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Erasmus

Erasmus History Social Studies Philosophy Visual Arts

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam or, simply, Erasmus) was a Dutch scholar who lived between 1466 and 1536.  In addition, he was a Catholic priest who supported both religious freedom and the Pope.

Erasmus thought the Bible needed updating to its existing Greek and Latin versions.  He had several reasons for that, including:

But one thing the facts cry out, and it can be clear, as they say, even to a blind man, that often through the translator's clumsiness or inattention the Greek has been wrongly rendered; often the true and genuine reading has been corrupted by ignorant scribes, which we see happen every day, or altered by scribes who are half-taught and half-asleep.

Erasmus set out to correc those errors.  His Greek and Latin revisions were relied on by subsequent translators who wished to render the Bible into languages which people everywhere could understand.

This portrait of Erasmus, circa 1517, is by Quentin Massys (1465 or 66 - 1530).  The oil-on-canvas is now owned by the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica (in Rome).


Media Credits

Image, described above, online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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