Panels "in honor of Clare Murphy"
Saturday 29 March
Thomas More and His Circle I: "More and Erasmus"
Donald Gilman - Ball State University, USA
"Rhetoric and the Paradoxical Structure of Thomas More's Utopia"
| Abstract of Donald Gilman's paper
Through the use of judicial and deliberative forms of rhetoric, More employs a bipartite structure to shape the coherent design of Utopia
. In the first part the examination of practical politics based upon experience reflects the use of forensic oratory that, defined by Aristotle and Quintilian, probes questions of justice. In describing Utopia in book 2, Hythloday draws upon the resources of deliberative rhetoric to advise the reader on the expediencies of public policy. These divergent forms and intentions of rhetorical structure combine to create a cohesive vision. At the end of the text, More the interlocutor recognizes and reconciles within his mind the oppositions between the injustices of English society and the ideals of Utopian government that he “would wish rather than see.” The paradox that More perceives is tenuous, but the uses of these different rhetorical strategies unify the text and explore the complicated dimensions of politics and ethics.
William Gentrup - Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, USA
"The Political Application of Classical Friendship in Erasmian Pacifism"
Abstract of William Gentrup's paper
Current critical assessment of early modern notions of civic or political friendship based on classical tradition has focused on its relation to the problems of and applications to tyranny, counselorship, humanist education, republicanism, and patronage. Not enough attention has been paid to friendship’s political role in the promotion of early modern pacificism. The greatest exponent of peace in this era was Erasmus of Rotterdam, his pacifist efforts ranking in his own assessment with his accomplishments in the recovery of biblical, patristic, and classical texts and the reform of education. The role that the classical virtue of friendship plays in polemics against war in Erasmus’s as well as other humanists' writings and its connection to war, peace, humanist education, chivalric training, counselorship, and private property can be fully delineated in the political thinking of Erasmus and some of his contemporaries.
John D. Pilsner- Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA
"The Silenus Metaphor in Erasmus's Poetics and Hermeneutics"
Abstract of John Pilsner's paper
This paper will address the significance of the “Sileni Alcibiadis” for Erasmus in poetics and hermeneutics, from the Enchiridion and the Praise of Folly through his essay in the Adages of 1515. While Erasmus recapitulates the Platonic metaphor for the disparity between external appearances and inner reality, his adaptations are not always easy to reconcile. For many Erasmus’s juxtaposition of the Silenus with an “inverted” model is indicative of the instability of language and the irreconcilability of human perspectives. Such epistemological uncertainty and literary ambiguity, however, stands in sharp contrast with a confident Erasmian hermeneutics, where the Silenus represents textual obscurity and interpretative clarity. A more complete account of Erasmus’s Silenus will help us to understand the apparent conflicts as well as the humanist’s view of the relationship of theology to literature.