Historical Rhetorics/Sharratt, Peter. "Ramus 2000." ''Rhetorica'' 18.4 (2000): 399-455

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Sharratt, Peter. "Ramus 2000." Rhetorica 18.4 (2000): 399-455.

Sharratt’s article explores the scholarly work concerning Ramus and Ramism conducted during the fifteen years between 1987 and 2000. One major area of contention among scholars is how much Ramus, in the area of rhetoric, owes to those who preceded him; the majority appears to believe that Ramus, in fact, borrowed many of his ideas from the work of others. Sharratt points out how Ramus is now regarded more as an educator in theory and practice, and how Ramus’ contribution to the rise of disciplines, which he saw as a means to make education easier for all, is often derided especially for how it aided in colonization by allowing theology to more easily convert and “civilize” natives. Sharratt also states that the debate continues about how much Ramus may be considered a humanist and introduces works that have begun to evaluate in-depth the commentaries of Ramus and how these may show a humanist side to his work. One of the final aspects that Sharrat explores is how many are now studying Ramus in the context of the societal and political climate of his time and how this influenced his writings.

Discussion:

1. If Ramus is a plagiarist then why is he still important? Why not simply study those who came before him and perhaps study him for how he interprets them not as though the work was originally his?

2. If Ramus’ methodology created greater access to higher education can it be all bad?