Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus was born in Rotterdam in about 1466. He joined the Augustinian monastery at Steyn in 1487 and was ordained in 1492.

Erasmus spent time in France before moving to England where he taught at Oxford University (1499) and Cambridge University (1509-14) where he was Professor of Divinity.

Erasmus became the leader of the movement of scholarship known as humanism. Erasmus believed strongly in the human capacity for self-improvement through education. He argued that world peace could be obtained by consensus and consent. He published several books including a collection of proverbs, Adagia (1500). This was followed by Handbook of a Christian Soldier (1503) and Praise of Folly (1509).

Erasmus advocated a tolerant Christianity and was highly critical of the abuses of the Catholic Church and his ideas helped to prepare the way for Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. However, Erasmus disapproved of Luther's radical methods and criticized him in his book De Libero Arbitrio (1523).

Desiderius Erasmus died in 1536.