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Erasmus

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 09 February 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of the Dutch humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus. In his lifetime Erasmus was almost universally recognised as the greatest classical scholar of his age, the translator and editor of numerous Latin and Greek texts. But above all he was a religious scholar who published important editions of the Bible which expunged many corruptions to the texts of the Scriptures. He was an outspoken critic of the Church, whose biting satire on its excesses, In Praise of Folly, was famed throughout Europe.

When the Reformation began in 1517, however, Erasmus chose to remain a member of the Catholic Church rather than side with Martin Luther and the reformers, and a few years later he engaged in a celebrated debate with Luther on the subject of free will. Through his writings on the Church, on education and the wide gamut of humanist scholarship, Erasmus is remembered today as one of the greatest thinkers of the northern Renaissance.

With:

Diarmaid MacCulloch
Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford

Eamon Duffy
Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge

Jill Kraye
Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy and Librarian at the Warburg Institute, University of London.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Erasmus, ‘The Praise of Folly’, trans. C. Miller (Yale University Press, 2003)

    Erasmus, ‘Praise of Folly’, intro. A. H. T. Levi, trans. B. Radice (Penguin, 2004)

    J. C. Olin, ed. and trans., ‘Desiderius Erasmus: Selected Writings’ (Fordham University Press, 1988)

    J. C. Olin, ed., ‘Christian Humanism and the Reformation’ (New York, 1965)

    C. Augustijn, ‘Erasmus: His Life, Works and Influence’ (University of Toronto Press, 1995)

    R. H. Bainton, ‘Erasmus of Christendom’ (New York, 1969)

    A. G. Dickens and W. R. D. Jones, ‘Erasmus the Reformer’ (Methuen Publishing Ltd, 1994)

    L.-E. Halkin, ‘Erasmus: A Critical Biography’ (Blackwell, 1993)

    J. Huizinga, ‘Erasmus of Rotterdam’ (Phaidon, 1952)

    J. K. McConica, ‘Erasmus’ (Oxford University Press, 1991)

    M. M. Phillips, ‘Erasmus and the Northern Renaissance’ (The Boydell Press/Rowman & Littlefield, 1949)

    R. J. Schoeck, ‘Erasmus of Europe: The Making of a Humanist, 1467-1500’ (Edinburgh University Press, 1991)

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