Rudolph Agricola


Rudolph Agricola was a Dutch scholar, humanist, teacher and musician. He is considered to be the father of northern European humanism and an avid critic of scholasticism.

He is best known for his book De inventione dialectica that created a proper place for a broadly defined logic in rhetorical studies. The book emphasizes argumentation, then called dialectics, treating it as a means of communication rather than as a way of accessing the truth. In this way Agricola differs from his predecessors, such as Aristotle. His book draws from a wide variety of sources, including ideas of historians, poets, orators, and the works of Aristotle and Cicero.

Also in his De inventione Dialectica, (III xvii) Agricola mentions having taught person who was deaf and non-speaking to communicate orally and in writing.

Writings of Agricola

McNally, J. R. (1967), Rudolph Agricola's De inventione dialectica libri tres: A translation of selected chapters. Speech Monographs 34, 4, 393-422.

Writings about Agricola

Rebhorn, W. (editor and translator) (2000). Renaissance debates on rhetoric. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.