What is Erasmus Philosophy and What are its Works?June 26, 2021
There are two basic views that dominate the humorous work.
According to one of them, true wisdom is madness. According to the other view, to think oneself wise is real madness. It is madness itself, as true wisdom, that gives man the power to live on earth. In the book madness (stultitia) praises itself; meanwhile, it is shown how madness always reigns in childhood and old age, in love, marriage and friendship, in politics and war, in literature and science.
All fields of occupation, especially the religious institution and the clergy, are exhibited within the framework of this panorama. Under the guise of making madness talk, Desiderius Erasmus directs the most brutal criticisms to the church of his age and its members. As such, “Praise to Madness” has been one of the most authoritative masterpieces written against bigotry throughout the ages. The fact that the work was interpreted as a criticism directed against all kinds of bigotry at the level of thought in the following centuries after its writing is perhaps the main reason for the permanence it has preserved until today.
Literally, Praise of Folly is perhaps the most authoritative example of the Latin poet Horatius’ principle of “to tell the truth with a laugh.” In terms of form, Desiderius Erasmus was also inspired by Lukianos and Libanios, whose works he translated earlier, while writing his work.