The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 1802 to 1925, March-December 1527

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University of Toronto Press, 2010 - Literary Collections - 574 pages

The letters in this volume cover Erasmus' correspondence from March to December 1527. These 129 letters centre primarily on Erasmus' continuing struggle with his Catholic critics, especially those in Spain and France, and on Erasmus' growing criticism of the Protestant reform movement.

The letters show Erasmus' attempts to justify his position and to win favour with rulers, other prestigious men, and powerful institutions, all influential in both secular and religious spheres. Although the Inquisition in Spain investigated his orthodoxy and did not bring charges against him, the Paris Faculty of Theology formally condemned 112 propositions drawn from Erasmus' works in December 1527. The letters in this volume, written by and to Erasmus in this critical time, represent a unique view of a Europe torn by war and breaking apart into religious confessionalism and regionally organized churches.

Throughout all this controversy, Erasmus repeatedly protested that the sole aim of his life's work was to promote the study of humanities for the profit of both knowledge and religion.

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Contents

Map showing the principal places mentioned in volume
13
TO 1925
288
Table of Correspondents
519
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Desiderius Erasmus was born, probably in 1469, in Rotterdam, Holland. He studied in Paris, traveled in England, Germany, and Italy, and wrote in Latin. Living at the time of the Renaissance when most intellectual concepts were being examined, Erasmus was a great admirer of the ancient writers and edited many of their works. Erasmus remained a Roman Catholic, but believed that many of the priests and theologians had distorted the simple teachings of Jesus. He published an edition of the New Testament-the first edition in the original Greek-in order to make clear the essential teachings of Christianity. Erasmus liked above all things clear and honest thinking; he despised intolerance and persecution. He was the greatest of the humanists because his books, more effectively than any others, propagated a humane philosophy of life, teaching that one's chief duties are to be intelligent, open-minded, and charitable. The most famous and the most influential of Erasumus' books were The Praise of Folly (1509) and Colloquies (1518). These works, written in lively, colloquial, and witty Latin, expressed his ideas on the manners and customs of his time. Erasmus exerted a powerful influence not only through his books, but also through the private letters that he wrote to a great number of humanist scholars in all parts of Western Europe. He carried on extensive correspondences with Thomas More of England. More than 1500 of his letters survive today. Erasmus died in Basel, Switzerland, on July 12, 1536.

Charles Fantazzi is a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at East Carolina University and a professor emeritus in the Department of Classics at the University of Windsor.

James K. Farge is Senior Fellow of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto. Michael M. Sheehan was Senior Fellow of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto.

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