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Erasmus Roterodamus (27 October 1466 – 12 July 1 536), known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, or simply Erasmus, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian. He was most widely known for his critical and satirical writings. He attempted to reform the Church and because of that, was prosecuted by many people. I am going to consider for and against his deeds and make my own Judgement. Most of the opinions differ. Erasmus became humanist because of his education and morality.
He was an intelligent and strong- minded person.
He travelled a lot, so that he became a European scholar with huge knowledge of classical literature. Erasmus believed that education could change the world and I strongly agree with him. In his work “Adages” (1500) he aimed to make classical learning opened to a public and more than 800 sayings in Latin and Greek were explained, which means that he really tried to achieve the goal of reflecting every aspect of the Christian humanism.
Later, he created “New Testament in Greek” (1 516), which was the first ork available in Greek, not in Latin, with lots of notes and explanations, in cosequence of, all public got a great opportunity to access this testament and become more educated.
He lived as a devout Christian, but was concerned with the corruption that had spread through the religious positions of the Church. However, Erasmus believed that religious revolt led directly to anarchy; therefore he took the side of neither the Pope, nor the reform radical, Martin Luther.
In all his criticism of clerical follies and abuses, he had always carefully hedged himself about with protests, that he was not attacking church institutions themselves and had no enmity toward the persons of churchmen.
The world had laughed at his satire, but only a few obstinate eactionaries had seriously interfered with his activities. He had a right to believe that his work so far had commended itself to the best minds and also to the dominant powers in the religious world. His criticism of the Church was therefore heard throughout Europe.
He preferred reasoning to bloodshed, unlike many others of his time. While he did not criticize the Church as much as Luther had, he did call for an end to the corruption that had seeped to the core of the Church. However, it is thought that Erasmus tried to undermine the Church, destroy its form. Again, in those “Praise of Folly’ he argued with popes who claimed to be the Christ representatives on earth: ‘Practically no class of man lives so comfortably with fewer cases; for they believe they do quite enough for Christ if they play their part… y means of every kind of ceremonial and display… for them it is out of fashion to pertorm miracles, teaching the people is too much like nard work… and praying is a waste of time’. Without formally speaking out against the Pope, Erasmus implies that the Pope put on a facade as an all-knowing, all-powerful mortal. He states here that the Pope has no true knowledge as to what God expects from his worshipers. He cannot believe that these lucky scientists find people to believe them’.
With this last statement, he calls to the people of the Church to not accept everything that is told to them from corrupt authority fgures. He gives an attack on the standarts of the members of the Church. Also, in his second edition of the “New Testament in Greek” he weakened the Church because he undermined the authority of it by criticising texts on which it relied. Finally, I came to conclusion that Erasmus and other Christiam humanists attempted to reform the Church by calling to the return to the simplicity of the first Christians.
They tried to stop the corruption. Erasmus tried to broaden and clear the minds of people. In his “Freedom of the Will” (1524) he stated that humankind could choose his own density. So, he did not want to undermine the Church completely but make it easier to understand. He changed the education bases. From the “Handbook of a Christian soldier” (1 503): ‘Charity does not consist in many visits to churches, bowing own in front of statues of saints, in the lighting of candels or repeating set prayers.
Of these things God has no need. Charity is to love your neighboor’. In my personal opinion, Erasmus was a great man. He reasoned while others fought. He was courageous in his criticism of the Church. He was a pacifist and a man of tolerance. He was disdainful of cardinals who were too much involved with making money and concerns of the world. Erasmus has Just fighted for his views of life, not paying attention on his enemies. Bibliography: “AQA History AS”
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