DAVID BENTLEY- TAYLOR
Erasmus was born in 1469 so you might not have heard of him; to his contemporaries this would be unthinkable. To them he was a modern Socrates whose learning and wisdom had not been equalled for a thousand years ‘a kind of divine being sent down to us from heaven’.
University of Toronto Press’s ‘Collected Works of Erasmus’ will extend to 86 volumes. This includes his letters. Erasmus corresponded on a massive scale all over Western Europe: including kings, popes, professors, humanists and many more – anyone who was anyone at some stage penned the words ‘My Dear Erasmus.’
The march of history has not been kind to Erasmus. In spite of his phenomenal achievements Luther, concealed behind the Reformation, has eclipsed him.
Yet the influence of Erasmus led to that Reformation. His life and work shows how God can use someone not in sympathy with the church to stimulate one of its greatest periods of growth and spirituality.