In Praise of Folly: a cursory review and appreciation five centuries later
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Desiderius Erasmus was a humanist reformer concerned with reforming the civil and ecclesiastical structures of his society. In reformed circles, much attention is paid to his role in the Lutheran controversy. Despite this, his powerful influence continues to this day. Erasmus’ particular fool’s literature, Moriae Encomium (1509), revealed his humanist concerns for civil and ecclesial society as a whole. He employed folly as a rhetorical instrument in satirical manner, evoking readers’ amusement from numerous charges against the perceived multilayered social reality of the day. Five hundred years later the person of Folly may still perform this same task in Christian society. That was Erasmus’ point – the church is not to be seen as an island, it shares in the structures of society and is therefore still subject to its share of critical comments.
- Faculty of Theology