SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Erasmus (c.1466-1536), Dutch theologian. Born Gerrit Gerritszoon, and later known as Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, Erasmus studied in monastic schools, and then travelled all over Europe as an independent scholar. He prepared a new edition of the New Testament (published in 1516), 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. His best-known work is Praise of Folly (written 1509), a satirical work on the Roman Catholic Church.
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