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Rudolf Agricola School

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Rudolph Agricola in his own words

Naturalis philosophia ut nihil quod usquam gigneretur, relinqueret ignotum, penetravit aperuitque cuncta totamque rerum naturam non cognitioni solum, sed servituti quoque et usibus exhibuit humanis.
Science penetrates everything, exposes everything, and reveals the entire nature of things, not only for knowledge, but also to serve humanity and be useful to it.
Rodolphus Agricola, 1476.

In 1475, Rudolf Agricola left the University of Pavia to study in Ferrara, where he could also study classical Greek, which he deemed necessary for a thorough study of the humanities. According to Agricola, the entire culture and literature of Greek and Roman antiquity should be the foundation of the humanities, as was the case in Italian humanism.

The Duke of Ferrara, Ercole d'Este, also hired Agricola as an organist at his court, which was characterized by great cultural wealth. In the summer of 1476, Agricola had the honor of opening the new academic year in the presence of the Duke. This was no small distinction at a university renowned for its many scholars of international fame. On this occasion, Agricola delivered a eulogy on the sciences, in which he made the above statement. As a scholar of the humanities, he devoted himself to the study of classical literature, but he recognized the value of the sciences in a broad sense for the optimal formation of humanity, as he also emphasized in this speech. In his view, optimal formation was the highest goal and aspiration of education, and as a committed Christian, he also saw humanity as the crown of creation. In fact, his faith was strengthened by the achievements of human science.

Agricola's speech has never been translated in its entirety into Dutch, but a part of it was translated by Professor Dr. Marc van der Poel in his book Rudolf Agricola Over dialectica en humanisme (Baarn: Ambo, 1991).

Dr. A.H. (Adrie) van der Laan, Curator of Special Collections, University Library, University of Groningen.

Last modified:23 March 2023 2.37 p.m.
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