Excerpt: ...eggs his German friends on to write against Lee and to ridicule him in all his folly and brag, and then he assures all his English friends: 'All Germany is literally furious with Lee; I have the greatest trouble in keeping them back'. Alack! Germany had other causes of disturbance: it is 1520 and the three great polemics of Luther were setting the world on fire. Though one may excuse the violence and the petty spitefulness of Erasmus in this matter, as resulting from an over-sensitive heart falling somewhat short in really manly Pg 136 qualities, yet it is difficult to deny that he failed completely to understand both the arguments of his adversaries and the great movements of his time. It was very easy for Erasmus to mock the narrow-mindedness of conservative divines who thought that there would be an end to faith in Holy Scripture as soon as the emendation of the text was attempted. '"They correct the Holy Gospel, nay, the Pater Noster itself!" the preacher exclaims indignantly in the sermon before his surprised congregation. As if I cavilled at Matthew and Luke, and not at those who, out of ignorance and carelessness, have corrupted them. What do people wish? That the Church should possess Holy Scripture as correct as possible, or not?' This reasoning seemed to Erasmus, with his passionate need of purity, a conclusive refutation. But instinct did not deceive his adversaries, when it told them that doctrine itself was at stake if the linguistic judgement of a single individual might decide as to the correct version of a text. And Erasmus wished to avoid the inferences which assailed doctrine. He was not aware of the fact that his conceptions of the Church, the sacraments and the dogmas were no longer purely Catholic, because they had become subordinated to his philological insight. He could not be aware of it because, in spite of all his natural piety and his fervent ethical sentiments, he lacked the mystic insight which is the foundation of...
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Desiderius Erasmus (ca. 1466 - 1536), the illegitimate child of a Rotterdam priest and a physician's daughter, grew up to become the greatest figure in the northern Renaissance and one of the most celebrated men in Europe-a scholar of such vast learning, sacred and secular, that both royalty and universities petitioned for his services. In this painstakingly researched and well-written biography, a noted scholar traces the life and works of Erasmus from the depths of monastic obscurity to his prominent role as one of the leading humanists of the day, and a central figure of the Reformation. We learn of Erasmus's childhood and early youth, his years as an itinerant scholar, his sojourns in France, England, Switzerland, and Italy, his close friendship with Sir Thomas More, and his theological disputations with Martin Luther. The author provides in-depth analysis of Erasmus' mind and character, and perceptive discussions of his writings, including the 1509 Lucianic satire In Praise of Folly (in the Latin, Encomin moriae, a punning allusion to More, with whom Erasmus was staying when he wrote it), which turned out to be one of his most popular and enduring works. Huizinga also discusses Erasmus' extremely influential (though controversial) translation of the New Testament from Greek into elegant Latin, which provided theologians with a much more accurate text than had previously been available. A thinker of timeless relevance, Erasmus, through his writings, exercised enormous influence on subsequent Western thought and culture. This edition of Johan Huizinga's classic biography is sure to appeal to students, scholars, and general readers.Product Description:
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