Saturday, May 28, 2016


Plea for Fewer Dogmas

Erasmus, letter 1334 (to John Carondelet; January 5, 1523), tr. John C. Olin, Christian Humanism and the Reformation: Selected Writings of Erasmus (New York: Fordham University Press, 1987), p. 190:
The sum and substance of our religion is peace and concord. This can hardly remain the case unless we define as few matters as possible and leave each individual's judgment free on many questions. This is because the obscurity of most questions is great and the malady is for the most part intrinsic to our human nature: we do not know how to yield once a question has been made a subject of contention. And after the debate has warmed up each one thinks that the side he has undertaken rashly to defend is absolute truth.
The Latin, from Opus Epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami, edd. P.S. Allen and H.M. Allen, tom. V: 1522-1524 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924; rpt. 1992), pp. 177-178:
Summa nostrae religionis pax est et vnanimitas. Ea vix constare potest, nisi de quam potest paucissimis definiamus, et in multis liberum relinquamus suum cuique iudicium; propterea, quod ingens sit rerum plurimarum obscuritas, et hoc morbi fere innatum sit hominum ingeniis, vt cedere nesciant simul atque res in contentionem vocata est: quae postquam incaluit, hoc cuique videtur verissimum quod temere tuendum susceperit.
Voltaire, Treatise on Tolerance, on the Occasion of the Death of Jean Calas, XXI, tr. Brian Masters:
The fewer dogmas one has to deal with, the fewer the disputes over them; and the fewer disputes, the less the risk of calamity. If this is not true, then I am much mistaken.

Moins de dogmes, moins de disputes; & moins de disputes, moins de malheurs: si cela n'est pas vrai, j'ai tort.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?