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(ĭrăz`məs) or

Desiderius Erasmus

(dĕsĭdēr`ēəs) [Gr. Erasmus, his given name, and Lat., Desiderius=beloved; both are regarded as the equivalent of Dutch Gerard, Erasmus' father's name], 1466?–1536, Dutch humanist, b. Rotterdam. He was ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church and studied at the Univ. of Paris. Erasmus' influence began to be felt in Europe after 1500. It was exercised through his personal contacts, his editions of classical authors, and his own writings. He was acquainted with most of the scholars of Europe and his circle of friends was especially large in England; it included Thomas More, John Colet, and Henry VIII. His editions of Greek and Latin classics and of the Fathers of the Church (especially of Jerome and Athanasius) were his chief occupation for years. His Latin edition of the New Testament was based on the original Greek text. For many years he was editor for the printer Johannes FrobenFroben, Johannes
, 1460–1527, German printer. He established himself at Basel and there in 1516 printed the Greek New Testament, edited and translated into Latin by Erasmus.
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 in Basel. Erasmus' original works are mainly satirical and critical. Written in Latin, the language of the 16th-century scholar, the most important works are Adagia (1500, tr. Adages or Proverbs), a collection of quotations; Enchiridion militis christiani (1503, tr. Manual of the Christian Knight); Moriae encomium (1509, tr. The Praise of Folly, 1979); Institutio principis christiani (1515, tr. The Education of a Christian Prince, 1968); Colloquia (1516, tr. Colloquies); and his collected letters (tr., ed. by F. M. Nichols, 1904–18; repr. 1962). Erasmus combined vast learning with a fine style, a keen and sometimes sharp humor, moderation, and tolerance. His position on the Reformation was widely denounced, especially by Martin Luther, who had first looked on Erasmus as an ally because of Erasmus' attacks on clerical abuse and lay ignorance. Though eager for church reform, Erasmus remained all his life within the Roman Catholic Church. As a humanist he deplored the religious warfare of the time because of the rancorous, intolerant atmosphere and cultural decline that it induced. Erasmus was finally brought into open conflict with Luther and attacked his position on predestination in On the Freedom of the Will.


See studies by M. M. Phillips (1949, repr. 1965), J. Huizinga (tr. 1952, repr. 1957), R. H. Bainton (1969), T. A. Dorey, ed. (1970), and G. Thompson (1974).


Desiderius , real name Gerhard Gerhards. ?1466--1536, Dutch humanist, the leading scholar of the Renaissance in northern Europe. He published the first Greek edition of the New Testament in 1516; his other works include the satirical Encomium Moriae (1509); Colloquia (1519), a series of dialogues; and an attack on the theology of Luther, De Libero Arbitrio (1524)
References in periodicals archive ?
On average, Erasmus students received a monthly grant of 252 euros ($322) which covers part of the costs of living abroad and travel expenses.
Treorchy Male Choir founder member Haydn Erasmus and, left, Mr Erasmus presents Sir Tom Jones with honorary membership of the choir
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Erasmus published these paraphrases at a moment when the Lutheran controversy was heating up; soon it would come to a boil.
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For Erasmus, the real Jerome functioned as an exemplary model of the "perfect humanist and the portrait of the true theologian" (247).
Europe's ERASMUS (acronym for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) has helped students move between universities without all the red tape to increase educational experiences in different cultures.
Still, an analysis of the form and structure of some of the Precationes aliquot novae, for example--a consideration not only of what Erasmus said but of how he said it--might have enhanced the presentation and given a glimpse of Erasmus as the master of Renaissance Latin prose.
Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen has been awarded the the prestigious Erasmusprijs, or Erasmus Prize.
However, Erasmus promoted ad fontes, viewing the earliest exposition as more definitive.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela offered the ring as a gesture of reconciliation to Candice Erasmus, 13, when the child visited her Soweto home, a spokesman for Madikizela-Mandela said Wednesday in Johannesburg, South Africa.