Erasmus of Rotterdam's De duplici copia was the most popular rhetorical handbook of the early modern period, but few have noticed that its first editions (1512, 1514) were published alongside his "Homily to the Boy Jesus," "De ratione studii," and a few poems that also feature the boy Jesus prominently. These texts were purposefully collected to embed the book in the educational environment of a specific school, namely, St. Paul's Grammar School, which John Colet established in the early 1500s in London.
How does our understanding of De duplici copia change when we read it in the context of these companion texts and the educational environment of the grammar school? I argue that what comes to light is the prominence and power of the boy Jesus in Erasmus's humanist thought. Erasmus believed that the boy Jesus, the one depicted for a few lines in Luke's Gospel, was the catalyst and the consummation of all education, especially education in eloquence. My readings in this article place Copia and its author in a whole new light.