A biography of the life and work of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam.

This paper examines how Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam has been called one of the greatest scholars, not only of his time, but of all time. It looks at how, in his lifetime, he challenged the conventions of the current religious powers and seemed to come away with a knockout and how, through his craft, became an extremely influential spokesman for those disenchanted by the existing church. It discusses how his wealth of knowledge made him a very well-respected guest for the leaders of his time, since he had the ear of kings, emperors, popes, and any true leader, which made him a star among stars. It also examines how his work “In Praise of Folly,” a satirical observation of the behavior of the ruling religious oligarchy, opened the door for liberal Catholicism and Protestantism.
“Erasmus has been credited as having been the “embodiment of Renaissance individualism. It is believed by many today that his beliefs may have been the foundation for Protestantism because of his tenacity against the ritualistic convention of Catholicism. Our nation’s very foundation may be credited directly by his great mind. Unitarianism was to a great extent the religion of the elite, critics joking that its preaching was limited to the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of Man, and the neighborhood of Boston. Actually, it traced its pedigree not so much to the Pilgrim Fathers as to Erasmus himself, who saw true Christianity in full alliance with the Renaissance. (Johnson)”