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The Praise of Folly

Erasmus' satirical classic; a statement both of Renaissance humanism and Christian faith.

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This satirical treatise, written in 1509 for Sir Thomas More, has long been Erasmus' most popular work. The title, Moriae Encomium , is something of an inside joke, a pun on More's name (the two had together translated Lucian, whose satires are the model for this work), and the encomium was a formal song of praise in Greek and Roman times. The learned, good-natured, and humorous scholarship which the two men shared is reflected clearly in the work's origins. Yet this beginning quickly opens up to a more vitriolic and scathing indictment of both the academic and ecclesiastical establishment. The earnestness of the criticism is quite clear, for Erasmus was not at all enamored with the state of the Roman Church, nor with the condition of government and society in general. The work concludes with a genuine expression of religious ideals and the virtues of the Christian faith. The "praise of folly" in satirical terms ends in praise of the "folly" of Christianity according to 1 Cor. 1:18.

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The Praise of Folly

The Praise of Folly

Erasmus' satirical classic; a statement both of Renaissance humanism and Christian faith.

Write a review

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