Philip Melanchthon's Humanist Politics: Greek Scholarship in a Time of Confessional Crisis

This article examines how Philip Melanchthon utilized classical Greek texts in the confessional conflicts of the Reformation. In 1521, Melanchthon published a Greek edition of Aristophanes’ Clouds as a critique of sophistry, and in 1527 he produced a Latin translation of Demosthenes’ speeches Agains...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Reformation & Renaissance review
Main Author: Batson, Alexander
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group 2022
In: Reformation & Renaissance review
Year: 2022, Volume: 24, Issue: 1, Pages: 23-43
Further subjects:B Philip Melanchthon
B Xenophon
B Aristophanes
B Greek
B Demosthenes
B Humanism
Online Access: Volltext (lizenzpflichtig)
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Summary:This article examines how Philip Melanchthon utilized classical Greek texts in the confessional conflicts of the Reformation. In 1521, Melanchthon published a Greek edition of Aristophanes’ Clouds as a critique of sophistry, and in 1527 he produced a Latin translation of Demosthenes’ speeches Against Aristogeiton as a rebuke of Johann Agricola's antinomianism. In the 1540s, when the Reformation came under political pressure from the Holy Roman Empire, Melanchthon used a 1540 edition of Xenophon to plead for political aid from the French crown and a 1547 edition of Demosthenes to critique Charles V's aggression. Finally, in 1548, as Melanchthon came under fire from Catholics and Gnesio-Lutherans, he turned to Athenian oratory to defend himself in the Augsburg Interim controversy. As these episodes show, Melanchthon's Greek scholarship was intimately connected with his career as a reformer, and Greek proved to be a powerful tool in addressing doctrinal controversy and political conflict.
ISSN:1743-1727
Contains:Enthalten in: Reformation & Renaissance review
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/14622459.2021.1999783