Erasmus


"Erasmus is often described as one of the first "modern" persons, closer to our time than to the medieval world. In looking at his writings on childhood, however, it is apparent that his teaching was based on classical and medieval debates about upbringing and schooling. Here the basic question had been: how do children learn best, by the stick or the carrot? Erasmus's answer was: spare the rod and stimulate the child... "Erasmus later attended the University of Paris. If he had been critical of his monastery, he soon became equally dissatisfied with the dry theological discussions of late scholasticism. After four years and many new friendships, especially with English students, Erasmus made his first journey to England. He met central intellectual and political figures such as John Colet and Thomas More. Because of them, he revised his opinion about sterile theology and decided to concentrate his life not on the classics but on the Bible and the church fathers... "Erasmus became a leading light of what has been called Christian humanism and had passionate intellectual contacts and heated controversies with many of his humanist colleagues. He learned Greek and fathered an important edition of the New Testament; he journeyed to Italy and received new inspiration for his studies; he returned several times to England... "Classical writers such as Plutarch, as well as medieval monastic teachers such as Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109), had already discussed how educators should treat children. Erasmus, like Anselm, insisted on gentleness. The teacher must be liked, for through his own personality he makes learning attractive."

Above from Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (c. 14691536) by BRIAN PATRICK MCGUIRE. Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society. Accessed 6/11/14.


Colby Glass, MLIS