Erudition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Portrait of a man writing at a table (Scholar in his study).
Portrayed is probably a Protestant preacher and theologian with the Bible opened on the table. A dog depicted as a companion to the scholar is a symbol of fidelity, vigilance and regularity in the research due to assigned to this animal natural intelligence and intuition, a parrot is a symbol of erudition and eloquence. (Hendrik Martenszoon Sorgh)

The word erudition came into Middle English from Latin. A scholar is erudite (Latin eruditus) when instruction and reading followed by digestion and contemplation have effaced all rudeness (e- (ex-) + rudis), that is to say smoothed away all raw, untrained incivility. Common usage has blurred the distinction from "learned".

Meaning[edit]

Erudition is the depth, polish and breadth that education confers. The Latin word educare means to bring out or train; hence an educated person has come to think critically and logically. An erudite person has both deep and broad familiarity with general subjects, and is usually knowledgeable in a particular subject by virtue of study and extensive reading of the subject's literature.

For example, a jurist is learned, and knows the law intimately and thoroughly. Thus, an erudite jurist has both deep, specific knowledge of the law, and broad knowledge in the form of social and historical context of law; an erudite jurist may additionally know the laws of other cultures. Erudition in a literary work incorporates knowledge and insights spanning many different fields. When such universal scholars are also at the forefront of several fields, they are sometimes called polyhistors or polymaths.

The Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi was erudite: he read and studied the classics and was deeply influenced by many philosophers. Other erudite writers include the Roman Marcus Terentius Varro, the English essayist Sir Thomas Browne and the French essayist Michel de Montaigne.

In Latin, eruditus means enlightened, or cultivated.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]