Intro to Humanism: Desiderius Erasmus

John Colet School alumnus Thomas Layton (graduating class of 2006) has written an excellent 5-minute-read article which explores Eramus’ ethical considerations on:

  • how being a smarter person can make you a better person
  • how becoming a better person is up to you
  • how you should not let being educated go to your head
  • how you will know nothing of yourself until you test yourself

“Much of Erasmus’s correspondence refers to the joys of discovering new knowledge and he wanted to share this joy with everyone. He wrote in his introduction to the New Testament translation that his goal was to have every farmer, weaver and traveller in Europe immersed in the gospels. Erasmus and his contemporaries translated and disseminated texts of all sorts in the vernacular languages of their day to improve the chances for education in the wider population. They hoped that this would bring about reforms. This neatly represents the ethical principle upon which humanism was founded; the pursuit of knowledge as a way to become a better person.”

You can read the full article here.

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