Erasmus from Rotterdam

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Erasmus von Rotterdam is working on his humanistic writings in his studio.
Erasmus, pictured by Quentin Massys (1517)
Erasmus portrayed by Hans Holbein the Younger (1523)

Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (* probably on 28. October 1466 / 1467 / 1469 , probably in Rotterdam , †  11 / 12. July 1536 in Basel ) was a scholar of Renaissance humanism . Born in the Burgundian Netherlands , part of the Holy Roman Empire , he was a theologian , priest , Augustinian canon , philologist and author of numerous books.


Childhood and adolescence, schooling in Deventer (1478–1485)

Erasmus was born as the illegitimate son of the Catholic Gouda priest Rotger Gerard († 1484) and the widowed Zevenberg doctor's daughter Margaretha Rogerius († 1483) (the Latinized form from the Dutch surname "Rutgers"), his housekeeper, probably in Rotterdam between 1464 and 1469 born. He had a brother named Pieter, three years his senior, with whom he was raised. Erasmus added the nickname Desiderius (the Desired) later and used it from 1496.

Between 1473 and 1478 Erasmus was a student of his uncle and later guardian, the schoolmaster Pieter Winckel at the parish school (St. Johannes School) in Gouda , a forerunner of the Latin school and today's Coornhert grammar school . Erasmus commented on his school attendance there quite negatively (“ea schola tunc adhuc erat barbara”). During this time he received music lessons from the singing master and composer Jacob Obrecht in Utrecht .

Together with his brother he attended from 1478 to 1485 the Latin school belonging to the St. Lebuinus Abbey of the Brothers of Living Together , where Alexander Hegius and Frater Johannes Synthius (approx. 1450-1533) taught him in Deventer . There Erasmus saw and heard Rudolf Agricola , whom he saw as an example and inspiration throughout his life, and who also aroused his interest in the literature of classical antiquity .

Originally wanted Erasmus after his schooling at the university in Hertogenbosch go, but a possible plague - epidemic or English welding - pandemic , Sudor Anglicus , the first and then that killed his mother his father prevented the visit to the university. So his guardian decided to prepare the boy for religious life. His brother Pieter had already entered the Sion monastery (regular canon according to the rules of St. Augustine) near Delft .

Augustinian canon (1487), ordained priest (1492), secretary (1493–1499)

In 1485 Erasmus left Latin school without a qualification, but with excellent knowledge of Latin . In 1487 Erasmus became a regular canon in the monastery of the Augustinian canons Klooster Emmaüs te Stein near Gouda . During this time he wrote a series of letters to a younger novice named Servatius Rogerus , the prior of the monastery from 1504. In these letters he clearly and passionately expressed his affection for his confrere. He shared his interest in classical literature and poetry with his older (letter) friend Cornelius Aurelius (approx. 1460–1531), Augustinian canon near Leiden .

Erasmus was ordained priest as a canon in April 1492 and left the monastery the following year as secretary in the service of the Bishop of Cambrai Heinrich von Glymes and Berghes (Henri de Bergues and Hendrik van Bergen), which he later never entered again. His long-time friend Jacobus Batt (around 1464–1502), a teacher and later city secretary of Bergen , whose vita includes a study visit to Paris, gave him this position as secretary . After Erasmus lost the support of Bishop Henri de Bergues, the noblewoman van Borselen took over the secretary's position for a short time from 1499.

Studied (1495–1499), private teacher (1498–1500), England, Netherlands (1499–1515)

From 1495 to 1499 he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris theology . During his first stay in Paris an illness interrupted his studies. In addition, there were financial problems due to poor support from Bishop Henri de Bergues and poor supplies at the Collège Montaigu. He lived with eighty other students at the Collège Montaigu across from the Ste.-Geneviève Abbey on the left bank of the Seine . The college was led by Jan Standonck (1453–1504). In Paris, Erasmus had contact with the French humanists , he met Robert Gaguin († 1501) and through him Fausto Andrelini († 1518) know. In the spring of 1496 Erasmus fell ill and went to Holland; he later blamed the poor living conditions in the Collège Montaigu for the disease. After a short break he returned to Paris in 1496, but then lived in private accommodation. In order to finance his living, he taught the brothers Heinrich and Christian Northoff from Lübeck , who lived with an Augustijn Vincent.

From November 1498 he was Lord Mountjoy's tutor and lived in his apartment in Paris. In the summer of 1499 he went to Bedwell in Hertfordshire , England with his student Lord Mountjoy . There he became acquainted with Thomas More and John Colet , later also with William Warham , John Fisher and the young Prince Heinrich, later King Henry VIII. More took him in 1499 to the residence in Eltham Palace , where Heinrich grew up with his younger siblings . He later maintained regular correspondence in Latin with the adult king. In England he got to know and appreciate courtly life and developed from a canon to a worldly scholar.

From 1500 to 1506 he stayed alternately in the Netherlands, Paris and England. He turned down a call to the University of Leuven in 1502 when he had temporarily concentrated on the translation of Greek texts. In 1506 he moved to Italy, which he toured until 1509 and where he conducted intensive scriptural studies. In Turin ( Duchy of Savoy ) he received his doctorate in theology; associated with this he received the title of imperial baron. In Venice he met the publisher Aldus Manutius and had some of his works printed by him.

He then moved back to England , where he taught Greek at Cambridge University . Erasmus taught at Queens' College , Cambridge from 1510 to 1515 . Archbishop William Warham appointed Erasmus rector of St Martin's Church in Aldington in 1511 . There he lived in the parsonage next to the church, but since he only spoke Latin and Dutch, he could not carry out his pastoral duties in English . A year later he resigned from office. He put forward kidney problems, which he blamed on the local beer. He then commuted between England, Burgundy and Basel for years . Back from England, Erasmus worked for a few years at the court of Burgundy in Leuven, among other things as educator (councilor) of Prince Charles, who later became Emperor Charles V.

Basel Years (1514–1529), Leuven (1517) and Freiburg Years (1529–1535)

The University of Basel as a place of work between 1514 and 1529

From 1514 to 1529 Erasmus lived and worked in Basel ( Old Confederation ) and had his writings printed in the workshop of his later friend Johann Froben . Although Erasmus never studied or taught at the University of Leuven , he stayed in Leuven for a few months in 1517 and helped found the Collegium Trilingue . This institution for the study of Latin , Greek and Hebrew was the first institution of its kind in Europe; there, Greek and Hebrew texts were no longer studied in Latin translations, but in their original versions. In 1518 the first edition of the Colloquia familiaria ("Familiar Conversations"), one of the most popular books of the 16th century, appeared. Often regarded as his masterpiece, the Scriptures criticize the abuses of the Church with courage and sharpness. Albrecht Dürer met Erasmus during his trip to the Netherlands (1520/21) and made a portrait drawing of him (see fig.). In 1521 Erasmus stayed for a few months to work in Anderlecht , which is now a suburb of Brussels. A museum in the Erasmus House there commemorates this stay.

Portrait of Erasmus, drawn by Albrecht Dürer around 1520

In 1524 he met Johannes a Lasco for the first time , the later reformer of Friesland, who became one of his favorite students. When the Zwingli- based Reformation operated by Johannes Oekolampad prevailed in Basel, he went to Freiburg im Breisgau in 1529 , because as a priest and Augustinian canon he rejected the Reformation. There he initially lived in the Zum Walfisch house and in 1531 - now wealthy - bought the Zum Kindlein Jesu house (Schiffstrasse 7, which is now a shopping mall).

In May 1535 Erasmus received a visit from Raffaelo Maruffo, a Genoese merchant friend. After a long stay in England, he was on his way back to Italy and reported to him about the causa More . The Tudor King Henry VIII had declared himself head of the English Church and ordered the former Lord Chancellor Thomas More in April 1534 to recognize this measure by means of an oath. Because More refused, he - together with Bishop John Fisher of Rochester - was imprisoned in the Tower of London and put on trial. Erasmus reported on the predicament of the two defendants in a letter to Erasmus Schedt on June 18, 1535 , in which he expressed his incomprehension about the actions of Henry VIII. More was eventually sentenced to death and beheaded on July 6, 1535 at the age of 57 . Erasmus only found out about the execution of his friend in a letter dated August 10 and another from Tilman Gravis . Erasmus had stayed longer in England and dedicated his famous praise to folly to his friend Thomas . After More's death Erasmus found the praiseworthy words: “Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, whose soul was purer than the purest snow, whose genius was as great as England never had, and will never have again, although England has a mother of great ones Ghosts. "

Return to Basel (1535) and the last few years

In 1535 he returned to Basel and died there on July 12, 1536. The high reputation that Erasmus enjoyed despite his rejection of the Reformation was evident in the fact that he was a Catholic priest in a time of fierce confessional disputes in the now Protestant Münster was buried. Parts of his estate are exhibited in the Basel Historical Museum .


This was Dürer's last engraving.  It was created at the request of Erasmus.  Dürer used portrait drawings from 1520 and a medal by the artist Quentin Massys.
Erasmus portrayed by Albrecht Dürer in 1526.

Erasmus spoke and wrote mostly in Latin , but also mastered Greek . He was a fruitful author; according to current knowledge, he has written about 150 books. In addition, over 2000 letters have been received from him. Because of his fine expression, his letters received a lot of attention in Europe. It is estimated that he wrote about 1,000 words a day on paper. His collected works were published in 1703 in ten volumes.

He saw himself (with the new printing technology ) as a mediator of education: “People are not born as humans, but raised as such!” As a text critic, editor ( Church Fathers , New Testament ) and grammarian, he founded modern philology . The pronunciation that is common in western countries today, especially the emphasis on ancient Greek , goes back to him . The correct pronunciation is now controversial and can no longer be clarified beyond doubt, although there is a largely accepted reconstruction in science. See ancient Greek phonology .


His best-known work today is the satire In Praise of Folly (Laus stultitiae) from 1509, which he dedicated to his friend Thomas More . In this "exercise in style" (as he called it) he countered deeply rooted errors with mockery and seriousness and advocated reasonable beliefs. For this he found the ironic words: “The Christian religion is very close to a certain folly; on the other hand it gets along badly with wisdom! "

In the satire Julius in front of the locked door of heaven (1513), which he wrote after the death of the "soldier pope" Julius II , Erasmus showed himself to be a gifted formulator who loved irony.

Theological writings

Published in 1516 Erasmus a critical edition of the Greek New Testament, Novum Instrumentum omne , diligenter from Erasmo red. Recognitum et Emendatum , with a new, even from it by revising the Vulgate created Latin translation and commentary. Erasmus' New Testament was the first full printed Greek text of the New Testament available (another earlier project to print the text had stalled and came out later). Apparently Erasmus initially saw the Greek text only as an accessory to his new Latin version in order to be able to justify his changes compared to the Vulgate. He dedicated this issue to Pope Leo X , making use of newly discovered manuscripts that had come to the West with Greek refugees from Constantinople .

After the success of the first edition, he called the work from the second edition (1519) on simply Novum Testamentum . It was used by the translators of the King James Bible and also served Luther as the source text for his German translation of the Bible. The text later became known as the Textus receptus . Erasmus obtained three further revised editions in 1522, 1527 and 1535.

Between 1522 and 1534 Erasmus dealt with the teachings and writings of Luther in various writings (see section Relationship to Luther ). Two years before his death he tried again with the writing De sarcienda ecclesiae concordia to pacify the divided religious parties . Erasmus was convinced that there would be agreement on the fundamental questions of faith, but less important things, the adiaphora , could be left free for individual believers and their communities. In the religious talks initiated by the emperors and princes, important theologians tried into the 17th century to bring the denominations back together on the Erasmic basis. They were unsuccessful.

In 1536 Erasmus wrote his last work, De puritate ecclesiae christianae (Latin: 'From the pure Christian Church'), an interpretation of Psalm 14 that he gave to a simple reader, a tax collector with whom he had become friends on one of his many trips dedicated. His influence was of paramount importance in Europe until the Age of Enlightenment .

Erasmus made a special contribution to biblical research , in which he laid the foundations for Reformation theology. His bad reputation for having attached great importance to the ethical and moral side of religion is based on a small early work from 1503, the Enchiridion militis Christiani (Handbook of the Christian Archer), which was very popular in its time and long in research was considered a major work by Erasmus. Initially open to the Reformation , he turned away from it when he saw Martin Luther in unbridgeable opposition to the Catholic Church . It was also the cause of his argument with Ulrich von Hutten .

More fonts

Portrait of Erasmus, drawn by the architect Léon van Dievoet around 1986.

In 1516 he wrote The Education of the Christian Prince ( Institutio Principis Christiani ), which he dedicated to the later Charles V as the newly appointed Councilor of the Prince . The work sees the head of government's Christian-moral principles of life as the most important prerequisite for a peaceful, beneficial policy. This prince mirror was very popular with contemporary princes. Ferdinand I is said to have learned it by heart.

In 1517 the lament of peace appeared , in which Erasmus gave a voice to the will for peace during the merciless power struggle for supremacy in Italy. He has thus represented a decidedly pacifist position and rejected wars with one exception: only if the entire people spoke out in favor of a war would it be legitimate.

In his Dialogus Ciceronianus , published in 1528 , Erasmus advocated an individually designed way of life that should not only be based on ancient models.

In the last years of his life, Erasmus completed one of his most extensive major works, the Adagia . It is a collection of ancient wisdom and proverbs (as a continuation of his first work Antibarbari , started before 1500), which he gradually expanded from around 800 to over 4250 quotations. It was his most successful work and was read well into the Enlightenment ( Goethe always had it to hand). A similar work, a collection of almost 3000 anecdotes and quotations from famous men and women from antiquity, is the Apophthegmata , which he published in 1534 for Duke Wilhelm von Cleve.

His colloquia (1518) and his “ etiquetteDe civilitate (1530) were read in schools. Erasmus turned against church grievances, the externalization of religion and dogma . He complained: "If you look at the average Christians, isn't all of their doing and leaving in ceremonies?" Anabaptists and spiritualists, for example Sebastian Franck , also invoked him.

The paraphrases were Latin biblical paraphrases, paraphrases of the Gospels. They were composed by Erasmus between 1517 and 1524 and occasionally revised by him in the remaining years of his life. Edward VI. von England, in his Injunctions of 1547, ordered the paraphrases to be set up "in a suitable place" for reading in all parish churches.

Relationship to Luther and the Reformation

A letter from Erasmus to Duke Georg of Saxony , written in 1524 . Erasmus justifies his position on Luther and the Reformation. Saxon State Archives, Main State Archives Dresden, 10024 Privy Council (Secret Archive), Locat 10300/4, Bl. 26 ( List of Erasmus von Rotterdam's correspondents )

Erasmus and Luther never met, but corresponded more or less publicly from 1519. Georg Spalatin , librarian and secretary of Frederick the Wise , tried to establish the first letter contact towards the end of 1516 . In his letter, Spalatin presented to Erasmus, who was living in Basel at the time, the thesis of the young Augustinian monk Martin Luther , who took the view that Erasmus' declaration of the “Justitia” of Paul of Tarsus was only imprecise and that it did not take into account original sin . The letter went unanswered. On March 28, 1519, Martin Luther wrote to Erasmus for the first time directly and personally. On October 31, 1517, Luther had already published his 95 theses , which led to heated discussions in church circles, so that he possibly sought support from Erasmus. Instead, Erasmus turned directly to Frederick the Wise of Saxony on April 14, 1519; Among other things, he wrote that he was “completely unknown” to Martin Luther, but that everyone who knew him should “approve of his life”. On May 30, 1519, Luther received a letter from Erasmus personally for the first time.

While Luther took a “hard line” against what he saw as a decadent papacy , Erasmus advocated “internal reforms” of the church and asked Luther for moderation, as in his letter of May 30, 1519.

The free will discourse

There were also differences in religious questions. While Erasmus put forward the thesis that God had given man a free will to choose between good and evil, which, of course, could only be effective with God's grace, Luther argued with original sin and the omnipotence of God, through which every act of man can is predetermined. Luther compared the human will to a horse "that the devil rides" or that God guides. It is impossible to get rid of one of the two riders, because every human fate is predetermined and ends either in hell or in heaven. God's love and hate are eternal and immovable, wrote Luther in his reply to Erasmus, they had already existed "before the foundation of the world was laid", even before there was a will or works of the will.

Erasmus sealed the final break with Luther in 1524 with the work “ De libero arbitrio ” (On free will), an answer to Luther's Assertio omnium articulorum M. Lutheri per Bullam Leonis X novissimam damnatorum (also as a German writing under the title Grund und Sorge aller Article D. Martin Luther, so illegally condemned by Roman bull ). Luther commented on his last critical examination of the title Hyperaspistes with the well-known saying: "Whoever crushes Erasmus will choke a bug, and it stinks more dead than alive."

On the one hand, Erasmus didn’t spare biting criticism of pious Christians, hypocritical monks, corrupt popes, Catholic rites and the indulgence trade. On the other hand, he defended the papacy, distanced himself from any change through violence and refused to support the reformers. Luther saw this as treason and wrote to him:

"Since we see that the Lord has given you neither the courage nor the disposition to attack those monsters [the popes] openly and confidently together with us, we do not dare to demand from you what is beyond your measure and your strength."

In the 1524 paper, Erasmus dealt with the question of free will. Luther had always rejected free will in his writings, one of his central themes, on theology of grace. Erasmus set the various arguments for free choice of will against each other. Erasmus also proved his arguments about free will through numerous biblical passages, without wanting to answer them only on philosophical considerations.

While for Erasmus man is free to change in one direction or the other, to choose good or bad , and so that God and Satan come into the position of an observer in order to observe the human dynamic of the will, for Luther that is Human being involved in a direct conflict between God and the devil, and would thus be driven in one direction or another by his inner will.

Luther consistently denied human free will. After the fall of man, there is no free will for Luther, no human ability to choose, according to the Latin arbitrium 'decision, free decision' . In Luther's view, the question of his salvation is exclusively an act of divine grace . Man cannot promote or prevent anything, not through deeds and not through efforts (compare the sacrament of penance , treasure of grace and indulgence ). Human actions, acts of will always concern the external human being and are not at all related to the divine path of grace. Luther follows the Pauline - Augustinian direction, according to which everything depends on God's choice of grace after original sin fundamentally corrupted people.

With De servo arbitrio (German: About the enslaved will or From unfree will ) Martin Luther presented a work in December 1525 that can be seen as a reaction to the humanistic doctrine of Erasmus' De libero arbitrio (September 1524). The Lutheran text is considered one of his most important theological works.

Some historians - especially from the Protestant camp - later shared this assessment and criticized Erasmus' attitude, which was perceived as indecisive. The fact that he allowed himself to make some anti-Judaist remarks against Pfefferkorn in the Reuchlin affair , which stirred up many humanist minds , earned him criticism. For Erasmus, who viewed the New Testament as overriding the Old and was hostile to the Talmud and Kabbalah , Jews also played a negative role in the conflicts with the Anabaptists and in the Peasants' War . He also saw a potential danger in Jewish converts , who in his opinion, despite baptism, clung to their Jewish traditions and supposedly decomposed Christianity from within. In contrast, Erasmus has protested anti-Judaism on other occasions.

Anti-Judaism at Erasmus

Erasmus expressed himself decidedly anti-Semitic , but corresponding statements are rarely found in his works, but mainly in his correspondence. For Erasmus the New Testament was the only source of truth so that one could do without the Old Testament. In a letter to the Hebraist and reformer Wolfgang Fabricius Capito from Strasbourg , he noted:

“I am considering that the Church should not place so much value on the Old Testament. The Old Testament only deals with the shadows that people had to live with for a while. The Old Testament (...) has become almost more important today than the literature of Christianity. One way or another, we are busily engaged in distancing ourselves completely from Christ. "

Erasmus described Judaism several times as a "plague", for example in 1517 in an exchange of letters with Wolfgang Fabricius Capito:

"Nothing is more dangerous for the education of Christians than the worst plague, Judaism."

Reception and appreciation from a modern perspective

As one of the most important and influential representatives of European humanism, the theologian became a forerunner of the Reformation through his attitude towards church criticism and his theological writings, which were committed to historical-critical exegesis . Through his advocacy of relative religious freedom, he took a humanistic position that went beyond Catholic and Lutheran dogmatism . To call him a defender of "religious tolerance" is misleading because he himself uses the terms peace and concordance instead ( tolerantia only for the choice of the lesser of two evils, which is not present in conflicts of religious doctrines). Serious heresies, to which he ultimately also counted the Reformation, should, in his opinion, be suppressed, possibly also through the use of the death penalty.

Erasmus was one of the most respected scholars of his time; he was called "the prince of humanists". He corresponded with almost all rulers and popes of his era and was widely admired and respected for his frank words and brilliant style, for example by the English King Henry VIII.

Erasmus monument in Rotterdam

The priest and monk Erasmus sharply criticized grievances in the church and advocated internal reform of the Catholic Church and is therefore also considered a church reformer . He was considered one of the first "Europeans" and hoped for the "common sense" of the rulers to come to a lasting peace even without war. He valued neutrality and tolerance and foresaw the dangers of the wars of religion. In a letter to Simon Pistorius , he assesses his own life's work as follows:

“Nec me aliud agere in meis lucubrationibus quam ut linguas ac bonas literas gravioribus disciplinis adiungerem, ut scholasticam theologiam apud multos ad sophisticas contentiones prolapsam, ad divinae scripturae fontes revocarem”

"Nothing else drives me during my night work than to combine languages ​​and beautiful literature with the more serious sciences in order to call back scholastic theology, which has degenerated into sophistic quarrels for many, to the sources of divine scriptures."

Because of his critical stance towards the Roman Catholic Church, his works were put on the index at the Council of Trent . The Dutch cultural historian and Erasmus biographer Johan Huizinga characterizes Erasmus as an intellectual type of the rather rare group who are at the same time absolute idealists and thoroughly moderate; “They cannot bear the imperfections of the world, they have to resist; But they don't feel at home in extremes, they shy away from action because they know that it always breaks as much as it builds up; and so they withdraw and keep shouting that everything must be different; but when the decision comes they hesitantly choose the party of tradition and the established. Here, too, there is a bit of tragedy in his life: Erasmus was the man who saw the new and the future better than anyone; who had to throw himself up with the old and yet couldn't grasp the new. "

As a critical thinker of his time, Erasmus was one of the pioneers of the European Enlightenment and was equally respected by Spinoza , Rousseau , Voltaire , Kant , Goethe , Schopenhauer and Nietzsche .

Honors and nominations

The Erasmus program for students in the European Union , the Erasmus Prize and other institutions and things were named in his honor.


  • Hendrik de Keyser created the first bronze statue in the Netherlands for Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1621 (cast in 1622) (see illustration above).
  • A bust was erected in the Walhalla in his honor .

The following were named after Erasmus:

Works (selection)

Editions and translations

Several works

  • Opera omnia Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami . North-Holland, Amsterdam 1969 ff. (Critical complete edition; numerous editors)
  • Werner Welzig (Hrsg.): Erasmus of Rotterdam: Selected writings. 8 volumes. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1995, ISBN 3-534-12747-1 . (Edition with translation; the individual volumes have different editors)

Individual works

  • Johannes Kramer (Ed.): Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami De recta Latini Graecique sermonis pronuntiatione dialogus. Hain, Meisenheim am Glan 1978, ISBN 3-445-01850-2 . (uncritical edition with translation)
  • Kai Brodersen (ed. And transl.): Erasmus of Rotterdam: The lament of peace. Latin and German . Marix, Wiesbaden 2018, ISBN 978-3-7374-1092-2 .
  • Familiarum Colloquiorum opus. Basel 1526.
  • Hubert Schiel : Familiar Conversations (original title: Colloquia familiaria , 1518). Cologne 1947.


  • Rolf Becker: Erasmus von Rotterdam - the flaw of his birth . In: Reinhold Mokrosch, Helmut Merkel (Hrsg.): Humanism and Reformation. Historical, theological and pedagogical contributions to their interaction (Works on Historical and Systematic Theology, Volume 3), 2001, pp. 47–54.
  • David Bentley-Taylo: My dear Erasmus. Christian Focus Publications, Fearn 2002.
  • Peter G. Bietenholz, Thomas Brian Deutscher: Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation. Volumes 1-3, AZ. University of Toronto Press, 2003, ISBN 0-8020-8577-6 .
  • Christine Christ-von Wedel : The ignorance at Erasmus of Rotterdam. For philosophical and theological knowledge in the spiritual development of a Christian humanist, Basel, Frankfurt a. M. 1981.
  • Christine Christ-von Wedel: Erasmus of Rotterdam: Advocate of a modern Christianity. Lit, Münster 2003, ISBN 3-8258-6678-5 .
  • Christine Christ-von Wedel: Erasmus of Rotterdam: A portrait. Schwabe, Basel 2016, ISBN 978-3-7965-3523-9 .
  • Christine Christ-von Wedel, Urs Leu (Ed.): Erasmus in Zurich. A secretive authority, Zurich 2007.
  • Lorenzo Cortesi, Esortazione alla filosofia. La Paraclesis di Erasmo da Rotterdam, Ravenna, SBC Edizioni, 2012 ISBN 978-88-6347-271-4 .
  • Sonja Domröse: Erasmus von Rotterdam - humanist, pioneer of the Reformation and promoter of learned women. In: Sonja Domröse: Women of the Reformation. 4th edition. Göttingen 2017, pp. 175–188.
  • György Faludy : Erasmus from Rotterdam. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt 1970.
  • Léon E. Halkin: Erasmus from Rotterdam. A biography. Benziger, Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-545-34083-X .
  • Heinz Holeczek: Erasmus German. Volume 1: The vernacular reception of Erasmus of Rotterdam in the Reformation public 1519–1536. Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart / Bad Cannstatt 1983
  • Johan Huizinga : Erasmus. A biography. 1928; again Schwabe, Basel 1988; with actual Bibliogr. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993, ISBN 3-499-13181-1 .
  • Johan Huizinga : Erasmus and Luther - European Humanism and Reformation. 1928 (original title: Erasmus); New translation by Hartmut Sommer, Topos-Taschenbuch, Kaevelaer 2016, ISBN 978-3-8367-1071-8 .
  • Werner Kaegi: Erasmus in the eighteenth century ; in: Commemorative publication for the 400th anniversary of the death of Erasmus von Rotterdam , ed. from the Historical and Antiquarian Society of Basel, Braus-Riggenbach Verlag, Basel 1936, pp. 205–227, esp. p. 211.
  • Guido Kisch : Erasmus and the jurisprudence of his time. Study of humanistic legal thinking. Basler Studien zur Rechtswissenschaft 56, Basel 1960, pp. 69–89.
  • Guido Kisch: Erasmus' position on Jews and Judaism (= philosophy and history. No. 83/84). Mohr, Tübingen 1969, pp. 5-39.
  • Gottfried G. Krodel: Erasmus-Luther: One Theology, One Method, Two Results. Concordia Theological Vol XLI, November 1970 No. 10, pp. 648–667 (PDF)
  • Frank-Lothar Kroll : Erasmus from Rotterdam. Humanism and Theology in the Age of Reformation . In: Helmut Altrichter (ed.): Personality and history . Palm and Enke, Erlangen 1997, ISBN 3-7896-0353-8 , pp. 57-68.
  • Friedhelm Krüger : Humanistic Gospel Interpretation. Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam as interpreter of the Gospels in his paraphrases (= contributions to historical theology . Volume 68). Mohr, Tübingen 1985, ISBN 3-16-144975-4 (also habilitation thesis, Erlangen 1980).
  • Josef Lehmkuhl: Erasmus - Niccolò Machiavelli . Two united against stupidity. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2008.
  • Gottfried W. Locher : Zwingli and Erasmus. In: Erasmus in English, a newsletter published by University of Toronto Press 10, 1979–80, 2–11 [= translation of No. 36 by Sh. Isbell, D. Shaw, and E. Rummel].
  • Karl August Meissinger: Erasmus of Rotterdam. Gallus, Vienna 1942.
  • Christian Müller: The portrait of the dead Erasmus of Rotterdam. In: Bulletin for the members of the Society for Swiss Art History, Vol. 41, Issue 2, 1990, pp. 202–217.
  • Heiko A. Obermann: Roots of Anti-Semitism. Fear of Christians and the plague of Jews in the age of humanism and Reformation. Severin and Siedler, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-88680-023-7 .
  • Karl Heinz Oelrich: The late Erasmus and the Reformation (= Reformation historical studies and texts. Volume 86). Aschendorffsche Verlagbuchhandlung, Münster 1961.
  • Fidel Rädle : Erasmus as a teacher. In: Hartmut Boockmann, Bernd Moeller , Karl Stackmann (eds.): Life lessons and world designs in the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern age. Politics - Education - Natural History - Theology. Report on colloquia of the commission to research the culture of the late Middle Ages 1983 to 1987 (= treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen: philological-historical class. Volume III, No. 179). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1989, ISBN 3-525-82463-7 , pp. 214-232.
  • Wilhelm Ribhegge: Erasmus of Rotterdam. Primus, Darmstadt 2009, ISBN 978-3-89678-667-8 .
  • Erika Rummel: Erasmus. Continuum, London 2004, ISBN 0-8264-6813-6 .
  • Peter Schenk : Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. In: Wolfram Ax (ed.): Latin teachers in Europe. Fifteen portraits from Varro to Erasmus of Rotterdam. Böhlau, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-412-14505-X , pp. 391-421.
  • Uwe Schultz : Erasmus von Rotterdam: The Prince of Humanists. A biographical reader. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-423-12608-6 .
  • Erwin Treu, The Portraits of Erasmus of Rotterdam. Basel 1959
  • Susanne Zeller: Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540): (Re) discovery of a European, humanist and social reformer of Jewish origin in the shadow of the Spanish Inquisition. A contribution to the theoretical history of social work. Lambertus, Freiburg 2006, ISBN 3-7841-1648-5 .
  • Susanne Zeller: The humanist Erasmus von Rotterdam (1469–1536) and his relationship to Judaism. In: Church and Israel: Neukirchener theologische Zeitschrift. Volume 21, 2006, pp. 17-28.
  • Stefan Zweig : Triumph and tragedy of Erasmus of Rotterdam. Reichner, Vienna 1934; most recently: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-596-22279-7 . ( E-text )
  • Beat Rudolf Jenny : Death, Burial and Tomb of Erasmus von Rotterdam , Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Vol. 86, 1986, pp. 61-105
  • Hans Reinhardt: Erasmus and Holbein , Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde, Vol. 81, 1981, pp. 41–71

Specialist dictionaries

Web links

Wikisource: Erasmus of Rotterdam  - sources and full texts
Wikisource: Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus  - Sources and full texts (Latin)
Commons : Desiderius Erasmus  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. His original name Geert Geerts or Gerhard Gerhards or Gerrit Gerritszoon remains unclear. Around 1502 he changed his name to "Desiderius Erasmus". He mistakenly assumed that his name “Gerrit” was derived from the verb “begeren” (desire).
  2. Erasmus ancient Greek ερασμιος erasmios , the amiable ; Desiderius in Latin desiderium the desire, the longing , the desired, the longed for
  3. ^ Rolf Becker: Erasmus von Rotterdam - the blemish of his birth , pp. 47–54.
  4. Kevin Knight: Desiderius Erasmus. In: Catholic Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ Johan Huizinga : Erasmus. Schwabe, Basel 1928; New edition 1988, pp. 5-7.
  6. Erasmus: Compendium Vitae. In Percy Stafford Allen (ed.): Opus epistolarum Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami. Volume 1, 1484-1514. Oxford 1906, p. 48.
  7. Rudolf Branko Hein: "Conscience" in Adrian von Utrecht (Hadrian VI.), Erasmus von Rotterdam and Thomas More: a contribution to the systematic analysis of the concept of conscience in the Catholic Northern European Renaissance. Tape. 10 studies of moral theology. LIT Verlag, Münster 2000, ISBN 978-3-8258-4235-2 , p. 265.
  8. ^ Johan Huizinga: Erasmus and Luther. European humanism and reformation. Volume 1071, Topos, Kevelaer 2016, ISBN 978-3-8367-1071-8 , p. 21
  9. Desiderius Erasmus, Wallace Klippert Ferguson, DFS Thomson: The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters, 142 to 297. University of Toronto Press, 1975, ISBN 0-8020-1983-8 , p. 294.
  10. ^ Forrest Tylor Stevens: Erasmus's "Tigress": The Language of Friendship. In: Jonathan Goldberg; Michèle Aina Barale; Michael Moon: Queering the Renaissance. Series Q, Duke University Press, Durham North Carolina 1994, ISBN 0-8223-1385-5 , pp. 124 f.
  11. ^ Thijm Alberdingk: Aurelius, Cornelius. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. 1, 1875, p. 689 ( ).
  12. ^ Desiderius Erasmus, Wallace K. Ferguson: Erasmi Opuscula: A Supplement to the Opera Omnia. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2013, ISBN 978-94-017-6218-2 , p. 9
  13. ^ Wilhelm Ribhegge: Erasmus of Rotterdam. WBG, Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 978-3-89678-667-8 , p. 17
  14. C. Reeddijk: The Poems of Desiderius Erasmus. Desiderius Erasmus Archive, EJ Brill, Leiden 1956, p. 261
  15. ^ Johan Huizinga: Erasmus and Luther. European humanism and reformation. Volume 1071, Topos, Kevelaer 2016, ISBN 978-3-8367-1071-8 , p. 43
  16. Otto Zierer: Picture of the Centuries. Bertelsmann n.d., Volume 14, p. 42
  17. Erasmus, Desiderius . In: John Venn , John Archibald Venn (eds.): Alumni Cantabrigienses . A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Part 1: From the earliest times to 1751 , volume 2 : Dabbs-Juxton . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1922, pp. 105 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  18. St Martin's Church, Aldington
  19. in today's Parsonage Farm
  20. Technique of black chalk on paper
  21. Walther Köhler: Erasmus of Rotterdam. Letters. Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Leipzig 1938, p. 517
  22. ^ Wilhelm Ribhegge: Erasmus of Rotterdam. WBG, Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 978-3-89678-667-8 , p. 203
  23. ^ Jean LeClerc (Ed.): Opera Omnia .
  24. Erasmus of Rotterdam: In Praise of Folly .
  25. Erasmus of Rotterdam: Colloquia familiaria.
  26. Friedhelm Krüger , Humanist Gospel Interpretation. Desiderius Erasmus von Rotterdam as interpreter of the Gospels in his paraphrases, Tübingen 1985.
  27. For the generally complicated history of the publication of paraphrases, see: RAB Mynors, The publication of the Latin paraphrases . In: Robert Dick Sider (Ed.): New Testament Scholarship: Paraphrases on Romans and Galatians (collected works by Erasmus). University of Toronto Press, 1984, ISBN 0-8020-2510-2 , pp. Xx-xxix.
  28. ^ Johan Huizinga: Erasmus and Luther: European Humanism and Reformation. Topos plus, Kevelaer 2016, ISBN 3-8367-1071-4 , p. 157
  29. Erasmus von Rotterdam, To Martin Luther, Letter No. 150. In Walter Köhler (Ed.): Letters of Erasmus von Rotterdam , 3rd edition, Bremen 1956.
  30. Bengt Hägglund: The question of free will in the dispute between Erasmus and Luther. In: August Buck (Ed.): Renaissance - Reformation. Opposites and similarities. Volume 5, Wolfenbütteler Abhandlungen zur Renaissanceforschung, Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1984, ISBN 3-447-02476-3 , p. 193
  31. A comprehensive study on this is available with Shimon Markish: Erasmus and the Jews , trans. A. Olcott, Chicago 1986. For a broader context, see also Oberman 1981
  32. Kisch 1969, p. 38 f.
  33. Wolfgang Benz (Ed.): Handbook of Antisemitism. Hostility to Jews in the past and present. Volume 2/1, De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, p. 213 f.
  34. Rummel 2004, p. 32
  35. C. Augustijn: Erasmus and the Jews. Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis, Dutch Review of Church History Nieuwe Serie, Vol. 60, No. 1 (1980), pp. 22-38.
  36. The history of the Jews in Germany. Chapter 36: Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466 or 1469-1536) and his attitude towards the Jews. ( Memento from May 9, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  37. Guido Kisch: Erasmus' position on Jews and Judaism. Volumes 83–84 Philosophy and History. A collection of lectures and writings from the field of philosophy and history, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1969, ISBN 3-16-830761-0 .
  38. Handbook of Anti-Semitism . Volume 2: People . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 214
  39. Klaus Schreiner, Gerhard Besier: Tolerance . In: Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck (eds.): Basic historical concepts . 7 volumes. Stuttgart 1972-92, Volume 6, pp. 445-605, 473. Mario Turchetti: L'Une question mal posée: Erasme et la tolérance. L'idée de sygkatabasis . In: Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance , 53, 1991, pp. 379-395. István Bejczy: Tolerantia: A Medieval Concept . In: Journal of the History of Ideas , 58/3, 1997, pp. 365-384, 176 ff.
  40. ^ References in Bejczy 1997, 377
  41. C. Augustijn, Erasmus: The Humanist as Theologian and Church Reformer, 1996
  42. Percey Stafford Allen: Opus Epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami, Oxford University Press 1906ff Volume 6, Letter No. 1744
  43. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names - Extended Edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 , doi: 10.3372 / epolist2018 .