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The Education of a Christian Prince with the Panegyric for Archduke Philip of Austria

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This is a new student edition of Erasmus' crucial treatise on political theory and also contains a new, excerpted translation from his Panegyric. The Education of a Christian Prince is one of the most important advice-to-princes texts published in the Renaissance and was dedicated to Charles V. It is a strongly pacifist work in which Erasmus sought to ensure that the princ This is a new student edition of Erasmus' crucial treatise on political theory and also contains a new, excerpted translation from his Panegyric. The Education of a Christian Prince is one of the most important advice-to-princes texts published in the Renaissance and was dedicated to Charles V. It is a strongly pacifist work in which Erasmus sought to ensure that the prince governed justly and benevolently. This edition also includes an original introduction, a chronology of the life and work of Erasmus, and a comprehensive guide to further reading.


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This is a new student edition of Erasmus' crucial treatise on political theory and also contains a new, excerpted translation from his Panegyric. The Education of a Christian Prince is one of the most important advice-to-princes texts published in the Renaissance and was dedicated to Charles V. It is a strongly pacifist work in which Erasmus sought to ensure that the princ This is a new student edition of Erasmus' crucial treatise on political theory and also contains a new, excerpted translation from his Panegyric. The Education of a Christian Prince is one of the most important advice-to-princes texts published in the Renaissance and was dedicated to Charles V. It is a strongly pacifist work in which Erasmus sought to ensure that the prince governed justly and benevolently. This edition also includes an original introduction, a chronology of the life and work of Erasmus, and a comprehensive guide to further reading.

30 review for The Education of a Christian Prince with the Panegyric for Archduke Philip of Austria

  1. 5 out of 5

    M.

    In all fairness, I didn't read the whole book, at least not in this edition I'm registering it under. I only got access to the text through this website , because it seemed hard to find in a good PDF. Probably the first hundred pages are an introductory study of Erasmus, and the text itself. A Christian prince is expected to follow Christ: in judgement, in soul and things of the world. The responsibility is either upon the people who choose him, or their parents and educators. The response to Mac In all fairness, I didn't read the whole book, at least not in this edition I'm registering it under. I only got access to the text through this website , because it seemed hard to find in a good PDF. Probably the first hundred pages are an introductory study of Erasmus, and the text itself. A Christian prince is expected to follow Christ: in judgement, in soul and things of the world. The responsibility is either upon the people who choose him, or their parents and educators. The response to Macchiavelli focuses on the idea that princes should rule for the common good rather than by their own desire to keep power. They shall behave as servants and set example for all people. A well educated prince might deviate by falling into vice. He must be taught to choose good friendships and ministers. To follow in the steps of their counselors until he's able to rule. Never be allowed to "experiment" by trial and error. To abhor sins, and affectation. To never fall for flattery is important, the prince is meant to improve his actions. He only must not seem a religious man, but to be one too. While Nicolò Macchiavelli work is important historically, and because how it shaped modern politics, this one is valuable beyond the fact that it is the Catholic answer to power hungry, selfishly motivated politics. Because, like its author points out many times, many of the concerns that are highly stressed in this book, also apply to the general principles of education. With the help of Pagan philosophers and Sacred Scriptures, Erasmus writes a delightful text that has relevance, despite being published more than 500 years ago. The prince must avoid what's exalted by vulgarity, and ask for himself the Wisdom that Solomon begged for. But, while he does take virtuous writings of pagan philosophers, Erasmus considers that taking the example of pagan kings such as Alexander or Julius Caesar, is foolish and undeserving of a Christian prince. "Whenever the prince picks up a book, he should do so not with the idea of gaining pleasure but of bettering himself by his reading. He who really wants to be better can easily find the means of becoming better. A great part of goodness is the desire to be good; for example, anyone who knows and hates the disease of political ambition, irascibility, or passionate desire, and opens a book [to find something] by which he may cure his malady, easily finds a remedy that will either remove the cause or [at any rate] lessen it. From no source is the truth more honestly and advantageously gained than from books; but the prince should accustom his friends to believe that they will gain favor by giving frank advice" The Prince must work the hardest to avoid the need for a war. The Prince should not only know himself but his kingdom. The tyrant does the same, though his intention is up to no good. By superstition and gross indulgence, princes are bound to ruin. Another important point is justice through law: the less laws, and the more benefitial they are for society, the better. "The best laws under the best princes make a city (civitas) or a kingdom most fortunate. The most felicitous condition exists when the prince is obeyed by everyone, the prince himself obeys the laws, and the laws go back to the fundamental principles of equity and honesty, with no other aim than the advancement of the commonwealth." "A good, wise, and upright prince is nothing else than a sort of living law. He will make it his effort to pass not many laws but the best possible ones that will prove most beneficial to the state. A very few laws suffice for a well organized state (civitas) under a good prince and honorable officials." "Plato desired that the laws should be as few as possible, especially on the less important matters, such as agreements, commercial business, and taxes; for no more benefit accrues to the state from a mass of laws than would come [to a person] from a multitude of medicines. When the prince is a man of unquestioned character and the officials fulfill their responsibilities+, there is no need of many laws. Under other conditions, however, the abuse of the laws is turned into the destruction of the state, for even the good laws are perverted into other meanings, due to the dishonesty of these men." "But since man is the highest of all animals, he ought not to be so much coerced by threats and blows, as led to his duty by rewards. The laws should then not only provide punishments for the transgressors but also by means of rewards stimulate good conduct in the service of the state" "So a prince should try every remedy before resorting to capital punishment, keeping in mind that the state is a single body. No one cuts off a limb if [the patient] can be restored to health by any other means. The honest physician has only one purpose in mind when he prepares his remedies and that is how to overcome the ailment with the very least danger to the patient; so it is with the good prince in passing laws. He has no other end in view than the advantage of his people and the remedying of their misfortunes with the least disturbance". "In treating a disease, new remedies are not tried if the malady can be cured by old ones. Just so new laws should not be enacted if the old ones will suffice to remedy the troubles of the state. If useless laws cannot be repealed without causing a great deal of confusion, they should little by little be allowed to fall into disuse or else should be emended." The idolatry of money is, indeed, a great source of evil for Erasmus, since it helps to scorn poverty. And it's important, among other many things, to avoid the existence of idleness as an attitude of people. In many points, a lot of this is what's said in Thomas More's Utopia, and applies as well to the goverment of Sancho Panza in the second part of Don Quixote. By having Christ first, he manages to be truly fair and loved, as opposed to the bad ministers who are there with him: the duke and duchess, and his physician. Sancho also did other thing that this book encommends, to restrict the difusion of fake miracles, relics, etc. There's a chapter dedicated to marriage, and how a wife should be carefully chosen because of her virtue. This is also related to Cervantes' work, since Don Quixote advices Sancho to make his wife a learned woman, since having an otherwise "dumb" woman to his side will be his ruin. And, most importantly, a critique of the way wars are carried on: "There are literally countless activities in which it would be honorable for a prince, and for a good prince even pleasant, to engage. Consequently, he never will have need to seek a war because of the tedium of idleness, or to waste the night in gambling. In those matters which pertain to public affairs (such as his public buildings or games) the prince should not be extravagant or lavish, but splendid; so, too, in receiving embassies that relate to the affairs of his people. In those matters which pertain to him as an individual, he should be more frugal and moderate, partly that he may not seem to be living at the public expense, and partly that he may not teach his subjects extravagance, which is the cause of many misfortunes." "The character of the general Epaminondas has been praised by the most learned men. When, because of envy, he had been assigned a magistracy that was lowly and commonly despised, he so conducted himself that after his term it was considered one of the most distinguished and was sought after by the greatest men; thus he proved that the office did not confer dignity on the man but the man on the office" Erasmus questions the justice and the personal integrity of the persons who deem worthy the idea of just wars when they're not Christian enough, and divided among them, they expect others to convert. In a way, I agree. But the peace of Christ is not of this world, and while the way people waged wars in his era wasn't good, just like it isn't now, I think that this thought differs from being hopelessly pacifist or not arguing for self-defense. While he says that sometimes it's best for a prince to lose than to have a phyrric victory, and I agree with this, Christ himself said that He'd be the cause of division for those who aimed to follow him. I'm not saying war is inherent to human beings, I'm not justifiying any sort of violence in the name of peace, but I'm saying that, like Erasmus argued, a lot more reflection on Christianity, and what it means, might evangelize more effectively, set a better example, and avoid wars. Christians, and especially Catholics, should not shy away from Erasmus. He remained a faithful Catholic through all of his life and condemned the abuses of Luther, as well as he felt saddened by the destiny of his friend, Thomas More. While probably not all of what he says in this book is entirely agreeable, most of it still is.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Truls Ljungström

    Detta är bland det bästa jag har läst; den förra texten alltså - en furstes utbildning - den senare är inte speciellt intressant. Denna blir den fjärde text jag läst i år (jämte Teresas av Avila, Giordano Bruno och Hayek) som har lämnat mig i vördnad. Den uttrycker på ett kärnfullt sätt allt det som västerländsk civilisation och liberalism borde vara. Erasmus bildning genomsyrar varje sida, och varje påstående förenas med anekdoter som gör det enklare att förstå det. Jag önskar att jag hade träf Detta är bland det bästa jag har läst; den förra texten alltså - en furstes utbildning - den senare är inte speciellt intressant. Denna blir den fjärde text jag läst i år (jämte Teresas av Avila, Giordano Bruno och Hayek) som har lämnat mig i vördnad. Den uttrycker på ett kärnfullt sätt allt det som västerländsk civilisation och liberalism borde vara. Erasmus bildning genomsyrar varje sida, och varje påstående förenas med anekdoter som gör det enklare att förstå det. Jag önskar att jag hade träffat på denna text tidigare, för den är en guldgruva.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Hawco

    He mentioned the pagans one too many times for this to be for Christians...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    machiavelli but like with secure attachment and a most positive outlook on human nature

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Playing God against God following the nominalist Revolution.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    I got a lot out of this book. I know this is taught in a lot of education classes, but I also think that a lot of it is applicable to anyone. The advice in here pertains to everyday standards of candor and decorum in different types of relationships, says a lot about what it means to be a Christian, works as a wake-up call to personal responsibility, and has a lot of good thoughts that are applicable to parenting or any position of authority and leadership. It's written in an accessible style, a I got a lot out of this book. I know this is taught in a lot of education classes, but I also think that a lot of it is applicable to anyone. The advice in here pertains to everyday standards of candor and decorum in different types of relationships, says a lot about what it means to be a Christian, works as a wake-up call to personal responsibility, and has a lot of good thoughts that are applicable to parenting or any position of authority and leadership. It's written in an accessible style, and reads easily (possible by virtue of the translation). It's a little repetitive, but it has a lot of energy that makes up for it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nolan Croce

    When I found out I had to read this book for a class in college, I was devastated. Who wants to read a book from 1510 during the summer. Believe it or not, when I finished this morning, I was genuinely sad it was over. Erasmus has become one of my new favorite authors simply because he knows how to phrase things effectively and precisely. His metaphors are awesome. Found some great quotes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    excellent counterpoint to Machiavelli's "The Prince" excellent counterpoint to Machiavelli's "The Prince"

  9. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    can someone please tell me what the hell to do with this book in the 21st century? I earnestly want to know.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    Interesting historical perspective on leadership from 500 years ago. Makes the case for leading by the consent of the subjects, currently called servant leadership. Also highlights the importance of education of leaders, and the value of high quality feedback, although stated as avoiding flatterers. Overall, it doesn't hold up so well in modern times as there are many detours. Read only if you want a historical take on leading that is less Machiavellian. Interesting historical perspective on leadership from 500 years ago. Makes the case for leading by the consent of the subjects, currently called servant leadership. Also highlights the importance of education of leaders, and the value of high quality feedback, although stated as avoiding flatterers. Overall, it doesn't hold up so well in modern times as there are many detours. Read only if you want a historical take on leading that is less Machiavellian.

  11. 4 out of 5

    D. Parker Samelson

    From the brilliant Erasmus, this manual for a renaissance Christian ruler is fascinating in exploring behind the curtain of the instruction that these powerful people were receiving during these tumultuous times. If I’m being honest, this book lacked the same excitement as Machiavellis Prince mostly due to the tame pacifist nature of the advice given by Erasmus.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexia Armstrong

    This should be a presidential prerequisite.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Ecker

    Reading it with Lymond in mind made it very relevant.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    A short and sweet discussion of both how a young prince should be educated and how a ruler in power should act. One of the more interesting themes to me was the tremendous influence a good ruler can have through his example, associates, etc. As has been remarked elsewhere, this is sort of an anti-Machiavellian perspective. As such, it felt like something of a soul-cleansing reality check after recently re-reading some Machiavelli. It's perhaps not as useful for understanding practical politics o A short and sweet discussion of both how a young prince should be educated and how a ruler in power should act. One of the more interesting themes to me was the tremendous influence a good ruler can have through his example, associates, etc. As has been remarked elsewhere, this is sort of an anti-Machiavellian perspective. As such, it felt like something of a soul-cleansing reality check after recently re-reading some Machiavelli. It's perhaps not as useful for understanding practical politics or as revolutionary, but rather more satisfying from an idealistic Christian viewpoint.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Excellent, short book. Lots of good advice on integrity in politics, being a good person, and raising your children to be good people. While what he is specifically addressing is how to raise and educate a future ruler of a country, much of what he says can be applied to anyone who wants to be a force for good in the world, as well as parents who wish to raise their children to be the same.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Reid McKenzie

    An interesting take on what it means to be an explicitly Christian ruler as contrasted with the standard of ethics and statesmanship set by the pagan Greek tradition and the Biblical traditions. An interesting read, problematically pacifist. School reading

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Russell

    Very interesting read, I'd pair it with Machiavelli's The Prince and the Vindiciae Contra tyrannos. Very interesting read, I'd pair it with Machiavelli's The Prince and the Vindiciae Contra tyrannos.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    His Enchiridion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maxo Marc

    A great read about how to rise a future ruler.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ramón

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Lllllllll

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Lee

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Keith D. Walker

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julia Bryant

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fırat

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeffery Zavadil

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deb Revenaugh

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ray Stafford

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nick Matthew

  30. 4 out of 5

    Taina

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