College of Arts and Sciences

Renaissance Studies


Meet the Author

ErasmusThe College Arts & Humanities Institute (CAHI) and the Renaissance Studies Program invite you to a presentation by Eric MacPhail on his book The Sophistic Renaissance

5:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
College Arts & Humanities Institute
1211 East Atwater Avenue

The Sophistic Renaissance traces the fragmentary fortune of the ancient Greek sophists in the European Renaissance. After examining the textual tradition of the sophists from antiquity to the Renaissance and documenting their notoriety in humanist commentaries, the study surveys a broad range of literary texts that share the sophistic impulse to revel in opposing arguments and to exploit the capacity of speech to neutralize itself and to undermine all dogmatic convictions. The two authors who emerge as the champions of this relativistic Renaissance are Desiderius Erasmus and Michel de Montaigne. Ultimately, The Sophistic Renaissance seeks to put Erasmus and Montaigne in dialogue both with each other and with some of the most challenging and provocative voices of the classical past. MacPhail will address the association of sophistic and atheism and the understanding of religion as an instrument of rule.

MacPhail's research focuses on Renaissance humanism and the classical tradition.  He is currently working on the circulation of commonplaces in Renaissance culture and on the relationship of ethics and rhetoric in literary texts. He is also a recipient of an Andrew Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.

MacPhail is a Professor of French

If you have a disability and need assistance, accommodations can be made to address most needs. Please call 856-1169 for assistance. College Arts & Humanities Institute