The life and works of Thomas More
“In fact, which should be pursued and what to avoid, you need to follow the inclination of nature, which obeys the mind”
More than four centuries have passed since that July morning, when a large area against the tower of London climbed the scaffold man, arousing admiration and surprise of his contemporaries. Personality and the fate of this man, apparently, will never cease to excite not only the people of the XX century, but also future generations. Thomas More: writer, humanist, poet, dreamer and thinker, lawyer, politician and theologian, friend of Erasmus and the Lord Chancellor of the Kingdom.
Among the many contemporaries about this man truly prophetic meaning became now the words, written in 1520, Robert Whittington, Oxford grammatical and one of the admirers of the author of “Utopia“:
“More – human angelic mind, and rare scholarship. Equal to him I don’t know. Because where else can you find a man of such nobility, modesty and courtesy? And if that time is indulging in amazing gaiety and fun, otherwise same time – sad severity. Man for all times”.
Thomas more came from a wealthy family, the London lawyers. Father More was a Royal judge and even received a noble title. In his own words More, his family was “though not noble, but the honest kind.”
Sir John More (father Thomas) was a man of strict rules, he believed that his son should follow in the footsteps of his father. So the fate of the young Thomas was partly predetermined in advance: it was expecting secured his career as a full member of the London Corporation of lawyers and revenue office of the lawyer or the judge. Initial education Thomas received in grammar school at the hospital of St. Anthony, which was considered one of the best primary schools in London. John Stau reports that in his school years (30-th years of the XVI century) it was famous for its teachers.
The main subject was Latin. Children were taught to write and speak Latin. The study of Latin included the elements of rhetoric. Then, then according to English custom to send sons 12-14 years to serve as pages in one of the noble families, sir John Mor thanks a bunch was able to arrange a son in Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury (later cardinal) John Morton. The Archbishop was widely educated man, a scientist, a lawyer, an architect, an experienced diplomat and statesman. In the reign of Henry VII Morton was, for a time Lord Chancellor of England. Life in the family of Morton was a good school for young Thomas More.
Appreciating the remarkable ability More for languages and literature, the Archbishop wanted his pupil continued their education in this academic environment, and in 1492, on the advice of John Morton More identified the son in the University of Oxford. Thomas More studied at Canterbury College, Oxford, founded by the Benedictines In Oxford More spent less than two years. As every beginner student the first two years in Oxford More had to learn the traditional Trivium: grammar, rhetoric and logic.
In 1504, the 26-year-old More elected to Parliament as a member of the house of Commons. This was the last Parliament during the reign of Henry VII, who had gathered on the 20th of January, 1504, and was dissolved at the end of March. In that year king Henry VII demanded that the house of Commons approval of new subsidies – feudal pomoca on the occasion of the initiation into the knights in 1489, his eldest son, Prince Arthur, who died two years before Parliament, and on the occasion of the marriage in 1503, his daughter Princess Margaret.
It is known that before the deputies made pestilence and so boldly and convincingly rejected the claims of the king, the house of Commons entirely supported him. On this occasion the king was informed that some “beardless boy upset the whole plan.” After this incident, fearing reprisals, More leaves politics for a long time.
Life More in London during the first decade of the sixteenth century is a time of intense spiritual searching and hard work. The writings of Plato and Aristotle, Lucian and the fathers of the Church – this is the circle of scientific interests of the young lawyer. But, by his own admission Mora, especially deep ideological and moral impact it had on John Colette, who became his real spiritual leader.
It appealed to him More at the time of their thoughts about life calling and moral duty. In an extant letter More the Silhouette reflected a painful rift between moral ideal the younger More: to follow the gospel covenants and harsh reality. More keenly and painfully felt the cruelty and immorality of the world social injustice, greed and filthy lucre and complete powerlessness that any change:
“Everywhere gnashing of hatred, everywhere murmurs of anger and envy, everywhere people serve their own belly; – takes precedence over the life of this world the devil himself”.
This disorder was a cause of deep spiritual crisis More, nearly brought him to the monastery.
The family of sir Thomas more, was extensive and features high morals.
Impact on More his friends humanists can be traced in two directions. On the one hand, More, like them, was fond of antiquity, he was an ardent advocate of the study of the Greek language. On the other hand, Mor was captured prereformation projects of the Tunic, called “clear” the Catholic Church from the scholastic intricacies and dogmatism, cast such a shadow over, according to the humanists, the true meaning of the teachings of Christ, expressed in the New Testament. In February, 1512, The tunic was made before the meeting of the English clergy with a call to reform the Church, “to clear it from vices.”
Religious-ethical interpretation of socio-political problems was the originality of humanistic thinking man’s Tunic and his followers, among whom were Thomas more and Erasmus. Not by chance in the scientific literature they were called “Christian humanists”. Out of touch with Christian Ecumenical approach cannot fully understand human approach to socio-political problems of Europe in XVI century, which was embodied in the Communist ideal of “Utopia” More.
So “mysterious” for the historian of the twentieth century Communist “Utopia” More was so close and clear to his fellow humanists-Erasmus, Giles, Bede and others, strongly contributed to the popularization of this book in Europe. In the perception of the reader-humanist of the sixteenth century. universalism “Utopia” with its Communist ideal property does not transgress the limits of Evangelical doctrine and similar to the philosophy of the author “Praise of folly” by Erasmus.
Important for the formation and development of the worldview More had his meeting with Erasmus, marked the beginning of their friendship. Mora was a little more than 20 years, when he became acquainted with Erasmus.
Until 1509, Thomas Moore led a life common to London lawyer. Business qualities Mora as a lawyer, experienced latinist and he had largely contributed to the growth of its popularity in the business circles of the city. In January 1510, they elected him as their member of Parliament. In the archives of that time preserved a brief entry:
“More is Youngest member of Parliament from London”.
In the same 1510 More was appointed to the position of one of the two assistant Sheriff of London. New responsibilities More was to be a legal Advisor to the mayor and Sheriff, as well as represent them in the court of the city of London. According to Erasmus, his honesty in this post More deserved “the greatest love of their fellow citizens”. More was assistant Sheriff until 1518.
Poem in honor of the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII was the embodiment of hope for a new development Europe.
In the last year More in this position, the rebellion took place in London artisans and journeymen against aliens, who was in London privileges to the detriment of local artisans. This rebellion, known as the “Evil may day”, was immediately suppressed. More as part of the deputation from the city petitioned the king to pardon the rebels.
Like many humanists, More condemned the uprising, did not believe that it can destroy the social evil and to alleviate the plight of the poor, but he sympathized with the suffering of his people and sought to help the oppressed.
Service assistant Sheriff More combined with the literary work, which he continued throughout life. The works of sir Thomas more, had not only the wealth of content, but also a variety of genres. In addition to translating from Latin to English the biography of the famous Italian philosopher, humanist Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), his literary legacy includes “the History of Richard III” and “Utopia”, a translation into Latin of the works of the ancient Greek poets and original poetic experiments on English and Latin languages, rich epistolary heritage and sharp polemical treatises against Luther and the English followers of the reformation.
The ancient tradition of freedom and hatred to various forms of tyranny that is taught in the writings of Erasmus and More in feudal Europe the sixteenth century, had a deeply progressive value, contributing to the development of Renaissance political ideology. The rationale tarnobrzeska ideas More took a great place in a number of his compositions in “the history of Richard III”, “Utopia” and finally in the Latin epigrams.
Not being able to dwell on this question, note all the same one, in our opinion, a very significant feature standpoint More on Royal power. Condemning the tyranny of the rulers, and the opposing Tirana your ideal sovereign, More decisively rejected the idea of supposedly divine origin of Royal power and developed the idea of dependence of this power from the will of the people. On this basis, More raised the question about the responsibility of the sovereign to the people, claiming that “the people of his will gives and takes power away”.
That tarnobrzeska motifs in the poetry More was not an abstraction common to humanists tribute to the ancient literary tradition, and had a direct relationship to political life, shows not only the parliamentary activities More under Henry VII, and his poem “…On the day of the coronation of Henry VIII”, salamucha political transgressions of the previous reign. More optimistically stated that “this day – the end of slavery, this day is the beginning of freedom…”.
“Utopia” of Thomas more became the ideal state.
The More poem on the coronation of Henry VIII reflected the political ideals of both the More and his friends-humanists, who educated the future Henry VIII patron of scientists and a possible supporter of the humanist reform of society. In this sense, Henry VIII was More’s kind of the opposite of the previous Emperor, allowed tax tyranny, terror and lawlessness in politics.
And the young king “once again to all … bar attracted”. That Henry VIII supposedly decided to stop abuses and voluntarily relinquished “power without borders”, which was like his father, More sees the special merit of the young king, for, “as it should, the father of the homeland he preferred”, i.e. the welfare and prosperity of the country put above his FILIAL feelings. All the good that for the sake of his people had made a noble monarch “enlightened mind”, according to the author of the poem, inspired him to “philosophy.”
And because now there is no reason to “cringed the whole people before the king.” The king now do not fear and love, so as to fear when there’s nothing more now.” “Well, if suddenly hostility suddenly mighty princes like, it will end immediately she broken the will to thy will.”
But, besides the danger of the feudal revolts, there is another source of confusion, even more dangerous. This, according to More, “perturbations of popular fury that usually the head of all civil unrest”. However enlightened and wise young king, who inherited the virtues of his ancestors, as thrift, generosity, pious mind and an honest heart, you can not be afraid of trouble, for all its citizens, he is so pleasant, “that no one afford to be nicer couldn”. This king welcomes and supports “all the best”, that exists in the country. And the best in England, according to Mora, this “fair hands” and “noble minds”.
So, humanistic orientation works More obvious. In their optimistic hopes associated with the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII, I. Mor was not alone. He sincerely believed in the possibility of the realization of the ideal of enlightened monarchy. For More, as well as for Erasmus, goodwill enlightened monarch was seen as the most acceptable and realistic means to exercise reasonable transformation of society based on humanistic principles.
The future, as we know, made More, Erasmus and their friends bitterly disappointed not only in the person of Henry VIII, the enlightenment which did not prevent him from becoming a cruel despot, but also in the ideal of an enlightened sovereign, which the humanists took such an important role in combating the evils of contemporary society.
Meanwhile, based on the humanistic concept of More, good sir, must be concerned primarily about the welfare of his subjects. Otherwise, he is a tyrant, a real disaster for his people; “Long live, your people will shave the king insatiable…”, and it is very misguided to believe that “greedy king saturated: this leech will always be yourself fill”. It is easy to see that the material for thinking, “what the condition of the state’s best”, IOE, like his fellow humanists, drew not only from contemporary reality, but also from the history of the ancient world.
Epigrams More of the clergy content is very close to “the Praise of folly” by Erasmus and find the common ground between two friends on the contemporary clergy and objectives of the reform of the Church. In fairness this provision, in addition to these epigrams, convinces us also a number of letters-pamphlets More against obscurantism and in defense of the author of the “Praise of folly”, suffered a sudden attack Orthodox-minded theologians. These are, in particular, letters More to Martin Dorp, Oxford University, an unknown monk, written in 1515 — 1520,
Critical views More-humanist of the Royal government and the Catholic clergy has found expression not only in the epigrams, but in such of his works as “the History of Richard III” and “Utopia”.
“I believe that human life in its value it is impossible to balance all the benefits of peace”