Renaissance Humanism: the Rhetorical Turn


Author: Eckhard Keßler (LMU München)
Information about this text: Paper given at the Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Toronto, 27 - 29 March 2003
Text available on the WWW since: 2003-08-25
Last update: 2003-08-25
Conversion to HTML: Heinrich C. Kuhn


I.

Concepts like "Idealism", "Platonism", "Realism" and, as in the case of this paper, "Humanism" do not signifiy a well defined entity, but refer to a certain cluster of phenomena, trying to provide for them some kind of unity and common meaning. They serve as instruments to create some order and structure among the multitudes of infinitely varying attitudes and believes, actions and events. They are indispensable, whenever we try to understand the world of history, but at the same time they tend to be of extreme unreliability and weakness. The more phenomena they can claim to comprehend, the less certain and exact is their meaning, the more distinctly and clearly their meaning is defined, the less numerous are the items comprehended, and less effective the structures designed.

Humanism is an invention of the 19th Century. It was first imposed to signify a certain concept of general education through the classics[1] and later transfered to denote the Renaissance as the age devoted to the revival of the Classical Antiquity[2] and providing the means for a new and antischolastic type of learning.

In this broadest sense, however, Humanism seemed to loose much of its significance, since it could successfully be applied to a growing number of similar educational movements from the times of Cicero through several periods of the Middle Ages up to the Neo-Humanisms of the 19th and 20th Centuries[3] . To regain a more concise and exact meaning, Renaissance Humanism had to be more narrowly specified. It was deprived of all philosophical and scientific elements, inhering in its medieval versions[4] and reduced to a mere rhetorical, philological and literary enterprise. The humanist was confined to the disciplines of the studia humanitatis, which - as an instructor — he was bound to teach[5] , and defined as orator, dedicated to the pursuit of eloquence and to the political, social and moral bearings, that were exspected to result from its proper use[6] .

In this guise he has been the subject of research since the Second World War, untill in the last two decades the concept of Renaissance Humanism experienced a further reduction.

In 1986 Tony Grafton and Lisa Jardine splitt off from the real humanistic mind all kinds of objectives to be achieved through humanistic education[7] and most recently Ronald Witt has defined the real nature of Renaissance Humanism as being "the intention to imitate ancient Latin style";[8] for its own sake.

Now, that after two centuries of reduction the concept of Renaissance Humanism arrived at this point, it would seem, that in search for a maximum of exactness it ends up in a minor concept within the one and only discipline of literary history and that various other phenomena, in former times regarded as being essential parts of Renaissance Humanism, have to be provided for by a totally new conceptualisation.

Yet, this is not the case, for unless I am totally wrong, according to Ronald Witt the "intention to imitate ancient Latin style" is not meant to denote the very essence of Renaissance Humanism, but its true origin, so that every phenomenen, which we see emerge from this origin or that can be derived from it, would have a claim to this concept and the criterion of "intention to imitate ancient Latin style" would not close the concept but would open the perspectives for new approaches to and new questions in the research of Renaissance Humanism.

Yesterday afternoon, in the paper of Lodi Nauta on Linguistic Determinacy and the Humanist Imitation of Style and the following discussion, the question was raised for the consequences of the capability to "imitate ancient Latin style". It is my intention in this paper to ask for the consequences or by-products, which spring from the process of acquiring this capability and which therefore may be accounted for by Renaissance Humanism as well.


II.

Taking for granted, that at the beginning of the humanist movement there existed in those men, whom we may call the first humanists the intention to write Latin poetry and prose texts in a style similar to that of the ancient classical authors, it must have been their primary concern to get acquainted as intimately as possible with the models appropriate for imitation and to get to know as thoroughly as possible how to make use of them.

Therefore the fact, that — as Robert Black has recently proved[9] - secondary grammar differed conspicously between Northern Europe and Italy, may have been a favourable circumstance or even a necessary condition for the emergence of Renaissance Humanism in Italy. For while outside Italy secondary grammar had abandoned the literary tradition and submitting to logical and metaphysical premisses had paved the way for scholastic philosophy and science, in Trecento Italy secondary grammar continued teach the classical authors and rooted in the grammatical tradition of Quintilian and Isidor of Sevilla, served the purposes of rhetoric as taught in the disguise of ars dictaminis according to the Rhetorica ad Herennium and Cicero's De inventione[10] . Furthermore in the course of the Trecento and the Quattrocento teaching of grammar[11] got intensified and accompanied by the rediscovery of classical texts and rhetorical treatises[12] . While for instance Petrarch, except for the already mentioned textbooks, had known Cicero's De oratore and Quintilian's Institutio only in an incomplete version, the next century had not only access to the complete books of the De oratore and the Institutio oratoria but also to Cicero's Orator, Brutus and all of his orations and letters[13] . These new texts and handbooks got integrated into the teaching of secondary grammar, which, following Quintilian, was called historical grammar[14] , and following Suetonius was taught by the grammaticus or auctorista in distinction from the grammatista, the teacher of elementary grammar[15] , and resulted in that type of rhetorical education, which allowed for perfect Ciceronian style and truely humanistic writings[16] .

We get an idea of what grammatical instruction of the future humanist looked like, in Baptista Guarino's "On the way and order of teaching and learning" — De modo et ordine docendi et discendi — where the son of the great humanist teacher Guarino da Verona describes the pedagogical practice of his father and reports about its contents, methods and scopes. Written at Ferrara in 1459, printed there twice in 1474, and reprinted at the turn of the century several times north of the Alps[17] , this small booklett seems to have served as mediator of humanistic teaching to the Erasmus circle[18] and, probably, also to the Lefèvre group in Paris[19] . It has been used extensively by Remigio Sabbadini in his Il metodo degli umanisti in 1926[20] and is included now in Kallendorf's Humanist Educational Treatises, published last year in the I Tatti series.


III.

After some general introductory remarks[21] , Guarino's treatise is divided in the Quintilian way[22] into the elementary grammatica methodice[23] and the secondary grammatica hystorice[24] , which again has two parts, the first one devoted to the modus docendi, the way of instruction by the teacher[25] and the second one devoted to the modus discendi the way of studying by the student himself[26] . The transition from elementary to secondary grammar is motivated by the fact, that perfect Ciceronian style depends on a wide and various reading — multarum et variarum rerum lectio -, or, as it were, on a wide and various knowledge, which is the subject of the following paragraphs[27] .

The "wide reading" — multarum rerum lectio — is provided for by the great number of recommanded authors — historians, beginning with Valerius Maximus and the likes[28] , poets of all kinds[29] , all sorts of natural historians[30] , the rhetorical works of Cicero and Quintilian[31] , and the Dialectics and Ethics of Aristotle, Plato's dialogues and Cicero's moral philosophy [32] , to be taught by the instructor, and in addition by an undetermined number of further authors to be read and studied by the student on his own, beginning again with "miscellaneous works" such as Gellius, Macrobius and Pliny and also St. Augustin's "City of God";[33] .

The "various reading" — variarum rerum lectio — however does not just mean that the works studied, should be written by various authors and on various subjects, but seems to apply to the nature of the single writings themselves, which either do not offer a consistent, noncontradictory body of knowledge but consist in a variety of disparate informations, as is the case with Valerius Maximus, Gellius, Macrobius and Pliny[34] , or can be treated as if they were just an accumulation of curious or memorable facts, as is the case with the Augustinian City of God, which Guarino describes as "a work filled with historical information as well as material on the rites and religion of the ancients";[35] .


IV.

On the first view the fact, that both parts of secondary grammar start with the first non consistent, miscellaneous kind of writings like Valerius Maximus and Aulus Gellius may make us suppose, that they were considered less difficult to understand than the more sophisticated systematical treatisies, which were to be studied later, but the treatment, to which the City of God is subjected in Guarino's description, seems to indicate, that the reason for this arrangement is a strategical rather than a pedagogical one: that is, that these miscellaneous writings are put in the beginning to serve as an introductory instruction in the general method of reading, that had to be applied to all texts and writings, regardless whether they consisted just in collections of more or less unrelated particular informations, or displayed a consistent narrative order or even showed a systematical argumentative structure.

And indeed, after having recommanded Valerius Maximus for the beginners of secondary grammar, Guarino admonishes the teacher to have his students apply the same method of reading to the other historians, one after the other: "Then they should read the remaining historians in order, from whom they will excerpt the customs, manners, and laws of various peoples, the various fortunes that befell individuals of genius and their vices and virtues";[36] , and for the rest of the authors he just mentions the perspectives under which they should become subject of the same procedure. And later, after having described St. Augustin's City of God as if it were a miscellaneous writing, Guarino gives a short general outline of his method of "various reading":

  1. He establishes as the general principle of his method, that reading means primarily excerpting: "... they should hold fast to the practice of always making excerpts of what they read";[37] . And to confirm this principle,
    • he maintains, that this method has the advantage to let the reader profit from all kinds of writing, regardless of what quality they might be: "They should convince themselves of the truth of Pliny's dictum, that there is no book so bad that it is totally useless";[38] , and,
    • he claims, refering to an example in Pliny, that this method of studies, this studendi ratio, had been highly estimated in Antiquity[39] .
  2. He defines the general character of what should be excerpted as being or — memoratu digna — worth remembering, or - paucis in locis inveniri — rarely to be found: "Let them excerpt those things in particular, which seem worth remembering and are rarely found .";[40]
  3. And he explains, what the students should do with the excerpts, resulting from their reading:
    • they should firstly note them down and arrange them in a way, that those, which pertain to the same matter, are put under the same heading: "In the course of their miscellaneous reading — inter legendum ex variis libris - (the students) will note down maxims — adnotabunt sententias - pertinent to the same matter - quae ad eandem materiam pertinent — and collect them in one and the same place — et in unum quendam locum colligent.";[41] and
    • they should secondly make sure to memorise whatever excellent they may have heard or read [42] .

When the student finally has passed this curriculum of humanistic grammar, he disposes, as Guarino boasts in the end of his treatise, of the most varied knowledge — varia scientia — possible, which equals what the Greeks mean by paideia, the Romans by humanitas, and what at Guarino's times is called education and instruction in the good arts — eruditio et institutio in bonas artes.[43]


V.

Although Guarino claims, that this "scientia varia" is based on the same "natural desire to know", which serves in the opening of Aristotle's Metaphysics as legitimation of speculative science[44] , there is no doubt, that his science is not, like the Aristotelian one, an end in itself, but just as it emerges from Quintilian's Institutio oratoria, it is subjected to the needs of oratory and the idea of perfect Ciceronian style[45] . This is manifest throughout the treatise in continuous remarks, which relate the different acts of reading and excerpting to the various rhetorical qualities, which they are meant to generate.

i. There is first of all the perfect dominance over the Latin language, based on understanding and memorising the meaning of the singular words — vis vocabulorum - as well as of complex expressions — sententiae - [46] , which provides promptness[47] , purity and propriety, refinement and elegance[48] in every day speech[49] as well as in artistic writing[50] and results in that copious and ornate style[51] , which the early humanists had desired.

ii. Yet, even though the primary objective of Guarino's secondary grammar is classical Latin style in speaking and writing, oratorical instruction does not confine itself to the teaching of mere words and verbal expressions. Since knowledge of the words always implies knowledge of the meaning of the words, of the res, which are represented by the words[52] , teaching of the words cannot do without being at the same time teaching of the things or facts. Thus it is not altogether a surprising idea, that to the same extent, to which the orator should be able to speak in an adequate way about all matters[53] , he should as well possess an adequate knowledge of all these matters[54] . On the contrary, it is inevitable, that through one and the same process of instruction, through which the student is taught to be eloquent, he is taught also the related knowledge of reality[55] . Copia verborum - richness of words - is accompanied by copia rerum - richness of matters - and vice versa, though, according to Erasmus in his De ratione studii knowledge of words is earlier, while that of matters is more important — cognitio verborum prior, rerum potior[56] .

iii. Per consequence, in the moment, in which rhetorical instruction is not only meant to teach how to produce literature but also how to write and speak adequately in every day life — as is the case with Guarino[57] -, the student will inevitably learn as well, what life is all about: how to organise his life[58] and how to behave in the various situations of life[59] , that is, how to live as a virtuous man, a vir bonus. Rudolph Agricola, who had studied with Guarino at Ferrara and was to be regarded by Beatus Rhenanus together with Erasmus the northern heir to Guarino[60] , formulates the same principle in Ciceronian manner, that is, that the same master should teach how to speak and how to act — dicere et facere[61] . In the context of this larger concept of rhetorical instruction the humanist pretension to a thorough moral formation through the studies of classical literature, so dear to the ideal of 19th Century Humanism[62] and so radically disclosed some twenty years ago as mere propaganda[63] , might regain its justification on a less emphatical level.

iv. Yet it may seem, that we can go just one step further. The notion of the most possible variety of words as well as of matters, subjected to the orator, does not imply, that its extension is limited to active life and moral rules. In fact, Guarino's former student Rudolph Agricola, who during his stay at Ferrara had become acquainted to the method of reading the classical texts by way of excerpting, will not only transfer this method from grammar to dialectics or, as it were, from rhetorical to dialectical invention[64] , but also extend the scope of this method beyond the art of copious speaking and writing and the skills of prudent counseling and acting in the practice of every day life[65] to the requirements of the theoretical disciplines and the realm of scientific research[66] .

v. With Agricola, thus, the humanistic paradigm of rhetorical reading reaches its widest extension and has developed into an all comprehensive way to be used not only in the rational and orational disciplines of the Trivium but also in the theoretical and practical disciplines of philosophy and the productive arts, since all of them are dealing with matters, that may become the subject of speaking and arguing. In this Agricola follows Cicero, who pretends, that the perfect orator would be able to speak about everything in a copious and varied way[67] and that there is only one kind of eloquence, which is applied in all regions of disputation[68] , and Agricola himself is followed by Erasmus, who claims, that even though the avarage student may be taught only the best - optima -, the teacher should know everything — omnia -, and if he is not capable of knowing everything, he should at least know the most important — praecipua - of every discipline.[69] So we might seem to be entitled to claim, that in the first half of the 15th Century Humanism, which had started with the "the effort to imitate ancient Latin style", has become if not the only, at least a wide-spread general paradigm of a rhetoric based culture.


VI.

Yet, at the same time, in which the rhetorical approach of the humanists to language as well as to reality is generalized and concerns all disciplines, it becomes itself subject to a new process of differentiation. Already in his Oration in praise of philosophy and the other arts, delivered in 1476 at Ferrara, Agricola defined the rational part of philosophy, which the Greeks call logice, as the discipline, that deals with pronouncing what we are thinking[70] , and goes on to divide this discipline into the three parts of the Trivium: grammar, dialectics, rhetoric[71] . When Agricola summarizes this division stating, that these three disciplines together accomplish the body of eloquence — perficiunt absolvuntque eloquentiae corpus[72] — one might say, that in Agricola eloquence is indeed the main scope of all efforts in the realm of logos, that is of ratio and oratio, of thinking and speaking.

But the division itself seems to allow for a different conclusion as well. For

it looks like a revaluation of dialectics, which takes over the handling of the res, at the costs of rhetoric, which is reduced to the part of the verbalizer.

And indeed, this impression is confirmed by the fact, that in the preface to his De inventione dialectica Agricola argues for a clear cut splitting between the three traditional tasks of the oratordocere, movere et delectare [76] -, and transfers teaching — docere — which he calls the basic scope of all kinds of speaking and writing to dialectics[77] , and leaves to rhetoric only movere et delectare - moving and delighting, which he defines as accidental rather than essential qualities of perfect speaking[78] . And in the middle of the 15th Century, some 30 years after the first introduction of Agricola's dialectics to university teaching, Petrus Ramus goes just one stepp further and maintains, that beyond inventio the rhetorical task of dispositio or collocatio makes part of dialectics as well[79] , so that for rhetoric there is left not more than just elocutio.


VII.

Does this mean, that in the second part of the 15th Century the rhetorical turn of Humanism was reduced again to the point from where it had started, that is to an effort in classical Latin style — that it has been a movement without consequences?

I am not sure. In any case I doubt, whether dialectics, after having absorbed rhetorical inventio and dispositio, could remain what they had been before and whether they were determined and able to render the same services as before. At least, the rhetorical paradigm had taught them to start with excerpting the texts and the experiences of reality, with which they were dealing, and thus, they were not any longer an instrument of contemplative science, which had trusted in the possibility to gain the truth by contemplation of the true essence of reality. And they had learned, that to excerpt means to destroy the contexts and select from the fragments and create a new order for the pieces selected and that for both, selecting and arranging, there has to be an idea to follow. The Quattrocento Humanist Leon Battista Alberti compares the process of rhetorically inspired science to the production of a mosaic according to an individual design[80] , the humanistically educated natural philosopher and medical doctor Nicolao Leoniceno proposes as the new modell of science the artistic arrangement of theorems in relation to an end, which they shall help to reach or to reach easier[81] . In both cases the attitude is not any longer a contemplative but a creative and productive one — just as the orator is not the contemplator of a perfect text, but ist creator. Thus it may well be — but has to be subject of further research — that the enduring result of the rhetorical turn of Renaissance Humanism has been the productive and creative approach towards reality, which superseded the contemplative one in the course of the 16th Century.


Footnotes


[1] See Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer: Der Streit des Philanthropinismus und des Humanismus in der Theorie des Erziehungsunterrichtes unserer Zeit, Jena, Frommann, 1908, Reprint Weinheim, Beltz, 1968
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[2] See Georg Voigt: Die Wiederbelebng des classischen Alterthums oder das erste Jahrhundert des Humanismus, 2 vols., Berlin, Reimer, 1859, 4 Berlin 1960
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[3] See: Wallace K. Ferguson: The Renaissance in Historical Thought. Five Centuries of Interpretation, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 1948; August Buck: Humanismus. Seine europäische Entwicklung in Dokumenten und Darstellungen (Orbis Academicus I, vol. 16), Freiburg, Alber, 1987
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[4] See: Pièrre Duhem, Études sur Léonard de Vinci, 3 Bde., Paris 1906-13, vol.III, p.v (Preface); Ernst Cassirer: Individuum und Kosmos in der Philosophie der Renaissance (Studien der Bibliothek Warburg Heft 10), Leipzig, Teubner 1928, p. 1 ff. (engl.: The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy, transl. by M. Domandi, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania UP, 1972)
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[5] Paul Oskar Kristeller: "The Humanist Movement" in: Renaissance Thought: The Classic, Scholastic and Humanist Strains, New York, Harper & Row, 1961, p. 3 ff. (Originally: The Classics and Renaissance Thought, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 1955)
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[6] Hanna Holborn Gray: "Renaissance Humanism: The Pursuit of Eloquence", in: P.O. Kristeller / Ph. P. Wiener (Edd.): Renaissance Essays. From the Journal of the History of Ideas, New York, Harper & Row, 1968, 199-216 (Originally J.H.I. XXIV, 1963); Eugenio Garin: Der italienische Humanismus. Philosophie und bürgerliches Leben, Bern, Francke, 1947 (ital.: L'umanesimo italiano. Filosofia e vita civile nel Rinascimento, Bari, Laterza, 1952; engl.: Italian Humanism. Philosoph and Civic Life in the Renaissance, transl. P. Munz, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1965); Hans Baron: In Search of Florentine Civic Humanism: Essays on the Transition from Medieval to Modern Thought, 2 vols., Princeton UP 1988
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[7] Anthony Grafton/ Lisa Jardine: From Humanism to the Humanities. Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 1986; James Hankins: "The 'Baron Thesis' after Forty Years and Some Recent Studies of Leonardo Bruni", in: Journal the of History of Ideas 56 (1995) 309-338; Idem (Ed.): Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisels and Reflections, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, forthcoming
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[8] Ronald G. Witt: 'In the Footsteps of the Ancients', The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni, Leiden, Brill, 2000, p. 22; see also the reviews by Robert Black in: Vivarium 40 (2002) 272-207 and by Harald E. Braun published by H-Ideas@h-net.msu.edu (March 2003)
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[9] Robert Black: Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Tradition and Innovation in Latin Schools from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2001, p. 29 f.; 72 ff.
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[10] Witt: In the Footsteps..., o.c. (n.8) p. 89 ff.; 351 ff.
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[11] Witt: In the Footsteps..., o.c. (n.8) p. 93 A 34
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[12] Witt: In the Footsteps..., o.c. (n.8) p. 338 ff.
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[13] Witt: In the Footsteps..., o.c. (n.8) p. 351
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[14] Quintilian, Institutio oratoria I,ix,1
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[15] Sueton: De grammaticis 4; 24; Giuseppe Billanovich: "Auctorista — humanista — orator", in: Rivista di cultura classica e medioevale 7 (1965) 143-63; Black: Humanism and Education, o.c. (n. 9) 30 ff.; 364 ff.
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[16] Witt: In the Footsteps..., o.c. (n.8) p. 340; for the gradual reconquest of classical Latin style see also H. Weisinger: "Who began the revival of learning? The Renaissance point of view", in: Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters 30 (1944) 625 ff.
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[17] The titles differ in the various editions. The two Ferrara editions from 1474 have De ordine docendi ac studendi. The most diffused edition, Heidelberg 1489, obviously inspired by Rudolph Agricola , has De modo et ordine docendi ac discendi, so has the Straßburg edition of 1514, edited by Beatus Rhenanus, while the title of the Vienna 1515 edition seems to have cancelled "discendi". There is a more recent edition at Jena in 1704, edited by the historian of philosophy B.G. Struvius (For Struvius see Jakob Brucker: Historiae Criticae Philosophiae vol. VI: Appendix, Lipsiae 1768, 16 f.; Giovanni Santinello (Ed.): Modells of the History of Philosophy, vol. I: From its origins in the Renaissance to the "Historia philosophica", English edition, ed. C.W.T. Blackwell, Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1993 passim). There are two modern editions: with Italian translation by Eugenio Garin in his Il pensiero pedagogico dell'Umanesimo, Florence (Giuntine / Sansoni) 1958, 434 — 471, and with English translation by Craig W. Kallendorf in his Humanist educational treatises (ITRL 5), Cambridge,Mass. (Harvard UP) 2002, 260-309. Instead of the two Ferrara editions from 1474 Eugenio Garin (o.c., 434, n.), mentions two Ferrara-editions in 1472 and in 1485. In the commentary to Rhenanus' dedication letter, the editors of the Briefwechsel des Beatus Rhenanus (edd. A. Horawitz / K. Hartfelder, Repr. Nieuwkoop, B. de Graaf, 1966, 63, n. 2) mention two more Italian editions, Veronae 1489 and Mutinae 1496. I am quoting the Kallendorf edition and translation.
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[18] Lisa Jardine: "Inventing Rudolph Agricola: Cultural Transmission, Renaissance Dialectic, and the Emerging Humanities", in: A. Grafton / A. Blair (Edd.): The Transmission of Culture in Early Modern Europe, Philadelphia, U. of Pennsylvania P., 1990, 39 — 86, esp. 56 ff.
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[19] Beatus Rhenanus, the editor of the 1514 Straßburg edition, had worked before with Lefèvre at Paris and is said to have inherited much of his interest in Italian Humanism there. See John F. D'Amico: "Beatus Rhenanus and Italian Humanism", in: Roman and German Humanism, 1450 — 1550, ed. P.F. Grendler, Aldershot, Variorum Reprint, 1993, X, esp. 242 f. The fact, however, that in his dedication to Lukas Paliuros Beatus Rhenanus compares Guarino's treatise to similar treatments of the same subject by Erasmus (De ordine studii) and Agricola (De formando studio ad Barbirianum) could mean, that at that time the Guarinian method had already been adopted in northern Europa and Rhenanus' edition did not mean less an innovation than a confirmation. See Briefwechsel des Beatus Rhenanus (o.c., n. 17), 63: "Scribit de praeceptoris officio et discendi ratione, quam rem ad Guil. Thaleium Erasmus, Rodolphus ad Barbirianum uterque doctissime explicarunt".
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[20] Remigio Sabbadini: Il metodo degli umanisti, Firenze 1926; for Kallendorf see n. 17
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[21] Guarino: De modo et ordine... §§ 1-7, o.c.(n. 17) 259-269
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[22] See above, n.14
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[23] Guarino: De modo et ordine... §§ 8-21, o.c.(n. 17) 268-285
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[24] Ibidem §§ 22 — 38, p. 284-309
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[25] Ibidem, §§ 22 — 28; p. 284 - 293
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[26] Ibidem, §§ 29 — 38; p. 283 - 309
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[27] Ibidem, §§ 21 — 22; p. 284: "Nemo tamen existimet in sola illa epistularum declamatione pinguem, et quam Cicero 'adipatam' vocat orationem consistere; eam namque multarum et variarum rerum lectio pariet, Flacco teste, 'scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons'. (§22) Quare ut ad alteram grammaticae partem, quam historicen diximus nominari, traducantur iam tempus erit."
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[28] Ibidem, § 22, p. 284-287
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[29] Ibidem, §§ 23 — 25, p. 286-291
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[30] Ibidem, § 26, p. 290-291
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[31] Ibidem, § 27, p. 292-295
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[32] Ibidem, § 28, p. 294-295
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[33] Ibidem, § 31, p. 294-297
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[34] See ibidem, § 22, p. 284-285 the characterization of Valerius Maximus: "qui res gestas carptim collegerunt" and ibidem, § 31, p. 294-295, of Gellius and Macrobius: "qui variis ex rebus compositi sunt" and finally of Pliny's Natural History: "quae non minus varia est quam ipsa natura"
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[35] Ibidem § 31, p. 294-295: "his addimus Augustinus De civitate Dei, qui liber historiis et tam ritu veterum quam relgione refertus est".
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[36] Ibidem § 22, p. 286-287: "Reliquos deinde historiographos ordine perlegent, hinc variarum gentium mores, instituta leges, hinc varias hominum fortunas ingeniorum et vitia et virtutes excerpent".
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[37] Ibidem § 31, p. 294-295: "Sed omnino illud teneant, ut semper ex iis quae legunt conentur excerpere"
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[38] Ibidem § 31, p. 294-295: "sibique persuadeant, quod Plinius dictitare solebat, nullum esse librum tam malum ut non in alique parte prosit".
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[39] Ibidem § 31, p. 294-295: "Haec studendi ratio apud veteres observata fuit adeo, ut Plinius maior electorum commentarios centum et sexaginta opistographos sororis filio reliquerit, quos aliquando quandringentis millibus nummum Larcio Licino in Hispania vendere potuit".
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[40] Ibidem § 31, p. 294-295: "Ea vero potissimum excerpent, quae et memoratu digna et paucis in locis inveniri videbuntur."
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[41] Ibidem § 31, p 296-297: "Inter legendum ex variis libris sententias quae ad eandem materiam pertinent adnotabunt, et in unum quendam locum colligent".
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[42] Ibidem § 31, p 296-297: "Pythagoreorumque more quicquid excellens interdiu legerint vel audierint vesperi commemorabunt.
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[43] Ibidem § 38, p. 306-307: "quam enim Graeci 'paideían' vocant nos eruditionem instituionemque in bonas artes dicimus ; eam humanitatem quoque veteres nominarunt, quia scientiae cura ex universis animantibus uni homini data sit. Hoc autem studiorum genus variam magis quam reliqua scientiam complectitur". In this context the term paideía seems to be surprising. It may be, that Guarino is refering to Aristotle's treatise De partibus animalium I,1; 639 a 1 ff., which had been translated before 1458 by Theodoros Gaza, the former professor of Greek in Ferrara (See Stefano Perfetti: Aristotle's Zoology and ist Renaissance Commentators (1521-1601) 13 ff.). Aristotle is distinguishing there epistéme (real science) from paideía, which Gaza translates as peritia, and which signifies a certain type of knowledge, which is not yet science, but an eruditio necessary for those, who want to acquire science. If this were the case, Guarino would be the first to open the wide discussion on this concept in the 16th century. (See also Eckhard Kessler: "Method in the Aristotelian Tradition: Taking a Second Look", in: D.A. Di Liscia / E. Kessler / C. Methuen (Edd.): Method and Order in Renaissance Philosophy of Nature. The Aristotle Commentary Tradition, Aldershot, Ashgate, 1997, 113-142).
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[44] Ibidem § 38, p. 306-307: "Habent ceteri animantes insitum aliquid natura, ut equi currere, aves volare; hominibus vero sciendi cupiditas tradita est, unde et humanitatis studia sunt nuncupata"; see Aristotle, Metaphysics I,1; 981a1.
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[45] See above, n. 28
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[46] Ibidem § 30, p. 294-295: "... radicitus, ut aiunt, sententias et vocabulorum vim annotent... Hoc exercitationis genus ... studiosis quasi quandam expositionum cellam promptuariam et memoriae subsidium praestat" (I differ from Kallendorf in translating 'vis vocabulorum' as 'meaning of singular words' and 'sententia' in the more comprehensive sense, it has in Quintilian (VIII, v, 1-2: Sententiam veteres, quod animo sensissent, vocaverunt. Id cum est apud oratores frequentissimum, tum etiam in usu cotidiano quasdam reliquias habet... non raro tamen et sic locuti sunt, ut sensa sua dicernt. Nam sensus corporis videbantur, sed consuetudo iam tenuit, ut mente concepta sensus vocaremus, lumina autem praecipueque in clausulis posita sententias.) as 'complex expression'.
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[47] Ibidem: "scribendi promptitudinem gignit"; § 31, p. 206-209: "Erit hoc etiam ad orationis copiam tum promptitudinem valde idoneum".
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[48] Ibidem § 25, p. 288-289: "Ad sermonis tum puritatem et elegantiam, tum proprietatem"; "sermonis proprietatem mea sententia suppeditabit"; § 30, 294-295: "linguam expolit"; § 34, p. 298-299: "in verborum compositione pure et eleganter scripta".
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[49] Ibidem § 22, p. 286-287: "... in quotidiano sermone facundiam... creabit"; § 25, p. 288-289: "sententias... sermoni quotidiano commodissimas"; "confidat is omnia quae in quotidiano sermone contigerint, non modo ornate proloqui posse, verum etiam ad omnem materiam sententiam aliquam se habiturum".
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[50] Ibidem, § 27, p. 290-291: "iam ex superiorum rerum varietate et copiosam et ornatam cum arte coniunctam habebit eloquentiam"; § 34, p. 298-299: "in verborum compositione pure et eleganter scripta".
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[51] Ibidem, § 27, p. 290-291: "iam ex superiorum rerum varietate et copiosam et ornatam cum arte coniunctam habebit eloquentiam";
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[52] Literature on the concept of res et verba in the Renaissance is vast and controversial. I refer only to a recently published book, where various aspects and various positions are discussed by various authors: Res et verba in der Renaissance, edd. E. Kessler / I. Maclean, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2002
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[53] Ibidem, § 25, p. 288-289: "confidat... ad omnem materiam sententiam aliquam se habiturum".
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[54] Ibidem, § 28, p. 292-293: "... Tusculanae vero (sc. principatum obtinent) propter variam multiplicemque rerum cognitionem, praeter praecepta quae ad omnem ferme scribendi materiam largam nobis copiam exhibent".
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[55] Ibidem, § 30, p. 294-295: "Hoc exercitationis genus mirifice acuit ingenium, linguam expolit, scribendi promptitudinem gignit, perfectam rerum noticiam inducit, memoriam confirmat, postremo studiosis quasi quandam expositionum cellam promptuarium et memoriae subsidium praestat."
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[56] Erasmus: De ratione studii, ed. J.-Cl. Margolin (Opera omnia I,v) Amsterdam, North-Holland Publishing Company, 1971, 113, 4 ff.: "Principio duplex omnino videtur cognitio rerum ac verborum. Verborum prior, rerum potior... Etenim cum res non nisi per vocum notas cognoscantur, qui sermonis vim non calleat, is passim in rerum quoque iudicio caecutiat, hallucinetur, deliret necesse est. Postremo videas nullos omnium magis ubique de voculis cavillari, quam eos qui iactitant sese verba negligere, rem ipsam spectare". This distinction between cignitio prior and cognitio potior may be inspired by the Aristotelian distinction of "prior known to us" and "prior known per se" or "by nature" (Posterior Analytics I,2; 71b33-72a5). See also Erasmus: De copia verborum ac rerum I,7 (Duplicem esse copiam), ed. B. I. Knott (Opera omnia I,vi) Amsterdam, North-Holland Publishing Company, 1988, 32 f. and the related commentary there for the tradition of this topos.
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[57] See n. 49
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[58] Guarino: De modo et ordine... §23, o.c.(n. 17) p. 286-287: "ad quotidiane vitae institutionem"; § 25, p. 288-289: "sententias et vitae et sermoni quotidiano commodissimas", "sales... quae vitae sunt ornamento"; § 28, p. 292-293: "propter praecepta ad omnem vitae partem idonea".
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[59] Ibidem, § 22, p. 284-287: "ad omnes virtutum partes... exempla"; "in variis rebus prudentiae opinio"; § 34, p. 298-299: "studiosus vero eorum sibi exempla proponat, quae omnibus his vescuntur... in sententiis quid fortiter, quid prudenter, quid iuste, quid modeste annotet" (these are the four Ciceronian cardinal virtues!); § 35, p. 300-301: "Quae vero in scriptoribus vitae accommodata et ad virtutis rationem pertinentia reperiuntur, ea memoriae commendanda sunt".
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[60] Beatus Rhenanus, Dedication letter to his edition of Baptista Guarino's treatise, Straßburg 1514, in: A. Horawitz / K. Hartfelder (Edd.): Briefwechsel der Beatus Rhenanus, Leipzig 1886, Reprint Nieuwkoop, De Graaf, 1966, p.63: "putavi me tibi rem non ingratam facere, si Guarini libellum de modo et ordine docendi et discendi... imprimendum darem... Scribit de praeceptoris officio et discendi ratione, quam rem ad Guil. Thaleium Erasmus, Rodolphus ad Barbirianum uterque doctissime explicarunt". See Erasmus: De ratione studii, o.c. n. 56; Agricola: "De formando studio ad Jac. Barbirianum", in: Rodolphi Agricolae... Lucubrationes aliquot... caeteraque... opuscula... per Alardum Aemstelredamum emendata et additis scholiis illustrata, Coloniae, apud I. Gymnicum, 1539, 193-294, Reprint Nieuwkoop, De Graaf, 1967
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[61] Agricola: Letter to Jacobo Barbiriano, Coloniae, Kal. Nov. 1482, in: Lucubrationes... o.c. (n. 60) 210: "Quaerant ergo ubicunque possunt aliquem, qui... docere possit dicere et facere eumque si inveniant, omni sibi parent mercede. Nec enim consilium est eis de re vili atque contempta, sed de filiis suis, quorum utilitati futuraeque vitae omnis illorum labor invigilat". Alardus, in his commentary (p. 212), refers to Cicero, De oratore (III,57): "Nam vetus quidem illa doctrina eadem videtur et recte faciendi et bene dicendi magistra; neque disiuncti doctores, sed eidem erant vivendi praeceptores atque dicendi", and Quintilian II, xviii and XI, i, 14: "ceterum idem fere, ut dixi, in omni genere causarum proderit et decebit: est autem quod omnis et semper et ubique deceat, facere ac dicere honeste, contraque neminem unquam ullo in loco turpiter".
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[62] See e.g. August Buck: Humanismus, o.c. (n.3)
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[63] A. Grafton / L. Jardine: From Humanism to the Humanities. Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard UP, 1986, 1-28
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[64] Agricola: De inventione dialectica libri, lib. I,2, per Alardum Amstelredamum accuratius emendati et additis annotationibus illustrati, Coloniae, J. Gymnich, 1539, Reprint Frankfurt, Minerva, 1967, 9: "Ingeniosissimi itaque virorum, ex effusa illa rerum varietate communia ista capita: velut substantiam, causam, eventum, quaeque reliqua mox dicemus, excerpsere. velut cum ad considerandam rem quampiam animum advertissimus, sequentes ista: statim per omnem rei naturam et partes perque omnia consentanea et dissidentia iremus, et duceremus inde argumentum propositis rebus accommodatum". See Eckhard Kessler: "La lecture comme acte d'innovation. Lecas de la grammaire humaniste", in: Fosca Mariani Zini (Ed.): Penser entre les lignes. Philologie et philosophie au Quattrocento, Villeneuve d'Ascq, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2001, 19-51
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[65] Agricola: De inventione dialectica... o.c. (n.64) I,1; p. 5 f.: "Nec instruere solum os facultas ista, et tantum dicendi copiam subministrare: sed providentiam animi, et recte consulendi quoque aperire viam videtur , quando non alia re prudentiam constare apparet, quam perspicere, quid in quaque re sit positum, et consentanea repugnantiaque, et quo quicque ducat, quidve evenire possit, colligere... Nanque dicere prudenter, nisi qui prudenter cogitarit, non potest. Fir enim, ut, quod providerit quis, non faciat: dicit certe, quod non providerit, nemo."
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[66] Ibidem: "Utilem autem esse hanc locorum rationem apparet, cum magnae parti humanorum studiorum (quandoquidem plaeraque in ambiguo haerent et dissentientium certaminibus sunt exposita. Exigua enim portio eorum, quae discimus, certa et immota est, adeoque, si Academiae credimus, hoc solum scimus, quod nihil scimus. Certe plaeraque pro cuiusque ingenio, ut accommodatissime ad probandum quisque excogitare potuerit, alio atque alio trahuntur). See also Quintilian II,xviii, who claims, that though rhetoric is basically an active discipline (§2: in actu consistere), it is well possible, that it sometimes turns out to behave in the way of the contemplative disciplines (§3 et potest aliquando ipsa rei per se inspectione esse contenta) or, in a certain sense, it may be counted to the effective disciplines (§5: sed effectivae quoque aliquid simile scriptis orationibus vel historiis, quod ipsum opus in parte oratoria meritus ponimus, consequetur).
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[67] Cicero: De oratore I, 59: "oratorem plenum atque perfectum esse eum, qui de omnibus rebus possit copiose varieque dicere"
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[68] Cicero: De oratore III, 22: "Una est enim... eloquentia, quascumque in oras disputationis regionesve delata est; nam sive de caeli natura loquitur sive de terrae, sive de divina vi sive de humana, sive ex inferiore loco sive ex aequo sive ex superiore, sive ut impellat homines sive ut doceat sive ut deterreat sive ut concitet sive ut reflectat sive ut incendat sive ut leniat, sive ad paucos sive ad multos sive inter alienos sive cum suis sive secum, rivis est diducta oratio, non fontibus, et, quocumque ingreditur, eodem est instructu ornatuque comitata".
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[69] Erasmus: De ratione studii, o.c. (n.56) p. 119, 17 ff.: " Ergo qui volet instituere quempiam, dabit operam ut statim optima tradat (see Quintilian I,1,11), verum qui rectissime tradat optima is omnia sciat necesse est aut si id hominis ingenio negatum est, certe uniuscuiusque disciplinae praecipua... Erit igitur huic per omne scriptorum genus vagandum, ut optimum quemque primum legat, sed ita ut neminem relinquat ingustatum, etiam si parum bonus sit auctor. Atque id quo cumulatiore fructu faciat, ante locos et ordines quosdam ac formulas in hoc paratas habeat, ut quicquid usquam inciderit annotandum, id suo asscribat ordini. Sed hoc qua ratione fieri oporteat, in secundo De copia commentario demonstravimus". The second part of this quotation shows how close Erasmus' books on the copia comes to Guarino's method of reading by excerpting.
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[70] Rudolf Agricola: "In laudem philosophiae et reliquarum artium oratio, dicta in studiorum ad hiemem innovatione", in: Hans Rupprich (Ed.): Humanismus und Renaissance in den deutschen Städten und an den Universitäten (Deutsche Literatur, Riehe Humanismus und Renaissance, vol. 2) Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1964, p. 172, 32 ff.: "tertium quo profert pronuntiatque ea, quae cogitavit... quae ad loquendum pertinet, Graeci logicen, nostri rationalem,... nominaverunt"
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[71] Ibidem, p. 173, 3 ff.: "Ordiemur autem a rationali dicere... Primum tria sunt, quibus perfectae orationis munus absolvitur, ut emendata sit, ut probabilis, ut ornata, quorum integritas grammatica petitur, fides a dialectica, a rhetorica cultus."
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[72] Ibidem, p. 174, 2 ff.: "Verum quia tres simul unum perficiunt absolvuntque eloquentiae corpus..."
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[73] Ibidem, p. 173, 8 ff.: "De grammatica quidem... ut singulis verbisorigo, vis proprietas reddenda, tam varia struendae orationis praecepta tenenda sint... Tam multos deinde oportet revolvat autores, omnem historiarum vetustatem teneat, rerum secreta, quae poetae fabulis involverunt, comprehendat. Et ut semel dicam: cunctarum prorsus artium si minus versanda penetralia, vestibulum tamen introspiciendum, ut non immeritum dictum sit."
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[74] Ibidem, p. 173, 17 ff.: "...in dialecticis quoque, ut promptissimi et in omnem partem flexibilis ingenii opus sit videre unicuique convenientia... Ipsa nanque viam aditumque omnium artium aperit et certos cuiusque rei locos inveniendae promit etsigna, in quae defixo animo in promptu sit, quid pro quaque re contraque possit dici providere. Itaque mihi quidem sententia illorum minimie videtur abhorrere vero, qui quicquid orator sibi de inventione usurpat, id proprium esse dialecticae putant. For one of these" "usurpatores" see Lorenzo Valla: Repastinatio Dialectice et Philosophie II, Prooemium, ed. Gianni Zippel, Padova, Antenore, 1982, 175 f.
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[75] Ibidem, p. 173, 29 ff.: "Disponere autem, excolere et perpolire, quae quidem velut summam orationi manum rhetor imponit, ea proprie ad rhetoricam pertinere; sed haec ipsa tamen negotium felicis naturae sunt, multae artis, longae exercitationis inter tantam rerum, locorum, temporum, dicentium, audientium varietatem nosse discrimen...".
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[76] Agricola: De inventione dialectica... o.c. (n.64), p. 3: "Nec me praeterit maximis autorum placuisse, tria esse que perfecta oratione fiant: ut doceat, ut moveat, ut delectet, docere quidem rem facilem esse, & quam quisque tantum non inertissimae mentis praestare possit, concutere vero affectibus audientem & in quemcunque velis animi habitum transformare... non nisi summis & maiori quodam Musarum afflatu instinctis contingere ingeniis."
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[77] Ibidem, p. 3: "Oratio quaecunque de re quaque instituitur, omnisque adeo sermo, quo cogita mentis nostrae proferimus, id agere hocque primum et proprium habere videtur officium, ut doceat aliquid eum qui audit. Cuius rei quod certius quis propiusque capiat indicium, quam quod soli omnium animantium homini, ut rationis doctrinaeque capaci, parens ille & autor Deus, loquendi atque orationis indulserit munus?"
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[78] Ibidem, p. 3: "Nec sane inficias ivero, esse ista (sc. movere et delectare) praecipua bene dicendi praemia, sequique orationem: verum sequi verius quam effici, potiusque accessionem esse ipsius quam proprium opus".
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[79] Petrus Ramus: Dialecticae institutiones, Paris 1543, Repr. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, Fromann-Holzboog, 1964, 5,5 ff.: "Dialectica virtus est disserendi, quod vi nominis intelligitur"... (p. 7.21 ff.: "Excitat igitur in animis nostris natura (cum disceptationis occasio oblata est) geminos quosdam motus cum ad inveniendam rei dubie fidem subtiles et acutos, tum ad exprimendam & pro modo numeroque rerum collocandam, atque estimandam prudentes et moderatos"... p.19, 45 ff.: "itaque quoniam duce natura dispositionem quandam rerum inventarum sequimur in iudicando, iudicium ab eius imitatione definiamus, doctrinam res inventas collocandi & ea collocatione de re proposita iudicandi".
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[80] Leon Battista Alberti: Profugiorum ab aerumna libri III, in: Opere volgari, ed. Cecil Grayson, Bd. II, Bari 1966, 160 f.: "Così avviene presso de' litterati. Gl'ingegni d'Asia e massime e' Greci, in più anni, tutti insieme furono inventori di tutte l'arte e discipline; e construssero uno quasi tempio e domicilio in suoi scritti a Pallade e a quella Pronea, dea de' filosofi stoici, ed estesero e' pareti colla investigazione del vero e del falso: statuironvi le colonne col discernere e annotare gli effetti e forze della natura, apposervi el tetto quale difendesse tanta opera dalle tempeste avverse; e questa fu la perizia di fuggire el male, e appetire e conseguire el bene, e odiare el vizio, chiedere e amare la virtù.
Ma che interviene? Proprio el contrario da quel di sopra. Colui accolse e' minuti rimasugli, e composene el pavimento. Noi vero, dove io come colui e come quell'altro volli ornare un mio picciolo e privato diversorio tolsi da quel pubblico e nobilissimo edificio quel che mi parse accommodato a' miei disegni, e divisilo in più particelle distribuendole ove a me parse.
E quinci nacque come e' dicono: Nihil dictum quin prius dictum. E veggonsi queste cose litterarie usurpate da tanti, e in tanti loro scritti adoperate e disseminate, che oggi a chi voglia ragionarne resta altro nulla che solo el raccogliere e assortirle e poi accoppiarle insieme con qualche varietà dagli altri e adattezza dell'opera sua, quasi come suo instituto sia imitare in questo chi altrove fece el pavimento. Qual cose, dove io le veggo aggiunte insieme in modo che le convengano con suoi colori a certa prescritta e designata forma e pittura, e dove io veggo fra loro niuna grave fissura, niuna deforme vacuità, mi diletta, e iudico nulla più doversi desiderare. Ma chi sarà sì fastidioso che non approvi e lodi costui, quale in sì compositissima opera pose sua industria e diligenza?"
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[81] Nicolaus Leonicenus (1428-1524): De tribus doctrinis ordinatis secundum Galeni sententiam, s.l. / s.a. .[BSB 4 Med.g.48a/3] 12v 36-13r6 : "Haec Galeni verba aperte declarant quid sit notio finis apud ipsum scilicet finis artis alicuius mente conceptus ac desideratus, & quomodo sumpto a notione finis initio omnes artes secundum Methodum idest viam quandam atque ordinatum progressum constituuntur: Nam fine artis semel constituto atque proposito inveniuntur principia ac theoremata eiusdem artis per relationem ad finem. Ut enim Galenus inquit finis est regula & examen omnium que in quavis arte aut scientia traduntur. Illa enim principia atque theoremata artis esse dicuntur quae ad finem eius artis vel facilius vel citius assequendum utilia sunt, alioquin si nullum praestarent ad finem artis usum: Nec theoremata quidem ut ait Galenus in libro qui 'De optima doctrina' inscribitur dicerentur".
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