Twenty-fifth Annual Birthday Lecture: For Freedom of Opinion: Erasmus' Defense o f the Encomium matrimonii* by M. van der Poel This article deals with the use of classical rhetoric in the Renaissance, in particular by Erasmus, and more particularly in the declamatio. Erasmus' use of the declamatio gives rise to many questions. Is the genre solely meant to give examples of rhetorical discourse, or does it have a serious purpose? This is a topic that I have already done some research on in the past.' My objec- tive in this article is to determine my attitude towards the various arguments Erasmus puts forward in his defense against the theologians' severe censure of his Encomium matrimonii. Some introductory remarks It may be premised that in the humanist period rhetoric and the teaching of rhetoric focused chiefly on written communication. In their use of rhetoric humanists followed the example set by the rhetorical writings of Cicero and Quintilian, whose approach to rhetoric is characterized by the important role they attribute to the orator in society. A good public speaker, according to Cicero and Quintilian, is an excellent and learned man (vir bonus dicendi peri- tus) who acts as a
Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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