Erasmus of Christendom
Bainton, Roland Herbert, 1894-
pub by Scribner, NY - 1969 - republished 1982 - isbn - 0824504151 - LCCN - 68-027788 - - black and white illustrations - Bibliography p. 285-299 - 308 p.
Bainton has written the definitive biography of Desiderius Erasmus (1466/1469 - 1536) born in Rotterdam, one of the intellectual giants of the Reformation. He was a Catholic priest. He was a contemporary of Martin Luther, and debated Luther. He was also a friend of Thomas More of England (who ran afoul of Henry VIII). He translated and made Greek edition of the New Testament, published in 1522, accompanied by a new Latin translation. Both sides of the Reformation wanted Erasmus to be on their side. He managed to survive by not stepping firmly into either camp. He traveled extensively throughout Europe even Rome. He was fameous enough to have had his portrait painted by Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, and Quentin Matsys.
Among his lesser but more popular works is The Praise of Folly. During his life he did not admit to being its author, which kept him out of trouble.
In a violent age when religious passions caused the death of many, Erasmus managed to prevail in peace and die an elderly man in his own bed.
This is an extremely readable book, and a good introduction to this time period in Europe.
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