The Art of Arguing in the World of Renaissance Humanism

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Strategies and characteristics of scournful criticism and fierce debate in the Humanist tradition
Renaissance humanists were often engaged in a wide variety of polemics, ranging from matter-of-fact debate to scathing invective. The programmatic nature of Renaissance humanism, intent on a fundamental reform of language, education, and society at large, led the humanists almost inevitably to conflicts with those who represented other intellectual traditions, first and foremost the Scholastics. In addition, internal competition among humanists sparked violent quarrels, in which opponents walked a thin line between defensive self-preservation and aggressive self-promotion. In the 16th century, the practice of dispute was partly reshaped by new national and confessional divides; the intensification of controversy also prompted a more conscious reflection on the potential and limits of polemical exchange. This volume sheds light on the characteristics and strategies of the humanist art of arguing through a series of case studies from representative areas. The contributors intend to show how humanists constantly remodelled the art of arguing by exploiting in ever new ways the Classical rhetoric of blame and thus paved the way for the early modern culture of dispute.

Arnold Becker (University of Bonn), Christine Bénévent (Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance / University of Tours), Olga Anna Duhl (Lafayette College, Easton, PA), Chris L. Heesakkers (Universities of Amsterdam and Leiden), Marc Laureys (University of Bonn), Joanna Partyka (University of Warsaw / Polish Academy of Sciences), Roswitha Simons (University of Göttingen), George Hugo Tucker (University of Reading)