Talk:Desiderius Erasmus

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someone has typed "hola - love abbey" on the page, I don't know how to change this and did not know where else to type.

please add mention of —Preceding unsigned comment added by Adam.a.a.golding (talkcontribs) 09:41, 12 May 2010 (UTC)


I think it needs expandedBjfcool 13:17, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Lost Book ???[edit]

The following book of erasmus is missing in the list !!!

De pueris statim ac liberaliter instituendis

Milton (talk) 04:25, 21 July 2012 (UTC)


I tried to add some balance to this blatantly Lutheran biased article. I changed the sentence "Erasmus was influential on Martin Luther who admired him and desired his friendship." to read "Erasmus's earlier writings were influential on Martin Luther who admired him and desired his friendship. Erasmus ultimately condemned Martin Luther's works." This change is based on the Catholic Encyclopedia

Both Alexmarion and myself (below - sorry about not signing) the problems with the "Preparation for Death" quotation. I see it has been restored without comment. Can the restorer explain to us why the commentary around this quotation is not purely polemical? What is remotely scholarly or factual about saying that "no true Catholic could possibly have penned the following words" What is this based on? There is certainly no citation here. And the line "He was not a Roman Catholic in his heart?" How can that possibly be anything other than pure conjecture? I have removed it again. Rymac 19:59, 17 May 2006

The section on "Preparation for Death" is so obviously just an attempt to make Erasmus into a disloyal Catholic and a Lutheran. The quotation from Erasmus on how it is possible to be saved without the sacraments and that those with the sacraments can be damned merely reflects ancient Catholic wisdom, and was expanded further by St. Thomas Aquinas. The assertion that the passage proves that Erasmus "was not a Roman Catholic in his heart" is dishonest and absurd. I have deleted the section since it doesn't really make sense where it is in the article, anyway.

Should there be more mention of his role in traditionally considered to have established, if not popularized (at least in the Western world, as there are earlier, more thorough examples of such in Korea over 200 years ago in the creation of the Tripitaka Koreana) the practice and ideas of Textual criticism, aside from a very brief line saying that he prepared a new text of the New Testament? See also Textus receptus. Orangefoodie 12:06, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

This writer is flaunting his anti-catholic bias at the expense of historical accuracy by repeatedly suggesting that Erasmus was some sort of independant Reformer (because he can hardly deny that Erasmus condemned Luther and all other Reformer he mentions in his works), in the face of even of all of the quotes and works of Erasmus he cites that he admits show him to be a faithful son of the Catholic Church (although looked upon initially with suspicion by many ecclesiastics, whom he was openly critical of, anyway, so no surprise there). Then, to cap things off, he blows all decency intellectual honesty to the wind in misrepresenting Catholic doctrine and Erasmus' true faith, explicitly:

[In his own words, written in the little tract of 1533, "Preparation for Death", he verifies that, although he remained a Roman Catholic until his death, he was definitely not a Roman Catholic in his heart, for no true Catholic could possibly have penned the following words:

"I believe there are many not absolved by the priest, not having taken the Eucharist, not having been anointed, not having received Christian burial, who rest in peace. While many who have had all the rites of the Church and have been buried next to the altar, have gone to hell . . . Flee to His wounds and you will be safe." (Erasmus in "Treatise On Preparation For Death."]

Erasmus, here, is simply eloquently and piously (and very catholically) restating an axiom of every religion that has ever existed, namely, that actions speak louder than words... --Alexmarison 06:36, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

This article reads like the first paragraph is missing. How about starting with a brief summary of who Erasmus was and what he did, (and when he lived), before getting into the details of his birthname and place.

Does anyone really call him 'of Rotterdam'? It took me a minute to be sure that it was the same person. After all, he had a perfectly good first name - 'Desiderius'.


Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Man and the Scholar : Proceedings of the Symposium Held at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, 9-11 November 1986 by J. Sperna Weiland (Editor), W. Th. M. Frijhoff (Editor), J. spern Weiland

hmmm. looks suspiciously dutch-speaking to *me*. But then I'm an Amurican, and, admittedly, not a specialist in early modern Europe. On Amazon the only hit 'Erasmus of Rotterdam' turns up as first version is the Penguin "Praise of Folly", while Desiderius Erasmus turns up many more, including the collected works coming out of Toronto University Press. Google turns up 4,910 hits on 'desiderius erasmus' vs. 2,510 on 'erasmus of rotterdam'. Those things said, I am generally agnostic about nomenclature - I believe strongly in redirects. Leave him here or move him. --MichaelTinkler
I was going to say that the Rotterdam is superfluous, since just Erasmus is normally enough, but my "Essential Erasmus" calls him E of R...JHK
My 2000 print of "Praise of Folly" has both 'Desiderius Erasmus'and 'Erasmus' on the front page. Another book about him calls him E of R just sideways; other than that it's all Erasmus. Even though I was born in Rotterdam, and know where to find his statue :), I would not use E of R. here, it's just not the first name people call him by.--TK
Regardless of how we address him, though, Erasmus of Rotterdam is what he went by. A look at the salutations from Allen's Latin edition of his letters will prove that. A brief selection from 1519, with the original Latin and my own (loose) English translation:

ERASMVS ROTERDAMVS D. MARTINO BRVXELLENSI S. D. - Erasmus of Rotterdam wishes health for D. Martin of Bruxellensis (Brussels?).
ILLVSTRISS. SAXONIAE DVCI FRIDERICO ERASMVS ROTEROD. S. P. - Erasmus of Rotterdam wishes great health for the most famous Duke of Saxony, Frederick.
ERASMVS ROTE. D. MARTINO LVTERIO. - Erasmus of Rotterdam to Dr. Martin Luther.
--Dd42 02:33, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

Talk from List of famous Dutch people, discussing on the move of the pages:

Jheijmans, why do you think that Erasmus of Rotterdam will be clearer than the previous description Desiderius Erasmus? Just curious... link is identical.

Good question. I thought that because his name was listed as such in Wikipedia, it would be the best name, but after checking, I discovered that there's some (unresolved?) discussion on this at Talk:Erasmus of Rotterdam. Anyway, I thought the "of Rotterdam" in Latin was unnecessary. I'll try to find what his best known name in English is, that's where the article (and this link) should be. Jeronimo
Looked into the topic some more, and it appears that he is best known (in English) as simply "Erasmus". If anything else is said, it's "Desiderius Erasmus". However, as Erasmus is still free (and in fact a redirect to Erasmus of Rotterdam), I'll move him there. Jeronimo
Although it was common in the middle ages to pick the name of one's hometown as a last name, appointing Erasmus to 'Erasmus of Rotterdam'seems an obsolete reference to me. Shouldn't Erasmus name speak for itself like the names Paracelsus and Nostradamus do ? - -- 12:56, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

This article is copied from [1], a URL which says "© 2001" at the bottom of it. Does anyone know if we have permission to use this? Kingturtle 05:25 May 5, 2003 (UTC)

Looks like a copyvio. Needs a heavy rewrite anyway.
Could revert to an earlier version before the IEP content was introduced. Jeff

"Institutio Principis Christiani (Basel, 1516), written as advice to the young king Charles of Spain, later the emperor Charles V. Here Erasmus applies the same general principles of honor and sincerity to the special functions of the Prince, whom he represents throughout as the servant of the people. "

Should probably be contrasted to The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli which is his advice to the Medicis, written at almost exactly the same time, but with quite opposite advice.  ;-)

The last man who knew everthing: a 15th c. man, from the Netherlands[edit]

I just read in the followup slashdot for Larry Sanger's memoirs, that Erasmus may be the last man to have been considered capable of knowing all of the worlds knowledge (translated New Testament on his own), etc. I tried following up this hint from slashdot with some searches, but ... Is my guess anywhere correct? Clues, 15th c. man, from the Netherlands, is the hint. If so, the slashdotter says this is missing from the WP article, and broadly hints this could be Erasmus. Ancheta Wis 01:39, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I have also heard Aristotle and John Stuart Mill put forward as candidates for being the last man familiar with every aspect of their culture's knowledge. I think it's a bit too trivial a debate to bother resolving, even for Wikipedia.--KJJ 01:30, May 12, 2005 (UTC)

-- Translating the New Testament is does not make one a polymath. This is entirely in keeping with his activities as one of the founders of humanism, and not very difficult for a Greek scholar. -- 02:27, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Not in the slighest justified!!! I really object to these sorts of labels - no-one in the 1st century knew "all that was to be known", let alone anyone in the 16th c. It's just a-historical. Hackloon 02:54, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Do you know what they (we) mean by knowing all the world's knowledge? (talk) 23:38, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Dutch "Translation" of Praise of Folly[edit]

In the main text, when the Praise of Folly is mentioned, a Dutch translation is given in parentheses, i.e. as if the original were in Dutch. The original is in Latin, but has a Greek title, "Moriae Encomium", a pun on his friend More's name. In Latin, the title would be "Stultitiae Laus". -- 02:30, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Actually Moriae Encomium is a Greek title with Latin inflexion :). Encomium was frequently used as an equivalent of Laus.Kameal (talk) 11:24, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Erasmus born in Gouda?[edit]

I heard on the news that Erasmus was born in Gouda,Is this true?

Make this shorter.

Influence on Luther?[edit]

Nitpicking, I suppose, but I really don't think it can be fair to say that Erasmus was THE inspiration for Martin Luther. How can this article simply say that this is known as fact? Perhaps rejigging the wording to 'thought to have been an influence on Martin Luther'? As far as I am aware, the influences on Martin Luther varied from personal convictions about indulgences and contrition to outrage at the papacy, and even individuals (it could be argued) such as Huss. However, recent historical debate has pointed out that Luther was not heavily influenced by the humanists such as Erasmus at all. Indeed, Erasmus was apathetic towards Luther, and Erasmus's great friend Thomas More (a notable humanist) described Luther as a 'pig'. In light of all this I strongly wish to see this introduction changed.

The debate concerning Luther and Erasmus has been raging ever since the Reformation itself. Luther is my specialist subject, and I have dealt extensively with the realtionship between Luther and Erasmus. Whilst the popular saying "Erasmus laid the egg whihc Luther hatched" has a ring of truth to it; it must be remembered that the crux of the matter is that Erasmus wished to reform ecclesiastical abuses within the Catholic Church, whereas Luther fundamentally attacked the doctrine (although his 1517 95 theses dealt with indulgences). Also, although letters from the very early years of the Reformation show cordial and admiring correspomdemce between the two, they differed in many areas, and were antagonists following the 1525 Bondage of the Will debates. I consider that the author of this article has a very rose tinted view of the realtionship between these two great men.


Not the real Erasmus[edit]

The Erasamus of this article is largely a figment of the imagination of some Lutheran trying to co-opt Erasamus for his own cause.

Please sign your posts, Handmaiden. Erasmus was a major player in the Protestant Reformation, and his writings gave a lot of support to the Protestants, no matter which side he followed. For one thing, the fact that his works were on the Catholic Index is important, as a note of that.--Prosfilaes 04:42, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Which works of Erasmus are supposed to be on the Index of Prohibited Books, and in what year(s)? Every searchable database of the "Index" I've checked only mentions works by two other men with the name "Erasmus" (Erasmus Darwin who lived 1731-1802, and Erasmus Ungepauerus who lived 1582-1659). Is this a case of mistaken identity? Or is there a reputable modern historian who can confirm this and identify the works that were supposedly "banned"?

See for example here:

[2] [3] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:44, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Link here to the list in latin - you need to look for Desiderius Erasmus, not Erasmus:

Contaldo80 (talk) 09:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Edits by Joceyln1600 (and POV)[edit]

Opinions on the edits of Jocelyn1600, anyone? (You can see the diff here: [4])

I enquire, as a number of the edits result in significant changing of some of the facts without references. For example, prior to their edits, part of the article read:

"The Catholic Counter-Reformation movement often condemned Erasmus as being worse than Luther himself, and as having "laid the egg that hatched the Reformation.""

After their edits, it read:

"The Catholic Counter-Reformation movement was often condemned by Erasmus as having "laid the egg that hatched the Reformation.""

In addition, I feel their edits to the article adds a distinct fundamentalist (and anti-Catholic) POV. (See, for example, their commentary to the last paragraph on his writings.) I don't wish to just revert the article (as was done to their edits to Textus Receptus and Comma Johanneum), as I am not an Erasmus scholar, however their edits (given both their changing of the meaning of lines, as well as the reverting of their other edits in articles related to the subject) seem questionable to me. Opinions? 15:19, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

The Counter-Reformation is generally considered a response to criticisms of the Catholic Church made during the Protestant Reformation. Which came first: the Reformation or the egg? Kineticman 03:41, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

There is no question that they got the causality backwards. The Counter-Reformation started after Erasmus had died in 1536. Ergo, it was the Counter-Reformation that condemned Erasmus (which it definitely did), not the other way around. 20:48, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

On the general question of Erasmus' position vis-a-vis Protestant versus Catholic, the answer is tricky, because Erasmus refused to take sides. His comment here is useful (and I'll probably botch the quote, but the sense is correct): "There is nothing I congratulate myself more heartily for than never having joined a sect." Nevertheless, when push came to shove, Erasmus declared his loyalty to the Catholic Church. I think he's best characterized as a ferocious but loyal critic of the Church. 20:48, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Julius Exclusus e Coelo[edit]

Deleted this part.

  • "In 1516, Erasmus anonymously published a satiric dialogue, Julius Exclusus, in which Pope Julius II is turned away from the gates of Heaven by St. Peter."
    • This is heavily disputed by scholars: see James D. Tracy, "Erasmus Becomes a German", Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 3, (Autumn, 1968). This highlights that while he does claim to have a copy of the text in 1516 he later writes to Thomas More that it was not he who wrote it. (ie. that he knew of it and may even have helped to have it published but it is not necessarily his work) Jezze 23:39, 21 April 2006 (UTC)


Could someone (more knowledgeable then I) add some of his quotes? He's the one who said, "In The Land of The Blind, The One-Eyed Man Is King", isn't he?


The quote about Erasmus's young man, "I have wooed you ..." has a source note leading us to Duke University Press. First, I would like to read the work referenced, and second, someone else might want to, too. Whether the Duke online archive doesn't go deep enough (1994?), or ... for some other reason, I could not find the work directly. Before I resort to a snail mail inquiry, and another hour or day of online searching, could the contributor of this reference confirm the source, or show readers a better or longer trail? This is too delicious to be unavaiilable!

Lodgepole 16:05, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

The quote is originally by way of the Collected Works of Erasmus, (University of Toronto translation) and I've changed the reference. Any Amazon or ABE book search will provide secondhand copies of the Duke book, while online Google Books allows limited viewing of a couple of pages, and eNotes the complete text for a fee. If you can't find it in a library near you, the correspondence of Erasmus will certainly be available, and will contain the referenced letter. Here's a fuller quote of that particular letter for you:

"So impossible is it, dear Servatius, that anything should suffice to wash away the cares of my spirit and cheer my heart when I am deprived of you, and you alone...But you, crueller than any tigress, can easily dissemble all this as if you had no care for your friend's well-being at all. Ah, heartless spirit! Alas, unnatural man!...But you yourself are surely aware what it is I beg of you, inasmuch as it was not for the sake of reward or out of a desire for any favour that I have wooed you both unhappily and relentlessly. What is it then? Why, that you love him who loves you."

Other letter passages are even more pleading and stick-a-sock-in-it pathetic: "...if I cannot acquire from you that friendship which hereafter I would most heartily desire, I request that at least the common intercourse of every day should exist between us. But if you think I should be denied this also, there is no reason for me to wish to live further."

In other words, NOT a happy bunny. And no, I wouldn't incorporate any more of the letter into main article. The existing phrase is sufficient to make its point, and for people to make their own assumptions based on their own point of view. As the letters are still considered an embarrassment by some scholars, or are dismissed as merely more examples of Erasmus's epistolary exercises, any further quotations are only likely to incite an edit war. (The letters are clearly written to be manipulative, but to consider them as as exercises is a huge stretch IMHO given the genuine emotion that seems to break through). An extreme example of how distressing some people find the issue of even a simple youthful infatuation can be seen here: <a href="">LINK</a>

Engleham 24 August 2006


I once heard that Erasmus chosen name was Latinisation variation on his Dutch neem (Gerrit Gerritsen - Gerrit sounds close to the verb (be)geren = desire = desiderius. And something similar for Erasmus. Anyone knows this story, can substantiate it. Would be nice in the trivia section. Arnoutf 10:08, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Huizinga in Erasmus of Rotterdam says he was baptized as Erasmus (which was a name of popular saint, the one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers ) and later added Latin translation of Erasmus- Desiderius- a desired one Kameal (talk) 11:31, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


It seems that some of the sections of the article have grown quite large without any subheadings; I am going to try adding some. Someone invested in the page is more than welcome to work over the scheme I devise-- the 'history' section is just huge without any subheads. --Matthew K 16:54, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Birth name[edit]

Someone recently removed (and perhaps added) a reference to Erasmus' birth name being Gerrit Gerritszoon. I am just curious if this is relevant or if it does not matter at all whether it is reported here or not. --Matthew K 19:43, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I reverted the unexplained deletion. Google reveals it to be accurate. --Flex 19:58, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Please read Paul Johnson's History of Christianity, which actually bothers to include excerpts from Erasmus' published views: on Luther's alliances with state power; on Erasmus' opposition to Catholic doctrine on important points such as "just war" theory; and more broadly on Erasmus' opposition to the obsession of both the established church and Luther with refinements of theological doctrine. Erasmus very clearly stated on numerous occasions that there are mysteries better left unresolved by theology, but rather approached by individual believers through prayer and contemplation.

The article is grossly misleading in its portrayal of Erasmus as accepting of Church doctrine and practice. It should be either drastically edited by someone with better writing skills than I, or simply removed, as Erasmus is too important a figure (particularly in these times of fundamentalist revival) to be misrepresented or trivialized.

So how did he die?[edit]

I have read this article and I don't see any mention of the manner of Erasmus' death. I was somewhat interested to see that he died a year after Sir Thomas More. It's funny (in an ironic sense) that when someone like More is executed, that takes up half the article. Apparently, Erasmus was not executed, and because he wasn't executed, no one has thought to include how or where he died in this article. 04:21, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Well that tells you something about their respective characters. More in the end stood up for something, Erasmus didn't. Str1977 (talk) 16:37, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, and yet Erasmus' subsequent influence on both the development of protestantism and catholicism was immense. Whereas More's stubborn intransigence makes for good tv or cinema, but in reality achieved little. Incidentally, Erasmus died suddenly from a bout of dysentry while in Basel and was buried there. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:36, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

bad link in "Selected Works"[edit]

Colloquia redirects to a definition of "colloquium," not an article about Erasmus' Colloquia. --Voskoboinikov 23:43, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Does "early leaves" mean "early life"?[edit]

Does "early leaves" mean "early life"? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:20, 5 March 2007 (UTC).

That seems to have been changed by someone -- either it was an accident or vandalism. I changed it back to "Early life" the way it was about a month ago. Matthew K 04:28, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Why removed?[edit]

I added these works to the article (05:54, 25 March 2007).

The Epistles of Erasmus: from his earliest letters to his fifty-first year arranged in order of time, 2 vols., by Francis Morgan Nichols, Longmans, Green and Co., London, vol.1- 1901 vol.2 - 1904 - The Internet Archive

They were subsequently removed by Stbalbach (00:07, 26 March 2007) who only offered as a reason for doing so this cryptic remark: "suggest author link here with specific books in book articles - internet archive has tons of books by and about erasmus." Could someone please decipher this? These are important primary source works and should be reinstated. Delta x 04:02, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Need help[edit]

I admit that this may be more a query than a correction, but I turned to this page because I knew nothing about Erasmus, and however many times I read the following sentence I cannot for the life of me make it make sense: "Using humanist techniques he prepared pigs for love making to women new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament [...]" Can somebody please explain this to me? The first part of the sentence seems to be suggesting that he was involved in some kind of early bestiality pornography, then the sentence abruptly switches to talking about scripture. I am genuinely baffled. Branfish 17:08, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I hope you may have come back and seen that someone edited out the piece of bestiality that some gnome placed into the article. This does happen in an open environment. PatPM 06:40, 21 April 2007 (UTC) PatPM


According to the introduction, his work "exposed inaccuracies [...] that would be influential in the Reformation". The idea that (percieved) inaccuracies in the Bible contributed to the reformation is wrong, and the idea that inaccuracies in Catholicism were involved in the Reformation is POV. 23:07, 23 April 2007 (UTC) Leon 23:08, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Yo I may just be ignorant but whats with the part wher eit says Nipples Mipples Nipples ?

Erasmus "in love"?[edit]

I'm not sure what to make of the statement in the article that

Erasmus fell in love with a fellow monk.

Since no quotation marks are used, I presume this should be taken literally. The footnote then gives a reference to Huizinga, but it is unclear whether this should be considered as supportive or detrimental to the argument of Erasmus' homosexuality. If the English version is similar to the Dutch one, Huizinga in his "sensible comment" does not even mention the possibility that Erasmus may have been in love with Servatius in a literal sense. He says that from this piece of early correspondence, Erasmus appears to be "sentimental" and "a young man of a more than feminine hypersensitivity" who "strikes all the chords of a glowing lover" (Erasmus, p. 12, Dutch print of 1947); but Huizinga does not hint at homosexuality. He goes on to say that, contrary to what has often been thought, the feelings Erasmus expressed should probably be considered genuine. He then mentions the 'fashionability' of sentimental friendship in the cultured classes of that day and refers to earlier examples in correspondence between monks dating from as early of the 12th century, and to the fact that intimate friendships, often accompanied by very close observation of the other's inner emotions, were a trait typical of the Devotio Moderna (p. 13). I do admit that Erasmus' words seem to indicate something very much like a real love affair, but Huizinga's passage can not be taken as an argument in support of this. Iblardi 21:13, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely agree - would not be sensible to use Huizinga's passage in this way. Contaldo80 (talk) 13:54, 23 July 2009 (UTC)


I've been told that Erasmus taught himself Greek because no one in the West could undestand it (or at least, because they were so rare that he couldn't get one to teach him) . Is this true? If so, shouldn't it be in the article? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:03, August 23, 2007 (UTC)

According to Huizinga, he probably had a teacher, although this is not completely clear. He made a laborious study of it, that much is certain. Iblardi 19:14, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Huizinga quotes Erasmus complaining that the only man in Paris who claimed himself to know Greek was actually a total ignorant of it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kameal (talkcontribs) 11:35, 2 June 2008 (UTC)


Can someone assist me in listing the reference for the quote I added at the very end of the article. Tried different ways, but none get the job done. Reference is The Low Countries by Eugene Rachlis, Life World Library, pg 145. Thank You--Buster7 (talk) 12:03, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

A reference to that booklet alone is not enough; you should specify from which of Erasmus' writings the text came. Note that his last words were not "Believe God" but "Lieve God", something which is widely known. This constituted a piece of vandalism which you reinstated with your last revert. Iblardi (talk) 16:35, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Re-instatement of "Lieve God" was inadvertant. Didn't notice it till now. BTW...Its not a booklet, as you call it. The quote by Erasmus is a valid, forwarding idea for all ages. Rather than fight about its inclusion, you (the scholar) should help verifying it. You are needlessly asking for a reference for my reference...rather than working for the quality of the article.--Buster7 (talk) 17:01, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, what reference does Rachlis give? I am not saying that the idea sounds un-Erasmian, I just have grown suspicious of your edits. But if you give that reference we can restore the quotation. Iblardi (talk) 17:22, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
Found it myself and restored the citation. Iblardi (talk) 18:55, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

Desiderius Erasmus ... was born in Rotterdam on 27 October ... according to historian Johan Huizinga, Erasmus was born in the night of the 27th or 28th and celebrated his birthday on 28 October.

So, if it happened at some unknown point during the night of 27/28 October, and he celebrated it on the 28th, why are we so sure it happened before midnight, on the 27th? -- JackofOz (talk) 00:34, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Fixed now. NFA. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 21:19, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Erasmus forger of Cyprian?[edit]

This article in The Nation claims that "we know (...Erasmus...) forged a complete work by the early Christian writer Cyprian in order to support his views about Christian martyrdom." Reading the article, I was curious and wanted to read more about the forgery in Wikipedia, but found no mention of the forgery in this entry. Either The Nation sullied Erasmus's reputation, or our entry on Erasmus is missing important information. I don't have sources for this myself, so I'm recording the question here, hoping someone could add authoritative information. Ijon (talk) 11:47, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I had never heard this but quite a few people believe it to be true. They claim that he composed it to defend his own view on martyrdom. Just do a google search using erasmus, cyprian, and forgery as keywords and you get quite a bit of stuff. I don't have time now to run it down, but perhaps someone else does. My quick look suggests that the biggest evidence for it being a forgery is that no copies earlier than Erasmus are known to exist. If someone can research this, it should be added to the entry.Bob Caldwell CSL (talk) 14:45, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Paragraph beginning "Erasmus's literary productivity began comparatively late in his life."[edit]

I'm new to wikipedia editing so I didn't want to take the liberty to delete this paragraph but it seems quite lacking in scholarly rigor. A lot of mind-reading about his intentions and interpretations of his thought, written with a little too much gushy eloquence to be instructive about Erasmus opus or its influence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kjohnson3253 (talkcontribs) 04:20, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I thought the same, independently. I have cut it back somewhat. Charles Matthews (talk) 21:45, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Design for a Stained Glass Window with Terminus, by Hans Holbein the Younger.jpg

Holbein's stained glass design[edit]

I couldn't see how to work this in, as the present layout has a strip of fotos down the edge like a deli menu. There are good notes on the image's file.--Wetman (talk) 11:51, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Info box[edit]

Added details to info box but doesnt display ref —Preceding unsigned comment added by Graemeb1967 (talkcontribs) 06:45, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Exposition of the Creed[edit]

Hardly vandalism. It references the works section which cites two places where the work may be down loaded and adds information about the two printings. But as you will. I will not argue. Perhaps somebody can indicate what is a more "acceptable manner". If you care to omit the reference all together I do not have a problem. I have done a page describing it that is listed in the Works section BibleBill (talk) 07:17, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Erasmus was born when?[edit]

At the begining it is stated on Oct 28 and in text on July 12 , as previous the date of death is July 12 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

In the x of the blind[edit]

Can we reach consensus about this? It formerly read "in the land of the blind" (which is a form I've never encountered). Somebody changed it to "in the kingdom of the blind" (which makes sense to me, and has better rhythm), and then somebody else changed it back. I would like to change it to "in the country of the blind", which is the form most familiar to me. All three seem to have been used, but to me "land" does not have the right rhythm. --ColinFine (talk) 18:21, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

in the dutch version it's 'land', which has the same meaning as the english word 'land'. but i don't think it's all that important anyway, if people prefer 'kingdom' then i don't see a problem with that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Note on Erasmus' Burial.[edit]

The article says, " He died in Basel in 1536 and was buried in the formerly Catholic cathedral there, recently converted to a Reformed church."

Was the cathedral "formerly Catholic" when Erasmus was buried? I don't think so. I suggest the following alternative wording. " He died in Basel in 1536 and was buried in the Catholic cathedral there, which has since been converted to a Reformed church."

I didn't make the change because I don't know the facts.

Joe Thursday (talk) 12:55, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

i don't know about that church in particular, but when protestantism became really popular a lot of catholic churches were taken over by protestants. i assume that's what happened here. (this is also why protestants often have the oldest church in european cities with both protestants and catholics: the protestants took over the catholic church, often destroying murals and statues in the process. and the catholics had to build a new church) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

kindle 3 picture[edit]

Hullo, is it worth mentioning in the article that the painting of Erasmus by Hans Holbein is one of the sleep mode pictures displayed on the kindle 3? It may make it easier for people like me who came to the article because they thought the picture was the holbein painting.

Doktordoris (talk) 01:21, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

I'm thinking not, Wikipedia isn't an indiscriminate collection of information. If it meets the general notability guideline, I guess it could be added, but I'm not going to put any effort into it. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:32, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

His actual name needs clarification earlier in the article[edit]

Could it not be clarified earlier in the article that his actual name was Gerritt Gerritzoon - Erasmus was the Latinised version of his name? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 22:14, 2 February 2012 (UTC)


I guess there's no leeway for this sort of behavior? He courts a man. No indication that he ever practiced homosexuality, but he's LGBT "forever?" Student7 (talk) 17:42, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

If you practice enough you eventually become an expert. What exactly is your point? Contaldo80 (talk) 09:43, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, that is the point. There is no indication he ever practiced.
The lump category for modern PC groups is LGBT. I have no problem with groups naming themselves that. Groups can name themselves anything they like. But this is an encyclopedia. There is no indication that he was transgendered. No indication he was lesbian. Since there is no indication he ever had sex at all, terming him bi-sexual seems specious.
Are love-letters to a same sex person, positive "proof" of homosexuality? At a time, when homosexuality was quite frowned upon, there seems to be no indication that an investigation took place resulting in a permanent label.
But most of all, this is a biography. I'm sorry Wikipedia don't have an exact category for "medieval/renaissance possible homosexual people." But biographies aren't histories, just to suit some deficiency in categorization! Whether proven or unproved! Student7 (talk) 15:56, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but when I last looked a man falling in love with another man was a pretty clear indication of homosexuality. You don't have to have sex with anyone to have a homosexual sexual orientation. That aside, the article is of relevance to those studying the history of homosexuality (often captured under the "Queer Studies" or "LGBT" label. Your reference to "PC" suggest you have a personal axe to grind. Best we leave it out. Thanks. Contaldo80 (talk) 16:27, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
1) On the "history" category, Wikipedia will need another category to describe people. Erasmus is not a "history."
2) The entry, will need a WP:RS for the text (not in text, actually) where a researcher has concluded he was homosexual, using that word. Otherwise it is WP:OR.Student7 (talk) 14:12, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
This is not very helpful I'm afraid. The article is a historical biographical article. The reference you are looking for is to be found in MacCulloch. Contaldo80 (talk) 11:55, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Erasmus' homosexuality doesn't actually need to have been established for the theory to be relevant. If the topic is notable enough to be addressed in modern scholarly works, then it qualifies for inclusion in the LGBT history category. I don't see why the fact that this article addresses a person should pose a problem here, since the contents of the LGBT category ("rights, culture, people, organisations, and related topics") are pretty broadly defined. From a different perpective, the inclusion of this article provides the reader access (via the listed references) to counter-arguments that might also be applicable to other pre-modern persons within this category. Iblardi (talk) 13:27, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Much better expressed than I could have put it. Contaldo80 (talk) 13:54, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Let's divide this into three topics, below, LBGT, Categorization of Biography as History, and the question of homosexuality. Student7 (talk) 15:18, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
What for? You're making this much more complicated than it needs to be. Can I point out that the article is also categorised as "Martin Luther", "Portrait by Hans Holbein the younger", and "University of Leuven faculty". But you havn't raised any objectives to him not actually being Martin Luther, not actually being a portrait but a person, nor actually physically being a faculty of the university of leuven. You have only objected to the issue of homosexuality. I am willing to assume good faith but I am concerned about your earlier reference to this being "PC". I want to see even-handedness on all issues and not simply the issue of homosexuality. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:34, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
talk) - I suggest that you're being partisan. You've removed the category "Martin Luther" but left in "Paintings by Hans Holbein" and "Faculty of Leuven". The only reason I can see for this is that you don't want the Catholic name of Erasmus linked directly with the Protestant reformer Martin Luther. You are not acting in a fair and balanced way. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:51, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Actually, based on your comments, I pointed out in higher level policy and category venues that people were being categorized as other people. Another editor, with no axe to grind, went through and deleted all people who were being categorized as another person. Categorizing a person as another person, makes no sense. Categorization has gotten quite out of hand. There are still people interested, mercifully.
I get the impression that Erasmus was on the Faculty of Leuven. This category may be misnamed, but I don't see how else it could be used. It could easily be renamed "properly" if you have a better name. "Faculty member of Leuven"? Some current categorizations might have to be changed.
And "Paintings by..." is used on painting generally. "Subject of a painting by..." might be more accurate. It could be renamed if you have a better one.
Renaming is impossible with "Category:Martin Luther," who really does have some topics which only pertain to Martin Luther himself. But other people are not him. Maybe a category named (I don't care for this idea) "People who corresponded with Martin Luther." Notice that this is not being done in Wikipedia. We already have links and text that document his association with Luther. That is far more important than a category. Think about the reaction had the category been left and the text deleted!
Categorization is not the only way nor even the main way to document someone's association with an article place or bio. I realize that some bios of famous people wind up as "category dumps." Editors should take care that this doesn't happen. Student7 (talk) 16:10, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Categorization of a biography as "history"[edit]

Categorization of biographies should not be called "history." Separate categories are available to label people. Student7 (talk) 15:18, 27 February 2012 (UTC)


While it may be politically convenient for several small groups, each with a somewhat different sexual agenda to band together in the twentieth century with a neat label, these labels should not be retroactively applied to a) figures distant in history and b) to figures at the lowest level who do not belong in one category or another. For purposes of "collection/categorization", I suppose these can all be rolled up at some higher level, but it seems pov even there.

I don't think anyone is claiming Erasmus was lesbian, Bi-sexual, nor a transgendered. Student7 (talk) 15:18, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

"Politically convenient", "small groups", "different sexual agenda"!! If you want to make political points then take them elsewhere please. Focus on the facts, without letting your personal prejudices creep in. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:36, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Your comments are deliberately homophobic and frankly unacceptable. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:47, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


Analyzing a figure distant in history for feelings of homosexuality may be difficult. Quoting from the Newman article,

"...Nor is it possible, on the basis of passionate words uttered by mid-Victorians, to make a clear distinction between male affection and homosexual feeling. Theirs was a generation prepared to accept romantic friendships between men simply as friendships without sexual significance. Only with the emergence in the late nineteenth century of the doctrine of the stiff-upper-lip, and the concept of homosexuality as an identifiable condition, did open expressions of love between men become suspect and regarded in a new light as morally undesirable."[1]"

And this refers to the 19th century. Nothing so distant as the 15th or 16th. Retroactive analysis by editors of someone else's feelings, judged from his writing, is WP:OR. Student7 (talk) 15:18, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Presumably you think homosexuals didn't exist before the 19th century? Everyone was just "good friends". How quaint. Either way I'm not going to be drawn on this. I have provided an excellent academic source in the text for Erasmus' infatuation with another man. I have been careful not to describe it or him as homosexual, but clearly being in love with a member of the same sex is a fundamental aspect of homosexuality. But I have simply flagged the article of interest to those studying LGBT history so they can see how the issue played out in previous centuries. I'm not interested in being drawn into a culture war thanks very much. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:42, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Do you know what - just do what you want. I can't be bothered. 2012, and we're still squeamish about homosexuality. What's the point. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:48, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems to me that what stands in the article does not indicate Erasmus as a person of significance to LGBT history, whatever his sexual orientation was. That's one point. Further I think that what we have here under "LGBT history" (articles and categories) should be "good history" in the contemporary academic sense. That would be somewhat negotiable, naturally; but "exemplar history" and the uncritical accumulation of role models is definitely not a valid contemporary approach to historiography. I'm not going to pursue this point further, but our content and related policies are (rightly) formulated in universal terms. Charles Matthews (talk) 14:09, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Here from WP:Catholicism. I'm not sure there's enough material to support the category, but I do think the arguments that a) the term is anachronistic and b) that he is a person and so the "history" category is inappropriate are poor arguments. We use "Catholic" in a huge number of articles where it is anachronistic! And the use of a "history" category is quite regular and accepted for biographies where it is not always easy to identify the person with a sexual orientation due to different cultural norms - in fact most of the articles in the category are biographies. Contaldo80, if it's decided that there are not enough sources to keep the category, you might consider tagging it for WikiProject LGBT studies, to further your aforementioned purposes of letting people interested in LGBT history know about it. Not the easiest way of going about learning, but better than nothing? –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 17:02, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Roscelese for being so understanding. I've decided to let the issue drop as I felt I was being subjected by some editors to subtle homophobic abuse (see the John Henry Newman talk page for an insight. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:45, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't argue that the term itself is anachronistic. I've looked up what happened next after Erasmus tutored Thomas Grey, and that was that he tutored William Blount, 4th Baron Mountjoy, another English young man. So there's hardly any evidence there that supports Forrest Tyler Stevens's interpretation, if that's all there is to go on. Charles Matthews (talk) 19:16, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Except there isn't - there's all the love letters to Severus. But the point is that homosexuality in the 16th century would not have been expressed freely as it is today in many countries. People faced shame and the death penalty. The point of tagging the article was simply to allow people to see how peope responded to homosexuality in previous centuries. It was intended to illuminate and enlighten. That was all. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:45, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Transubstantiation vs. Real Presence[edit]

In Section 1.5 "Sacraments" I noticed that the article says "the reality of the Body of Christ after consecration in the Eucharist, commonly referred to as transsubstantiation."

From what I understand, transubstantiation refers to the conversion of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It is a part of, but distinct from the doctrine of the real presence. Didn't want to strike this unilaterally, and happy to be corrected by someone who knows more.

Tuckerianduke (talk) 02:04, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

After transubstantiation, the species are now the real presence. (I'm probably not understanding the question correctly). If you are saying that the sentence might be better off broken in two to avoid misunderstanding, perhaps that could help.Student7 (talk) 14:07, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Small grammar problem[edit]

I think there's a small grammar problem with this phrase: "Some have taken this as grounds for an illicit affair." I think the correct grammar would be "Some believe this termination was because of an illicit affair." or "Some believe the grounds for this was an illicit affair." or "The grounds for this termination is taken by some to be an illicit affair." or something else...I'm not a grammarian but I'm pretty sure the statement as it is doesn't have the right structure.

Yes, the correct word probably should be "evidence" or "proof". Daniel the Monk (talk) 03:12, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Basel Minster[edit]

What was Erasmus doing in Basel when he died - was he just on a passing visit or had he moved there? Was it his express wish to be buried in the reformed Basel Minister or was he just put there for expediance. Contaldo80 (talk) 15:24, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

I raised this because I'm unhappy at what is currently said in the lead where it is stressed that Erasmus was a 'Roman Catholic' but was buried in Basel Minster whch had recently been chaged to a 'Reformed' church. I can only assume this is written in this way to somehow claim Erasmus for the Roman Catholics? This seems an odd approach. The concept of a 'Roman' Catholic wasn't really set until the Council of Trent. Most people in this part of Europe would have described themselves as simply Christians or at a push 'Catholic Christians'. The issue of importance is one of reform - communities of christians breaking away from the authority of the Pope in Rome and taking charge of their own congregations (some influenced by Luther, later Calvin, Anabaptism etc). So firstly neither Basel Minster can be described as having been Roman Catholic (simply catholic in communion with the Pope). And secondly what was he doing being buried in the Minster - was he aware that the community in which he was being laid to rest had broken from papal authority, and if so then did he mind? Contaldo80 (talk) 09:07, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
While you are unhappy with the situation, the text does indicate that he remained loyal to papal authority, remaining in the Church which even long before that era was called the "Holy Roman Church" throughout the world. It is doubtful that he had any say in the matter of his gravesite, if he died suddenly and unexpectedly in the course of a visit, as the text states. Dystenery can be a very fast acting illness.
His burial site would be even more understandable if there were no Catholic (as papal loyalists called themselves) churches left in the city. Then it certainly shows the respect with which he was held by the leadership of the Reformed church and civil authorities of the city. This makes his burial as a Roman Catholic in what had become a Reformed church noteworthy. Daniel the Monk (talk) 14:42, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I think we need reference to some good sources to find out what was really going on. I find it hard to believe that he could not have been buried in a church that remained in communion with Rome. The cathedral didn't have a bishop at the time that Erasmus died. Did he know where he wanted to be buried; did he care that it was not in a "catholic" church but in a reformed church? I also changed the sentence referring to the last rites. While it is a fact tht he did not receive the last rights; it is an opnion that he was not able to (as that suggests he intended to). The latter interpretation may be the right one but we should not include until we have a source that supports the argument. Finally, while the church may well have been referred to in liturgy etc as the 'Holy, Roman, and Apostolic church'; I don't think we can say with certainty that people in the 1530s were describing themselves as "Roman Catholic" when asked what faith they followed. So we need to be careful with the nuances of language throughout the text. Contaldo80 (talk) 09:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I certainly agree that nuance is important and more references are needed. I am not sure what you mean by trying to "claim" Erasmus for the Catholic Church. The entry makes clear his ultimate commitment to the Church, despite his many issues with it. As regards terminology, I would point out that in the England of the 1530's the term "Church of Rome" was already widely used to refer to the Catholic Church. The term "Catholic" itself certainly was in common usage in Romance-speaking nations by the Middle Ages, to distinguish the orthodox faithful from heretics. So its use is not impossible for the period.
I would further point out that, if Erasmus was indeed in Basel simply for a visit and his death was sudden and unexpected, that he likely had not made any funeral arrangements for himself for there. After his death, the need for quick burial of the body put that decision in the hands of those about him.
My understanding of what happened when a city was "reformed" is that all churches of the city were converted to the new faith, and clergy adhering to the Catholic faith were banished. Following from that, there would not be any Catholic churches left in Basel. While there is possibly no clear indication textually regarding Erasmus' desire for the last rites of the Church, given his emphatic loyalty to the Catholic faith and its sacraments already related in the entry, it is reasonable to assume that he would have wished them. Whether he was able to receive them remains a more open question. Daniel the Monk (talk) 13:21, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that last point is right. The reference I've included in the text argues that while he did not discourage the taking of viaticum (last rites); he did not believe it was absolutely necessary. I also find it hard to believe that he didn't have friends who would have better managed his funeral arrangements; but we'll have to give it the benefit of the doubt. My point on not 'claiming him for the catholics' reflects my concern that the article as written is a little opaque in structure. At times it seems to take great pains to suggest that whatever happened, Erasmus was ultimately a 'good catholic'. The reality is different. Even though he spoke again and again about his loyalty to the church in Rome; in practice his criticisms cut to the heart of how the church operated. He challenged church practices and some doctrines and by doing so firmly laid the ground for the protestant reformation that followed. I think that needs to come across better. Erasmus was quite a radical figure.Contaldo80 (talk) 13:44, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Erasmus' translation of Plutarch[edit]

Possible addition to section on Erasmus' writings, a facsimile of which has been published online by Cambridge Digital Library:

"In 1513, while he was at Cambridge, Erasmus dedicated to Henry VIII his translation from Greek into Latin of Plutarch's De discrimine adulatoris et amici (How to tell a flatterer from a friend)." Cambridge Digital Library Facsimile of De discrimine adulatorio et amici--Acc60 (talk) 15:46, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Freedom of the Will section[edit]

The article currently says this: " One of the topics he dealt with was the freedom of the will, a crucial point. In his De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio (1524), he lampoons the Lutheran view on free will. He lays down both sides of the argument impartially."

I am not famiiar with this work, but it seems logically inconsistent that it could both "lampoon" Lutheran views while "impartially" offering both sides. (talk) 00:42, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Wording error?[edit]

The section on Erasmus's disagreement with Luther says, "He [i.e. Erasmus] called 'blasphemers' [...] those who defended the need to occasionally restrict the laity from access to the Bible." I know next to nothing about Erasmus, but I would've expected it to be the other way around. As a Catholic disagreeing with a Protestant reformer, shouldn't Erasmus have objected to those who denied the need to occasionally restrict the laity's access to the Bible? --Phatius McBluff (talk) 03:06, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Hard to figure out Erasmus sometimes. I often can't! But he was clearly a "liberal" Catholic, sometimes sharing Protestant beliefs, and carefully treading the line as a pre-Counter-Reformation figure. A Catholic Reformation was going on at the time and he preferred to remain part of that movement. (I am guessing here. It could be mistranslated!). Student7 (talk) 18:21, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I broke up compound sentence which I don't like. Worse here where overstatement is suspected. I don't doubt that he said anyone "blasphemed" if they questioned the perpetual virginity of BVM. Hard to believe he would call anyone a "blasphemer" merely because they wanted to restrict Bible. (Luther himself balked at Revelation). A bit of an overstatement, I think. Looks like the English version contains the most material. Couldn't find anything better. But the new sentence represents his view more clearly. If it misquotes the source, so be it!  :) Student7 (talk) 18:37, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

"Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious, Reformation; this reformation was known as martin luther kingism and it was the dominating culture in the renaissance period but while he was critical of the abuses within the Church and called for reform, he kept his distance from Luther and Melanchthon and continued to recognise the authority of the pope. "

^THIS PASSAGE IS INCORRECT AND HAS MANY FACTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Basic input[edit]

A lot of this seems to be copied from

This is not to be confused with
Possible rewording seems helpful.

Also, Erasmus being a humanist, could this article expand on his Christianity humanism? I ask this because humanism focused its lens on classical secular learning, ideals, works.

--Edward Versaii (talk) 00:43, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Hilliard, pp. 4–5.