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Learned, Wise and Good. Justus Lipsius: Portrait of a Humanist Scholar
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Learned, Wise and Good. Justus Lipsius: Portrait of a Humanist Scholar

(Jan Papy) The Low Countries - 1998, № 6, pp. 149-154

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‘I loved whatever was good and good people too and I was respected: I have applied myself to learning, in particular to wisdom,' These are the words used by the Flemish humanist Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) to describe himself in his autobiographical letter of 1600; and not without reason, for sixteen years earlier, in his first philosophical treatise ‘De Constantia', he summed up his ideal of the wise stoic as ‘A learned man that is high praise A wise man! that is higher. A good man! that is the highest praise'. Moreover Michel de Montaigne with whom Lipsius corresponded wrote of him: ‘Justus Lipsius le plus sçavant homme qui nous reste'.

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