77 Facts About Erasmus


Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus was a Dutch philosopher and Catholic theologian who is considered one of the greatest scholars of the Northern Renaissance.


Erasmus wrote On Free Will, In Praise of Folly, Handbook of a Christian Knight, On Civility in Children, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style and many other works.


Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation.


Erasmus remained a member of the Catholic Church all his life, remaining committed to reforming the Church and its clerics' abuses from within.


Erasmus held to the doctrine of synergism, which some Reformers rejected in favor of the doctrine of monergism.


Erasmus died suddenly in Basel in 1536 while preparing to return to Brabant and was buried in Basel Muenster, the former cathedral of the city.


Erasmus's father, Gerard, was a Catholic priest and curate in Gouda.


Erasmus's mother was Margaretha Rogerius, the daughter of a doctor from Zevenbergen.


Erasmus was given the highest education available to a young man of his day, in a series of monastic or semi-monastic schools.


Erasmus was exposed there to the Devotio moderna movement and the Brethren's famous book The Imitation of Christ but eschewed the harsh rules and strict methods of the religious brothers and educators.


For instance, Erasmus became an intimate friend of an Italian humanist Publio Fausto Andrelini, poet and "professor of humanity" in Paris.


Erasmus traveled to England several times, staying for several years each time.


Erasmus's rooms were located in the "I" staircase of Old Court, and he showed a marked disdain for the ale and weather of England.


Erasmus suffered from poor health and complained that Queens' College could not supply him with enough decent wine.


Until the early 20th century, Queens' College used to have a corkscrew that was purported to be "Erasmus' corkscrew", which was a third of a metre long; as of 1987, the college still had what it calls "Erasmus' chair".


Today Queens' College has an Erasmus Building and an Erasmus Room.


Erasmus's legacy is marked for someone who complained bitterly about the lack of comforts and luxuries to which he was accustomed.


Erasmus was particularly impressed by the Bible teaching of John Colet, who pursued a style more akin to the church fathers than the Scholastics.


Discovery in 1506 of Lorenzo Valla's New Testament Notes encouraged Erasmus to continue the study of the New Testament.


Erasmus preferred to live the life of an independent scholar and made a conscious effort to avoid any actions or formal ties that might inhibit his individual freedom.


In England Erasmus was approached with prominent offices but he declined them all, until the King himself offered his support.


Erasmus was inclined, but eventually did not accept and longed for a stay in Italy.


Erasmus did however assist his friend John Colet by authoring Greek textbooks and procuring members of staff for the newly established St Paul's School.


Erasmus then was present when Pope Julius II entered victorious into the conquered Bologna which he had besieged before.


Erasmus travelled on to Venice, working on an expanded version of his Adagia at the Aldine Press of the famous printer Aldus Manutius, and was an honorary member of the Aldine Academy.


Erasmus had accepted an honorary position as a Councillor to Charles V He stayed in various locations including Anderlecht.


Erasmus's departure was mainly because he feared his loss of impartiality and prominent reformators like Oekolampad urged him to stay.


Erasmus requested a "Publication Privilege" for the Novum Instrumentum omne to ensure that his work would not be copied by other printers.


Erasmus was invited by Cisneros to work on Complutensian Polyglot edition in 1517; he offered him a bishop's office.


The fear of their publishing first, though, affected Erasmus's work, rushing him to printing and causing him to forgo editing.


Erasmus had been working for years on two projects: a collation of Greek texts and a fresh Latin New Testament.


Erasmus collected all the Vulgate manuscripts he could find to create a critical edition.


For instance, since the last six verses of Revelation were missing from his Greek manuscript, Erasmus translated the Vulgate's text back into Greek.


Erasmus retranslated the Latin text into Greek wherever he found that the Greek text and the accompanying commentaries were mixed up, or where he simply preferred the Vulgate's reading to the Greek text.


Erasmus said it was "rushed into print rather than edited", resulting in a number of transcription errors.


Erasmus's hurried effort was published by his friend Johann Froben of Basel in 1516 and thence became the first published Greek New Testament, the Novum Instrumentum omne, diligenter ab Erasmo Rot.


Erasmus used several Greek manuscript sources because he did not have access to a single complete manuscript.


Erasmus had been unable to find those verses in any Greek manuscript, but one was supplied to him during production of the third edition.


Erasmus published a fourth edition in 1527 containing parallel columns of Greek, Latin Vulgate and Erasmus's Latin texts.


In 1535 Erasmus published the fifth edition which dropped the Latin Vulgate column but was otherwise similar to the fourth edition.


Erasmus dedicated his work to Pope Leo X as a patron of learning and regarded this work as his chief service to the cause of Christianity.


Erasmus believed that his work so far had commended itself to the best minds and to the dominant powers in the religious world.


Erasmus did not build a large body of supporters with his letters.


Erasmus chose to write in Greek and Latin, the languages of scholars.


Erasmus had written On Free Will on the Lutheran view on free will.


The content of Erasmus's works engaged with later thought on the state of the question, including the perspectives of the via moderna school and of Lorenzo Valla, whose ideas he rejected.


Erasmus declined to commit himself, arguing that to do so would endanger his position as a leader in the movement for pure scholarship which he regarded as his purpose in life.


When Erasmus hesitated to support him, the straightforward Luther became angered that Erasmus was avoiding the responsibility due either to cowardice or a lack of purpose.


Apart from these perceived moral failings of the Reformers, Erasmus dreaded any change in doctrine, citing the long history of the Church as a bulwark against innovation.


Erasmus identified anyone who questioned the perpetual virginity of Mary as blasphemous.


Erasmus, they said, had laid the egg, and Luther had hatched it.


Erasmus wittily dismissed the charge, claiming that Luther had hatched a different bird entirely.


Certain works of Erasmus laid a foundation for religious toleration and ecumenism.


In 1530, Erasmus published a new edition of the orthodox treatise of Algerus against the heretic Berengar of Tours in the eleventh century.


Erasmus added a dedication, affirming his belief in the reality of the Body of Christ after consecration in the Eucharist, commonly referred to as transubstantiation.


Erasmus wrote both on church subjects and those of general human interest.


Erasmus spend nine months in Venice at the Aldine Press expanding the Adagia to over three thousand entries; in the course of 27 editions, it expanded to over four thousand entries in Basel at the Froben press.


Erasmus emphasized personal spiritual disciplines and called for a reformation which he characterized as a collective return to the Fathers and Scripture.


Erasmus applies the general principles of honor and sincerity to the special functions of the Prince, whom he represents throughout as the servant of the people.


Erasmus preferred for the prince to be loved, and strongly suggested a well-rounded education in order to govern justly and benevolently and avoid becoming a source of oppression.


Erasmus accuses Hutten of having misinterpreted his utterances about reform and reiterates his determination never to break with the Catholic Church.


Erasmus did not follow the contemporary mainstream which saw the woman as a subject to the man, but suggested the man was to love the woman similar as he would Christ, who descended to earth to serve.


Erasmus saw the role of the woman as a socia to the man.


Erasmus wrote of the legendary Frisian freedom fighter and rebel Pier Gerlofs Donia, though more often in criticism than in praise of his exploits.


Erasmus saw him as a dim, brutal man who preferred physical strength to wisdom.


Erasmus criticizes those that spend the Church's riches at the people's expense.


Erasmus criticizes the riches of the popes, believing that it would be better for the Gospel to be most important.


Erasmus had remained loyal to the papal authorities in Rome, but he did not have the opportunity to receive the last rites of the Catholic Church; the reports of his death do not mention whether he asked for a priest or not.


Erasmus was buried with great ceremony in the Basel Minster.


Protestant views of Erasmus fluctuated depending on region and period, with continual support in his native Netherlands and in cities of the Upper Rhine area.


However, Erasmus designated his own legacy, and his life works were turned over at his death to his friend the Protestant humanist turned remonstrator Sebastian Castellio for the repair of the breach and divide of Christianity in its Catholic, Anabaptist, and Protestant branches.


Erasmus is blamed for the mistranslation from Greek of "to call a bowl a bowl" as "to call a spade a spade".


Erasmus's headgear was exceptional at the time, as it was upholstered at the back.


Erasmus has chosen the Roman god of the borders Terminus as a personal symbol and had a signet ring with a herm he thought included a depiction of Terminus carved into a carnelian.


The Collected Works of Erasmus, is an 84 volume set of English translations and commentary from the University of Toronto Press.


Late in his publishing career, Erasmus produced editions of two pre-scholastic writers:.


Classical writers whose works Erasmus translated or edited include Lucian, Euripides, Curtius, Cicero, Ovid and Prudentius, Galen, Seneca, Plutarch, Terence.