humanist and Roman Catholic advocate of reform.
of Erasmus, by
Hans Holbein the Younger
A native of the
Low Countries, Erasmus was
the leading northern European humanist in the late fifteenth and early
sixteenth centuries and a luminary throughout Europe. He revered antiquity
and learning in both church and culture. A severe critic of abuse and
corruption in the church, he advocated simplicity in both faith and
life for the church. As one contribution to reform he published a critical
edition of the Greek New Testament
that served as the basis for scholarly interpretation for centuries
to come. His other scholarly and polemical works were read throughout
Europe. Although sympathetic to reform, Erasmus eventually broke with
Martin Luther whom Erasmus thought extreme
and fractious, especially in his views on the human will and predestination.