Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch humanist

Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch humanist

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466-1536). 1868 illustration of the Dutch humanist theologian Desiderius Erasmus. Born Gerrit Gerritszoon, Erasmus travelled all over Europe as an independent scholar. He prepared new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament as well as other Biblical and theological works. Erasmus was sympathetic to the ideas of Martin Luther, but he declined to take sides in the developing struggle of the Reformation. Erasmus criticised clerical abuses in the Church, but was committed to reform from within as he saw a need for institutional rather than doctrinal change. He wrote extensively, with his best-known work being Praise of Folly (written 1509), a satirical work on the Roman Catholic Church which he dedicated to Thomas More.

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