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Fiery Heart and Fiery Tongue

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Emotion in Erasmus’ Ecclesiastes

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The purpose of this paper is to consider the role of the emotions in the Ecclesiastes as they come to bear on Erasmus’ understanding of teaching and learning in the context of the Christian sermon and the relationship between the preacher and the congregation. The emotions do not only feature in Erasmus’ attempts to adjudicate the manner in which it is incumbent upon the preacher to move the congregation, but a specifically Christian sort of affectivity governs the way in which Erasmus imagines the preacher to be learned, and thus also to teach. As a result of its breadth and depth in covering an array of topics relevant to cultivating learned piety in the context of Christian preaching, the Ecclesiastes represents the most detailed treatment Erasmus offered of the importance of emotion in numerous areas of Christian thought and life. And without close attention to the affective aspects of Erasmus’ ideal method of teaching and preaching, one simply cannot provide an adequate account of the humanist’s theological program of learned piety.

Affiliations: 1: The University of Western Australia


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