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5.0 von 5 Sternen A More Perfect Plan...
Thomas More, executed by Henry VIII (one of his best friends) for treason, led an illustrious career of politics and letters. Under his friend the King, he served in many capacities - Speaker of the House of Commons, Master of Requests, Privy Councillor, etc. - culminating with the trust of the position of Lord Chancellor, a position in those days matching the prominence...
Veröffentlicht am 28. Februar 2006 von FrKurt Messick

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3.0 von 5 Sternen More' s vision of an ideal society
"Utopia" The book by Sir Thomas More was written about five hundred years ago and criticises the societies of this time. But it is still a nice to read today, and let you think about the ideal world.

Probably everyone knows the meaning of Utopia. It is the ideal place of how a society should be. Sir Thomas More was the first one, who came up with this word,...
Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2011 von laxschrift


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5.0 von 5 Sternen A More Perfect Plan..., 28. Februar 2006
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Utopia (Dover Thrift Editions) (Taschenbuch)
Thomas More, executed by Henry VIII (one of his best friends) for treason, led an illustrious career of politics and letters. Under his friend the King, he served in many capacities - Speaker of the House of Commons, Master of Requests, Privy Councillor, etc. - culminating with the trust of the position of Lord Chancellor, a position in those days matching the prominence (if not the definition) of Prime Minister in these days. More's strong integrity and resolute mind caught the attention of scholars, political and church leaders internationally; it was this same integrity that most likely was his undoing, refusing to assent to the King's divorce and severance of ties binding the English Church with the Roman overlordship of the Pope. Indeed, More was, if not the actual ghostwriter, then certainly an inspiration and editorial aide to the document produced by King Henry VIII against the continental protestants, earning for Henry (and his heirs ever after) the title of Defender of the Faith (historical irony is that this title, most likely not intended to be hereditary, now declares the defense of a faith separated from the one for which the title was bestowed).
While an Ambassador to Flanders, More spent spare time writing this book, 'Utopia'. The very title is a still a by-word in the English language (as well as others) of a state of bliss and peace; it is often used with the context of being unrealistic. 'Utopia' is More's response to and development from Plato's 'Republic', in that it is a framework for a perfect society, or at least perfect according to More's ideas of the time. Penned originally in Latin, 'Utopia' has been translated widely; one of the better translations is by H.V.S. Ogden, in 1949, still reprinted in various editions to this day. Originally published in Latin in 1516, the first English version appeared in 1551, some 16 years after More's death.
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Utopia
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Thomas More writes this as if he were traveling, and meets his friend Peter Giles, who introduces him to Raphael Hythloday, a scholar/traveler with tales to tell.
Hythloday made friends with a prince who outfitted him for a journey. He traveled through deserts and fertile lands. He proceeds to give an account to Giles and More. In an ironic twist, given More's own attachment to Henry VIII, Hythloday states that he doesn't give his information in advice of kings or princes, for to be beholden to them is not a wise thing. He quotes Plato, in saying that unless kings were themselves philosophers, they should never appreciate philosophers.
More argues for public service, which Hythloday rejects as something that other place-seekers will use to bolster their own positions. Then Hythloday makes the startling pronouncement with regard to how a society should be constituted: 'As long as there is property, and while money is the standard of all things, I cannot think that a nation can be governed either justly or happily; not justly, because the best things will fall to the share of the worst men; nor happily, because all things will be divided among a few (and even these are not in all respects happy), the rest being left to the absolutely miserable.'
Hythloday proceeds to give an account of the life of Utopia, where, he says, there are so few laws and so much liberty and equality that virtue is always rewarded, and each person has what he or she needs. He talks about this under the following headings:
Of Their Towns, Particularly of Amaurot
Of Their Magistrates
Of Their Trades, and Manner of Life
Of Their Traffic
Of the Travelling of the Utopians
Of Their Slaves, and of Their Marriages
Of Their Military Discipline
Of the Religions of the Utopians
'Utopia' is a radical document. It anticipates the modern idea of communism, with private property at a minimum; it is generations ahead in the idea of equality of the sexes and freedom of religion. This may seem a remarkable statement from someone who will go to his death supporting the Roman hierarchy, but in historical irony, had religious freedom been respected in England at the time, More would have had nothing to fear.
'Utopia' was a place of education and free inquiry. Again, More's own life models this - travelers from as far away as Constantinople and Venice, visiting More's home in Chelsea, remarked on the incredible sense of knowledge and respect for reason and learning, not just for the men, but also for the women of the household (More's own daughter once impressed Henry VIII with her Latin training so much he was at pains to find something at which he excelled that he could best her at).
At different points throughout the text, More (speaking through Hythloday) jabs in witty and insightful manner the habits of the day - that kings are often more concerned to fill their own coffers than increasing the general wealth of the nation; that courts are designed to be self-serving and self-perpetuating; that liberties are curtailed not for just and reasonable causes, but often for petty personal reasons.
Some of the ideas, however, are not as modern or enlightened as they might seem at first glance. Utopians' freedom of religion exists only in very narrow bounds of reason - they are all monotheists, and while they might identify this deity with the sun or moon or a good person who died long ago, they are not permitted to speak or attempt to convert others to this idea, without risking bondage or death. Not too Utopian after all...
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More was beatified by Leo XIII in 1886 and canonised by Pius XI in 1935 (it is significant to note that Anglican-Roman relations were at a strained point during these times, and the raising of an English saint who rejected the Anglican construct served at least minor political points, something More would have been able to appreciate, if not approve). The official feast day is July 9.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen interesting, 24. Mai 2000
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Utopia (Dover Thrift Editions) (Taschenbuch)
I had to read this book for school. At the time, it wasn't very interesting, just something I had to do, but it's very short and I read it one day. Now, though, I'm really glad I've read it. It says a lot about "perfect socity" and makes you wonder if any of utopian ways of doing things would truley make people, society, better. It gives you something to discuss. Plus, I had seen Ever After before and after reading this book and it kinda gave me a new perspective on the movie afterwards. :)
There's not much of a plot to this book, it's a little hard to sit through, but I think this is one of those books you need to read, even if only to say that you've read it!
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3.0 von 5 Sternen More' s vision of an ideal society, 18. Mai 2011
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Utopia (Dover Thrift Editions) (Taschenbuch)
"Utopia" The book by Sir Thomas More was written about five hundred years ago and criticises the societies of this time. But it is still a nice to read today, and let you think about the ideal world.

Probably everyone knows the meaning of Utopia. It is the ideal place of how a society should be. Sir Thomas More was the first one, who came up with this word, that has its roots in the Greek language and means "nowhere." The book was published in Latin in 1516 under the editorship of Erasmus in Belgium.
In the first part of the book, Sir Thomas More discusses with friends and the traveler Raphael Hythloday - which means `knowing in trifles' about the illness of European societies. Especially that the kings start wars so easily, they only care for themselves and waste money. They also talk about the harsh use of the death sentence, starvation and poverty of the common people. "...every man might be put in a method how to live, and so preserved from fatal necessity of stealing and of dying for it...but that you first make thieves and then punish them?"
It is clear that More especially criticises the English policy. That is why his book was not printed in England at this time. It is sometimes hard to follow the speaking in the first part of the book, as it is often not clear, who is speaking. But the first part of the known societies leads straight to the second part in the book. There Raphael talks about his journey with Amerigo Vespucci and his discovery of the unknown island Utopia somewhere in the new world. The exact position of Utopia is unknown. The name Utopia derives from the founder King Utopus.
Sir Thomas More' s work of the ideal society is inspired by the philosopher Plato. And as More was an orthodox catholic, the Utopians only believe in one supreme god, that is called Mithras, like the deity in Romanian mythology. But the Utopians are very tolerant with other religions, as they are tolerant in almost every aspect of the community. It is a socialist community with welfare and can be seen as the first communistic life style. All people are equal, and they especially care for the elder people. There is no idleness, they just do simple work, but they think that the highest goal of every man and woman should be knowledge. "...as much time as is necessary for the improvement of their minds..." This is also a great goal in our times. The Utopians never start wars easily or condemn other opinions. "...no force but that of persuasion..."
The book "Utopia" was written some five hundred years ago, and though it criticises the societies of this times, it is still a nice lecture to let you think about the world woes today and you can make your own ideas of the perfect world. How would it be?
"...there are many things in the Commonwealth of Utopia that I rather wish, than hope, to see followed in our goverments."
Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) was a lawyer, scholar, writer and statesman under the reign of Henry VIII. He was an orthodox catholic and opposed Henry VIII' s separation from the catholic church in 1534, and the forming of the Anglican Church. After More refused to accept the king as the supreme head of the church of England, he was beheaded.
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