Biography of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the 16th century scholar

Biography of Erasmus of Rotterdam, the 16th century scholar

The life of Erasmus of Rotterdam He stood out for his contribution as a humanist and his theological criticisms. While it is true that he had reformist tendencies, the truth is that he was more special than Calvin, Luther and Michael Servetus. The Dutchman hated being repressed, which is why he was reluctant to face the authorities, a characteristic trait that he kept all his life. His works were vital for the European intellectual evolution of the time and would lay the foundations for later beliefs. He never clearly positioned himself on any of the opposing Christian sides.

His childhood was marked by the fact that he was born as the bastard son of a priest on October 28, 1466, which caused his guardians to strip him of all his fortune. With no other option, Erasmus was ordained a monk in 1490. He became part of the Augustinian convent of Steyn and he led a very hectic life.

Thanks to his studies in Paris and England, Erasmus drew on influences from the Renaissance. He received a doctorate in Arts from the University of Bologna and collaborated in Venice with Aldo Manuccio, who published his "Adagios”In 1508, a work that Erasmus had written during his stay in Great Britain. They offered him to work as a teacher on numerous occasions but he rejected it, arguing that, although he did not earn much in the printing press, it was enough to continue living.

He surrounded himself with circles prone to reform and to the ideas that criticized the oppression of the Church. Erasmus he was dispensed from his vows in Rome and studied theology at Cambridge. This allowed him to be advisor to Carlos V and finally settled permanently in Basel. He chose that city because it was the place where Reformation and Catholicism seemed to be tolerated according to his idea of ​​the human community.

His literary work combined the satirical force and the Socratic spirit. With their "Colloquia"In 1518 and with"Praise of madness"In 1511, he showed his didactic concern. Although many thought that Erasmus was against the Church, the truth is that the Dutch were in agreement with Catholic doctrine and with the form of ecclesiastical organization. What i wanted fighting was routine, superstitions and ignorance. That is why he wanted to use his university education to clarify all Catholic issues. His conviction was to educate the people so that they could doubt the administration and public affairs, both the Church and the government.

As for his theological work, it belongs more to a moralist concerned with concrete piety than to a mystic. The titles of "Christian Soldier's Handbook"In 1504 and"Institution of the Christian principle"In 1515, they give a good example of it. Furthermore, Erasmus applied his critical vision to the New Testament, as well as to its prologues. This change constituted a new theory and a new interpretation of the humanistic theology that revolutionized the intellectual landscape of the sixteenth century.

Was related to Luther for a few years, but it ended up breaking with him and his ideals. The reason is that both Luther and the Pope asked him to position himself in favor of one of the two and did not understand that Erasmus wanted to stay completely on the sidelines. The priority of the Dutch sage was to maintain his freedom of thought and his individual and intellectual independence.

This dispute continued until the final years of his life, where Catholics and Reformists constantly harassed him. Since Basel is no longer a neutral site, Erasmus he continued his career in Freiburg. He spent several years there and published his latest work "Preparation for death”. Finally in 1536, he died in Basel, in what he considered his home. He left behind an unparalleled legacy, caused an intellectual revolution in Europe, and was key for the years to come. One of his phrases would go down to posterity and reflect his scholarly spirit: “When I have a little money, I buy myself books. If there is anything left over, I buy clothes and food”.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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