Érasme: Le prix des mots et de l’homme

Margolin, Jean-Claude
Date published: 
January 1986

Professor Margolin here approaches from three angles the study of Erasmus, that central figure in the intellectual history of Renaissance Europe, the 450th anniversary of whose death is celebrated this year. The first articles consider a number of the classical and Christian authors, from Vergil to Petrarch, from whom he drew his inspiration, and their importance in the development of his thought. Professor Margolin then turns to the question of Erasmus' language and style, examining the manner and means he chose to communicate with his readers. In the final section he looks at some of the ideas and ideals expressed by Erasmus, both on a spiritual and humanistic level, and on a more practical one concerned, for instance, with problems of education or with the Christian struggle against the Turks. He shows how all these strands come together in Erasmus' vision of the dignity of man, whose humanity is a cultural acquisition, depending essentially upon his use of language.