Erasmus in the Classroom: Renaissance Language Reform
Dr Jason Harris will present his research as part of the School of History School of History’s Research Seminar Series on Monday (29th September).
How were Renaissance ideas actually communicated in the classroom? How were students taught to speak and write a dead language? The argument of Renaissance humanists that they could make students into better citizens, that they could civilize them, required that an ambitious enterprise of social and moral reform would have its roots within the classroom. Rather than focusing, as some previous scholars have done, on the extent to which this attempt was successful, this paper examines the methods employed to bring about the desired end. Particular, but not exclusive, attention will be given to the pedagogical treatises and textbooks written by Erasmus of Rotterdam (c.1466-1536), which were used, in some cases, for several hundred years to develop the linguistic abilities and moral character of students.