Erasmus’ Apophthegmata in Henrician England

Erasmus Studies 37 (1):45-67 (2017)
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Abstract

_ Source: _Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 45 - 67 The sudden surge in English translations of Erasmus’ _Apophthegmata_ during the later years of Henry VIII ’s reign can be partly attributed to the gradual introduction of the new standards set by the humanist educational agenda and partly to the profound political and religious changes brought about by the English Reformation that was codified in the Act of Supremacy in 1534. Richard Taverner’s _The garden of wysdom_ and _The second booke of the Garden of wysedome_ and Nicholas Udall’s _Apophthegmes_ reveal a pronounced shift towards a more widely conceived education of the English public. While Taverner’s translation, with its overt political commentary, provided a morally instructive commonplace book, marked by a Protestant overtone and influenced by Luther’s and Melanchthon’s views, Udall’s extensive pedagogical notes were meant to disseminate new methods of instruction modelled on Erasmus’ _De ratione studii_. Albeit in notably different ways, Udall’s and Taverner’s promotion of classical culture through apophthegms reflected their humanist zeal to reshape existing moral and cultural ideals and to expand the codes of conduct of the reformed Christian commonwealth in England.

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