countries, which later fell to the Hapsburgs when his granddaughter married Maximilian. This justifies the...

  7. Funeral Oration / Oratio funebris
    (pp. 15-30)

    This rhetorical address (apparently the one referred to in Ep 28 to Cornelis Gerard) was written by Erasmus when he was about twenty-one (c 1489), in memory of his friend and benefactress Berta Heyen. She was the widow of Baert Jan Heyenzoon, who had been dead at least since 1474. She was prosperous enough to have bought and sold real estate in Gouda in the 1470s and 1480s. By 1484 she was a ‘matron’ of the hospital of St Elizabeth, which was located near a Minorite convent in Gouda (23–4 below), and had acted on its behalf in 1487. Berta’s...

  8. Oration in praise of the Art of Medicine / Declamatio in laudem artis medicae
    (pp. 31-50)

    In his dedicatory letter to Afinius, Erasmus refers to theEncomium medicinaeas a declamation composed many years earlier, at a time when he was attempting to master various types of literary composition. Those of his readers who had absorbed the educational programme that Erasmus had set forth in hisDe ratione studii,¹ which is heavily indebted to Quintilian, would have fully appreciated that what is being presented in theEncomium medicinaeis an example of epideictic oratory. The Renaissance attached the highest importance to the art of rhetoric, by which is meant the presentation of a convincing case within...

  9. Homily on the Child Jesus / Concio de puero lesu
    (pp. 51-70)

    TheConcio de puero Iesu,at least in its present form, was written by Erasmus for use in the new school at St Paul’s cathedral in London founded by his friend John Colet and opened in 1510.¹ The new foundation, dedicated to the child Jesus and the Virgin, was intended to put into public practice the ideals of humanist educational theory; both its administration, which was independent of clerical control, and its curriculum showed a marked difference from those of the medieval cathedral school.² But Colet was a deeply religious man, and the school’s educational programme placed its central emphasis...

  10. The Tyrannicide, Erasmus’ Reply to Lucian’s Declamation / Tyrannicida, declamationi Lucianicae respondens
    (pp. 71-124)

    In 1506 Erasmus and Thomas More published a volume of translations from Lucian to which each of them had contributed a number of pieces.¹ Lucian, a professional rhetorician of Samosata in Syria (c 125–90 AD), left a large corpus of writings, including model speeches, and essays in popular philosophy, dialogues containing literary and social criticism, and fiction. Famous in antiquity for his brilliant wit, biting satire, and penetrating criticism of traditional beliefs, Lucian had a new vogue in the Renaissance. Manuscripts of his writings in the original Greek were first introduced into Italy in the early fifteenth century, Latin...

  11. Commentary on Ovid’s Nut-Tree / In Nucem Ovidii commentarius
    (pp. 125-170)

    This commentary on Ovid’sNuxwas finished in 1523 and dedicated to John More, only son of Sir Thomas More, with a request that John share theNut-tree(‘[whose] fruit is naturally divisible into four parts’) with his three sisters and their friend Margaret Giggs. It was published by Froben in 1524 and by several other publishers in the same year. Ovid’s authorship of theNuxhas generally been doubted by modern scholars: the earliest extant manuscript is of the eleventh century. On the other hand, it is clearly a work of antiquity, not a medieval imitation; from a stylistic...

  12. Commentary on Two Hymns of Prudentius / Commentarius in duos hymnos Prudentii
    (pp. 171-218)

    The fourth-century Spanish poet Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348 – after 405) is described by a recent editor asfacile princepsamong the poets of Christian antiquity,¹ and the judgment is fully justified. Apart from his hymns, Prudentius wrote two booksContra Symmachi orationem, the Hamartigenia(on the origin of sin), theDittochaeon(four-line epitomes of scenes from the Bible), and, his most famous work, thePsychomachia.² This is a classic personification allegory, depicting the battle of the vices and virtues for the possession of man’s soul: it was the principal source for the portrayal of vices and virtues in medieval art...

  13. Translations from Galen: Exhortation to Study the Liberal Arts, Especially Medicine; The Best Kind of Teaching; The Proper Physician / Ex Galeno versa: Exhortatio ad bonas artes, praesertim medicinae; De optimo docendi genere; Qualem oporteat esse medicum
    (pp. 219-248)

    In the spring of 1526 Erasmus published Latin versions of three essays by Galen,¹ basing his translation on the Greek text of the Aldine edition of 1525. He dedicated the work to his physician-friend Jan Antonin of Košice² and expressed the hope that it would ‘kindle in young men a desire to study medicine.’³ This purpose is well served by two of the essays, theExhortationandThe Proper Physician,both of which deal with career ambitions, professional ethics, and goals in education – suitable topics and congenial to Erasmus’ own views. The third treatise, however, is a less obvious choice....

  14. The Tongue / Lingua
    (pp. 249-412)

    Erasmus was already ill at ease in Basel and beginning to consider alternative places of residence when he turned to composing theLinguain 1525. We cannot tell when he first conceived the work, but his preface marks its completion in July of that year.¹ It was a bad year for him, and its trials are reflected in the relative sombreness of the work itself. Towards the beginning of February he suffered an appalling attack of gallstones, which he describes to Pirckheimer as all but fatal.² Around him the peasants’ uprising was spreading into southern Germany, and in his most...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 413-518)
  16. Works Frequently Cited
    (pp. 520-521)
  17. Short-Title Forms for Erasmus’ Works
    (pp. 522-526)
  18. Index
    (pp. 527-546)