The Politics of Appropriation: Erasmus and Bayle

in Erasmus Studies
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Over the centuries, the local elites of Rotterdam have gone out of their way to cultivate the memory of Erasmus. From the sixteenth century onwards to this day, he has been consistently put forward as the city’s greatest son. During the early 1690’s, when Pierre Bayle, “le philosophe de Rotterdam”, was facing dismissal as professor of the Illustrious School of Rotterdam, he launched an attempt to save his position by reminding his employers of his allegiance to Erasmus’ heritage. Although Bayle would be fired just the same, we have every reason to take his Erasmianism seriously. In particular, Bayle’s critical attitude as an historian is reminiscent of Erasmus’ philological stance.

Erasmus Studies

Formerly: Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook

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36

The first edition (1960) of his History of Scepticism was entitled From Erasmus to Descartes, the second From Erasmus to Spinoza, and the final edition: The History of Scepticism. From Savonarola to Bayle, Oxford, 2003.

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