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It was during this time that he wrote The Praise of Folly , a satirical examination of society in general and the various abuses of the Church. Another influential publication was his translation of the New Testament into Greek in This was a turning point in theology and the interpretation of scripture, and posed a serious challenge to theological thinking that had dominated universities since the 13th century. In these writings, Erasmus promoted the spread of Classical knowledge to encourage a better morality and greater understanding between people. For the next 10 years, Erasmus would be embroiled in an intellectual debate over human nature, free will and religion.

On July 12, , during preparations for a move to the Netherlands, Erasmus fell ill and died from an attack of dysentery. Though he remained loyal to the Church of Rome, he did not receive last rites, and there is no evidence that he asked for a priest.

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This seems to reflect his view that what mattered most was a believer's direct relationship with God. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Subscribe to the Biography newsletters to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher considered to be the main source of Western thought. He was condemned to death for his Socratic method of questioning. Petrarch was a poet and scholar whose humanist philosophy set the stage for the Renaissance.

He is also considered one of the fathers of the modern Italian language. He was canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint in She was also a staunch advocate for women's rights. Romare Bearden is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. He depicted aspects of black culture in a Cubist style. A New York governor who became the 26th U. Country Music. Erasmus was the dominant figure of the early humanist movement.

Yet this is the foolishness that Erasmus is poking fun at — the fact that people are so caught up with the acquisition of wealth that they don't actually see the beauty of the world around them. In fact as long as they can surround themselves in a bubble of niceness such as the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore — and that is a classic example — the city itself is beautiful, but jump across the straights of Malacca you will see an industrial hell hole — externalising to the extreme , it doesn't matter what goes on outside of their circle of comfort as long as it doesn't disturb that circle.

However this is foolishness to the extreme — they want their comfort but comfort doesn't necessarily equate with happiness. I have lived in a big house with a swimming pool, but as soon as all my friends left after a three day party I was all alone again, and it all fell apart as well and it wasn't as if I had money either — I didn't — it was just that I managed to score a room in a really cool sharehouse, and when I everybody moved out I was left with the entire house to myself.

They say that there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people, and I am sure this was going through Erasmus' mind at the time. The thing that makes a person stupid is because they don't ask questions, and the reason that they don't ask questions is because they don't want to seem to be stupid, but by not wanting to appear stupid they make themselves stupid by not asking any questions. At other times the reason they don't ask questions is because they believe that they already know the answer, or if the answer is wrong that is irrelevant because as far as they are concerned if that is their answer then that is the correct answer.

Have you ever tried to argue with a stupid person?

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If you have then you'll know what I mean though, of course, because we don't accept their answer, and their answer is actually right, then it makes us the stupid person. The conclusion of the book comes down to a criticism of the church. Like Martin Luther , Erasmus went to Rome and was horrified at what he saw. In fact he completely ruined his career by writing books such as Praise of Folly, however I will leave it at that because I am reading the next section of the book, and I will deal with criticism of then church therein.

Apr 09, Justin Evans rated it it was amazing Shelves: history-etc , essays , philosophy.

In Praise of Folly: Reconsidering the Functions of Lope De Vega's Saints' Play Graciosos

In general, I like to think that there is progress in the arts- that geniuses of a later age are likely to be broader and more engaging than geniuses of an earlier age because they have the example of earlier men and women from which to learn. Lately I've been having a hard time holding onto this belief; that I've finally got around to reading Praise of Folly has made it harder still.

Erasmus combines a mildly annoying love of classical literature with an amazing ability to wield irony and In general, I like to think that there is progress in the arts- that geniuses of a later age are likely to be broader and more engaging than geniuses of an earlier age because they have the example of earlier men and women from which to learn. Erasmus combines a mildly annoying love of classical literature with an amazing ability to wield irony and social satire.

The Praise of Folly by Desiderius ERASMUS read by Anna Simon - Full Audio Book

Where are the men and women with this ability today, I ask? Maybe they're all off writing 'deep,' 'profound' novels about the terrifying depths of the human condition or some shit. The problem, I now see, is not that literature isn't progressing; it's that the readership of literature is regressing. To the barricades, Komrad! In that spirit, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to get better at being a person; just trying to keep track of what Erasmus 'really' means so Erasmus writes foolishly about the foolishness of St Paul, who advises foolishness As for this edition- I think the annotator makes a bit too much of the 'difficulties' involved in distinguishing between Folly's 'unironic' praise of simple Chrisianity, and her ironic praise of intricate theology.

Also, what sort of a world do we live in that needs to annotate Folly's hatred of merchants with "For Erasmus the greed and self-interest of merchants was socially counter-productive. Mercantile activity might not be bad in itself; greedy and self-interested mercantile activity not only harms people, but, horror of horrors!!! This happens everywhere and meets with smiles, but nevertheless it's the sort of absurdity which is the binding force in society. Not a bit of it. It was a silly, childish fable made up about hte belly and other parts of the body.

It seems a most peculiar prerogative of theologians, to be the only people permitted to speak ungrammatically; however, they share this privilege with a lot of working men. View all 7 comments. Nov 30, Bradley rated it it was amazing Shelves: fanboy-goes-squee , satire , shelf , traditional-fiction , metaphysics. You know, before I read this, I imagined it was satire.

I couldn't have been more wrong! Indeed, after listening to Dame Folly, goddess extraordinaire, I think I will convert myself wholeheartedly to her teachings. There has never been a more persuasive tract in literature. Hide thy wisdom, folks! There is no greater treasure than to proclaim just how much folly you possess! It's especially good for churchmen and writers. The former generally do not know they are being made fun of and the latter You know, before I read this, I imagined it was satire.


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The former generally do not know they are being made fun of and the latter can derive a sort of sick satisfaction that they, more than any other breed of fools, exemplify the teachings of Dame Folly. For who else could go about the rest of their lives putting words down for nothing more than faint praise, outright scorn, and little to no money for their extensive efforts?

Hard for me not to crush on Erasmus: cosmopolitan, pacifist, menippean. Learned in ancient writings, interested in allegiance to neither reformation nor counter-reformation, but rather in democratization of Scripture through vernacular translation simultaneous to the construction of critical editions of Scripture in original languages. Not however to be approached casually--he expects the reader to get the jokes and keep up with him.

Some minimal knowledge of the ancient literatures and Hard for me not to crush on Erasmus: cosmopolitan, pacifist, menippean. Some minimal knowledge of the ancient literatures and philosophies is necessary--the Norton is as usual inconsistent--it is cautious to footnote the plot of The Odyssey but is unable to muster even the slightest explanation of Timon.

Text here is The Praise of Folly , supplemented by The Complaint of Peace , a bunch of dialogues satirical and doctrinal , letters, and appended modern essays. Supplementals enhance value of principal text. Modern essays are a mixed bag; standout is Bakhtin, naturally, whereas the editor's essay, while informative, is politically philistine. Principal text augmented also by period graphics, including great cover by Holbein. As with all Norton Criticals, sufficient merely for an undergraduate course or faking one's way through cocktail party chatter with true experts on the subject provided there's enough to drink.

Very much a classic, required reading for all educated persons, The Praise of Folly is saturated with several layers of irony, so it's hard to know exactly what it's doing. Certainly a joke on St. Thomas More, as it is very much a mock encomium, and Greek title is Morias Enkomium. Could be read as part of the long rightwing tradition of jeremiad that alternately despairs and rages when all that is solid melts into air--but I personally think that E is too sophisticated for all that. Go read now lest ye remain benighted.

View 1 comment. May 15, david rated it liked it. This was written in the same century as Shakespeare and Cervantes, check. He lived in the Netherlands, check. His father was a Catholic Priest, check. He was an ordained Roman Catholic priest, check.

In Praise of Folly - Wikipedia

He never visited the Czech Republic, check. Waiter, check? This encomium, a word that he uses frequently, will take you a couple of hours to read. There are references to everything and everyone. These include the ancient Greeks, the Philosophers, the mythological Gods, Homer, Virgil, and a whole lot of ranting about Christ and the Church.