Sunday, December 10, 2023

The praise of folly - Erasmus of Rotterdam

I’ve been having this book on my reading list since I was a student. I finally checked it off. It’s a very ironic, yet extremely disruptive text written by this Dutch renaissance intellectual at the beginning of the 16th century. It targets superstitions, common ideas and attitudes of a wide share of society, and it’s particularly sharp against theologians in genearal and the Catholic Church more specifically. 
Written just before the start of the Christian reformation, it is said to have at least partly inspired it. The narrator is folly itself, which of course expresses some of the most interesting ideas of the author. Views that he shares with the English thinker Thomas More, a friend of his who is mentioned by name in the book. Like few other books - i.e. Machiavelli “The prince” - this is still an interesting and engaging read 500 years after its publication.

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