It is not by chance that one of the most radical and enigmatic speeches in Erasmus’ production—the Encomium Moriae—was pronounced by a female character: Folly. This paper aims at interrogating Erasmus’ text not simply as the result of a carnivalesque spirit of suspension and derision of traditional order, or as a literary imitation of ancient satire, but as the expression of an original type of speech, serious from a religious point of view, that proposes itself as the alternative of the ‘male’ theological-philosophical logos, which it mocks. The Pauline and apocalyptic logic of the catastrophic inversion of the world’s values is reinterpreted by Erasmus in an Origenian lens as the revelation of the immense yet ‘foolish’ divine mercy that forgives everyone. Folly’s speech thus both condemns and forgives the foolishness of human sin. This paper will highlight both the corrosive and secularising potential of Erasmus’ scepticism, which harshly deconstructs the dogmatic naivety of human beliefs and attitudes, conceived as sin and therefore as foolishness; and Folly’s ironic exaltation of the world’s foolishness as redeemed by the maternal, ‘feminine’ and universal embrace of God’s forgiveness.

The Feminine Irony of God. A Deconstructive Reading of Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly / Battista, Ludovico. - In: ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM SOCIETY YEARBOOK. - ISSN 0276-2854. - 43, 2(2023), pp. 160-184. [10.1163/18749275-04302004]

The Feminine Irony of God. A Deconstructive Reading of Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly

Ludovico Battista
2023

Abstract

It is not by chance that one of the most radical and enigmatic speeches in Erasmus’ production—the Encomium Moriae—was pronounced by a female character: Folly. This paper aims at interrogating Erasmus’ text not simply as the result of a carnivalesque spirit of suspension and derision of traditional order, or as a literary imitation of ancient satire, but as the expression of an original type of speech, serious from a religious point of view, that proposes itself as the alternative of the ‘male’ theological-philosophical logos, which it mocks. The Pauline and apocalyptic logic of the catastrophic inversion of the world’s values is reinterpreted by Erasmus in an Origenian lens as the revelation of the immense yet ‘foolish’ divine mercy that forgives everyone. Folly’s speech thus both condemns and forgives the foolishness of human sin. This paper will highlight both the corrosive and secularising potential of Erasmus’ scepticism, which harshly deconstructs the dogmatic naivety of human beliefs and attitudes, conceived as sin and therefore as foolishness; and Folly’s ironic exaltation of the world’s foolishness as redeemed by the maternal, ‘feminine’ and universal embrace of God’s forgiveness.
2023
‘Feminine’; Jacques Derrida; gender; deconstruction; phallogocentrism; Origen of Alexandria; accommodatio
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
The Feminine Irony of God. A Deconstructive Reading of Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly / Battista, Ludovico. - In: ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM SOCIETY YEARBOOK. - ISSN 0276-2854. - 43, 2(2023), pp. 160-184. [10.1163/18749275-04302004]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1690808
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