Leaders » Spiritual & Religious Leaders » DESIDERIUS ERASMUS
|Full name||: Desiderius Erasmus|
|Alias||: Desiderius Erasmus|
|Animals||: The Dog|
|Education||: University of Turin Collège de Montaigu|
|Activists||: Spiritual & Religious Leaders , Theologian|
Desiderius Erasmus was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, theologian and teacher who became a leading figure of the early humanist movement. Counted amongst the most controversial early Renaissance figures, Erasmus all through his life worked for a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Born against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation, Erasmus was a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church. He had a deep-seated respect for traditional faith and grace and believed in the authority of the Pope. However, he was critical of the abuses within the Church and its clergy's weaknesses and vowed to reform the same from within. Erasmus lived life of a classical independent scholar. Using his humanist touch, he penned several editions of the New Testament in Latin and Greek, which in turn led to the Protestant Reformation and Catholic-Counter Reformation. Throughout his life, Erasmus was offered many academic positions of honor worldwide but he declined them all, preferring the uncertain but sufficient rewards of independent literary activity.
In 1516, Erasmus came up with his magnum opus, ‘Novum instrumentum omne’ which was a heavily explained edition of the New Testament. The book was highly sought after by scholars and educated Europeans as its content and interpretation of scripture challenged the age-old theological thinking that had been dominating the society. Through the book, he aimed at spreading classical knowledge that would in turn promote better understanding between people and help them turn to the roots of Christian tradition
Desiderius Erasmus was born on October 27, 1466 in Rotterdam, Netherlands to Gerard, a Catholic priest and Margaretha Rogerius. His parents were not legally married. He was christened Erasmus, meaning beloved.
Young Erasmus received the highest level of education available to children then. He attended school at the age of four and by nine was enrolled in the most prestigious Latin grammar school. It was therein that his love for academics blossomed.
A brilliantly talented student, Erasmus’s academic career was abruptly cut short after a plague epidemic killed both his parents in 1483. Following their death, he was put under the care of his guardians who were adamant about him becoming a monk.
Impoverished state of being forced him to take up a monastery life in 1492. He became a canon regular at the canonry of Stein and by the age of 25, was ordained as the Catholic priest. However, he did not actively work as a cleric.
An opportunity to leave the canonry came in when Erasmus was offered the post of a secretary to the Bishop of Cambrai, Henry of Bergen which he gladly accepted. He received a temporary dispensation from his religious life on grounds of poor health and love of humanistic studies.
While at canonry of Stein, Erasmus first fell in love with Servatius Rogerus, fellow cannon. He wrote her several passionate letters.
Erasmus’ health gave away in 1536. Due to his failing health, he accepted an invitation by Queen Mary of Hungary, Regent of Netherlands to move from Freiburg to Brabant.
It was while he was preparing for his departure to Brabant that he fell ill. He died on 12 July 1536, from an attack of dysentery during a visit to Basel. Despite being loyal to the papal authorities, Erasmus was not given the last rites of the Catholic Church.
To mark his contribution, a bronze statue of Erasmus was erected in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1622. Furthermore, the University and Gymnasium Erasmianum in Rotterdam have been named in his honor. He has been the subject of numerous paintings and portraits.