The Theory of Friendship in Erasmus and Thomas More

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 80 (2):227-252 (2006)
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The foundation of humanist friendship and its purpose lay in the sharing of the Christian faith accompanied by the love of classical letters. The ideas of Erasmus concerning friendship are best developed in his Adagia, and thus in relationship to the ancient proverbs on the subject. The approval given by him to the classical, humanistic ideal of noble, virtuous, equal, and lasting friendship contrasts with Thomas More’s traditional conception of friendship which derived directly from Christian sources. More held that the experience of friendship is a partial anticipation of the secure friendship of heaven, where we may hope that all will “be merry together”—not just our friends in this life but our enemies too.



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