Drunkeness and Ignorance
by Erasmus

Erasmus invents Greek names for Drunkenness and Ignorance. The connexion between Bacchus and his daughter Drunkenness is clear. Pan, the father of Ignorance, was the half-goat Arcadian god, frightening, angry and haunter of wildernesses.

Although Folly boasts here that she was nursed by Drunkenness and Ignorance, it is important not to forget that the intoxication induced by Bacchus became in Renaissance authors like Rabelais and Pontus de Tyard a figure of the divine 'furor' of the Platonist tradition which, in Marsilio Ficino, was the beginning of the soul's reunification in its ascent to beatitude. In the same way, ignorance is at this date an equivocal concept, since some at least of the evangelical-humanists were heavily indebted to the idea of a 'learned ignorance' used by Nicolas of Cusa in his de docta ignorantia to describe human receptivity to divine knowledge. Postel, Bigot and Rabelais were to make Pan, here the father of Ignorance, into a figure of Christ, the Good Shepherd, an identification suggested by Paul Marsus's commentary on Ovid's Fasti. It is difficult to know whether Erasmus intended the ambivalence in Folly's nurses. The importance of the Plotinian mysticism of Fieino for Erasmus is still disputed.

Note to My Birth And Education which is Part 1 of Folly Speaks from "The Praise Of Folly"

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