The Bridge - Page 12

Profile

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Who is Erasmus?

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus

Erasmus, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian. Erasmus was a classical scholar and wrote in a pure Latin style. Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament

Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation, but while he was critical of the abuses within the Catholic Church and called for reform, he kept his distance from Luther and Melanchthon and continued to recognise the authority of the pope. Erasmus remained a member of the Roman Catholic Church all his life. He also held to the Catholic doctrine of free will

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

Impact

Like many reformers, Erasmus saw the leaders of his Church abusing their powers, and he endeavored to drive the popes and cardinals and bishops back to the earlier, purer days of the Church. In Julius Exclusis, he ridiculed Pope Julius II and accused him of corruption. He saw the Church leaders desiring too much power and, in Enchiridion Militis Christiani, wrote that they denied Jesus in that desire: "It is always a source of amazement to me that popes and bishops so indiscreetly wish to be called lords or masters when Christ forbade his disciples to be called either." [1] Erasmus thought the leaders sacrificed their spiritual duties to their greed and lust and insulted Christianity by their actions.