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The Education of a Christian Prince (1516 original; edició 1997)

de Erasmus

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The Education of a Christian Prince is a new student edition of Erasmus's crucial treatise on political theory. It contains a new, excerpted translation from his Panegyric, making it possible for the first time to compare two works which Erasmus himself regarded as closely related. The Education of a Christian Prince was published in 1516 and dedicated to Prince Charles, the future Emperor Charles V, and is one of the most influential books of the 'advice-to-princes' published in the Renaissance era. It is a strongly pacifist work in which Erasmus sought to ensure that the prince governed justly and benevolently. The importance of Erasmus's work lies in his emphasis on virtuous conduct as the backbone of the polity, an argument which has influenced political writing up to the present time. This edition also includes an original introduction, a chronology of the life and work of Erasmus, and a comprehensive guide to further reading.… (més)
Membre:scstinnett13
Títol:The Education of a Christian Prince
Autors:Erasmus
Informació:Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1997
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

The education of a Christian prince : with the Panegyric for Archduke Philip of Austria de Desiderius Erasmus (1516)

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In The Education of a Christian Prince, Desiderius Erasmus set out his vi-sion of a properly administered state, by means of published advice to young Archduke Charles. Erasmus clearly valued Christian virtues and wanted those qualities to be the hallmarks of the state. He looked to Catholic theology as pro-claimed by notable authors like Augustine and Aquinas; he sought guidance in the practices and teachings of the bishops and the popes; but, most importantly, he referred primarily upon the words of Christ and the Apostles as his foundation.
Neither a firebrand nor rebel, Erasmus hesitated to denounce openly spe-cific bishops or condemn papal practices. However, he made clear that ecclesi-astical practices, as well as teachings, often differed significantly from what Je-sus or St. Paul said. By illuminating this dilemma and by choosing the Bible as the basis of resolution, he made known his position on church corruption.

The state Erasmus envisioned, though rooted in Christianity, was no Zwinglistic theocracy, no regimented Calvinist compound designed to churn out soldiers for Christ. Rather, Erasmus’s state offered tranquility and tolerance. Erasmus’s solution did not call for the bitter and rigorous cathartic cleansing that characterized several of the reformers who came soon after his time. Erasmus proposed a state where people were, more or less, free to pursue their daily lives in relative liberty. Their obligations were to God, the prince, their fellow citizens and their families. Those obligations were not burdensome. Erasmus felt that happy, prosperous people made useful, productive and loyal citizens. He wrote, “The good prince will be fully convinced that he can have no more worthwhile task than that of increasing the prosperity of the realm. . .€? However, he be-lieved those who lived in fear of war, taxes or royal abuse made treasonous, cowardly, traitors who would betray the prince for the chance to better their lives.

Erasmus’s vision strikes the modern reader as somewhat naïve in its hope that people will live harmoniously, that government officials will remain uncorrupt and that physical violence can be avoided. However desirable his ideas may be, short of the extraordinary combination of well-educated princes and administra-tors for a period long enough for these principals to take root, there was no way his ideas could be accepted in a practical, large-scale way. This is not to take a pessimistic approach that holds people to be evil; rather, it is the realistic position that, although basically good at heart, people are flawed.

It is tempting to see Erasmus as weak, naïve, or merely sycophantic in his bid to obtain office. On the contrary, Erasmus knew that what he proposed were ideals to be sought after, not the exact prediction of things to come. Erasmus was no fool, blind to man’s weaknesses. He stated, “For the most part the nature of man inclines toward evil . . .â€? He was no Rodney King, whining pitifully, “Why can’t we all get along?â€?
As for his sycophancy, Erasmus risked tweaking Charles’s nose with his veiled references to corrupt or absent rulers. He criticized the drive to extend the size of the realm, particularly by means of marriage alliances, specifically devot-ing a section of the work to that subject. He criticized taxes and tolls. He chal-lenged bishops who were lax in their duties.
The ideas he suggested did not wholly disappear. His idea of govern-ment, wherein one part acts as check upon another part, finds obvious manifes-tation in the great democracies. He indicated that the prince’s rule should be tempered by aristocracy and democracy. His idea of a contractual relationship between the prince and the subject adumbrates the Enlightenment. (I was sur-prised by his proposal of punishment when he suggested that a man guilty of some common crime could be advertised as being guilty of some crime of which the state wished to make an example. This struck me as terribly characteristic of the twentieth century, in a state where a minister of propaganda and public rela-tions would operate.)
Erasmus offered a compelling counterpoint to Machiavelli. Each man manifested an interesting mixture of practicality with idealism. These men’s writ-ings illustrated how similar circumstances, similar goals, and attempts to solve similar problems could produce almost opposite results.

Alex Hunnicutt ( )
  AlexTheHunn | Dec 14, 2005 |
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Desiderius Erasmusautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Jardine, LisaEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

The Education of a Christian Prince is a new student edition of Erasmus's crucial treatise on political theory. It contains a new, excerpted translation from his Panegyric, making it possible for the first time to compare two works which Erasmus himself regarded as closely related. The Education of a Christian Prince was published in 1516 and dedicated to Prince Charles, the future Emperor Charles V, and is one of the most influential books of the 'advice-to-princes' published in the Renaissance era. It is a strongly pacifist work in which Erasmus sought to ensure that the prince governed justly and benevolently. The importance of Erasmus's work lies in his emphasis on virtuous conduct as the backbone of the polity, an argument which has influenced political writing up to the present time. This edition also includes an original introduction, a chronology of the life and work of Erasmus, and a comprehensive guide to further reading.

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