Desiderius Erasmus

(1466-1536 / Rotterdam)

Desiderius Erasmus Quotes

  • ''What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. A Letter to Martin Dorp (1515).
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  • ''Human affairs are so obscure and various that nothing can be clearly known. This was the sound conclusion of the Academic sceptics, who were the least surly of philosophers.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536), Dutch humanist. In Praise of Folly, p. 84, trans. by Leonard Dean, Packard, Chicago (1946). Expression of Erasmus's skepticism.
  • ''Jupiter, not wanting man's life to be wholly gloomy and grim, has bestowed far more passion than reason—you could reckon the ration as twenty-four to one. Moreover, he confined reason to a cramped corner of the head and left all the rest of the body to the passions.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 16 (1509).
  • ''It's the generally accepted privilege of theologians to stretch the heavens, that is the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 64 (1509).
  • ''The nearer people approach old age the closer they return to a semblance of childhood, until the time comes for them to depart this life, again like children, neither tired of living nor aware of death.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 14 (1509).
  • ''The more ignorant, reckless and thoughtless a doctor is, the higher his reputation soars even amongst powerful princes.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 33 (1509).
  • ''Everybody hates a prodigy, detests an old head on young shoulders.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 13 (1509).
  • ''Whether a party can have much success without a woman present I must ask others to decide, but one thing is certain, no party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 18 (1509).
  • ''They take unbelievable pleasure in the hideous blast of the hunting horn and baying of the hounds. Dogs' dung smells sweet as cinnamon to them.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 38 (1509). Referring to hunters.
  • ''Nature, more of a stepmother than a mother in several ways, has sown a seed of evil in the hearts of mortals, especially in the more thoughtful men, which makes them dissatisfied with their own lot and envious of another's.''
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 22 (1509).

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