38
The Basel Years, 1521-1529: The Reformation Storm Rising

This sorry business of Luther ... [ Lutherana tragoedia]
Erasmus, 27 May 1521, Epistle 1206
( CWE 8:218/50; Allen IV, 499/46)

New factions constantly arise, not to say persecutions. The laity are hostile to the clergy, and the clergy regard the laity almost with abomination.
Caesarius to Erasmus, 14 July 1522, Epistle 1291 ( CWE 9:107/14-6; Allen V, 75/14-6)

'I laid the egg; Luther hatched it.' Indeed a surprising statement, made by those Minorites -- but it does suit their fat bellies. What I laid was a hen's egg; the bird Luther hatched was altogether different. Erasmus to Caesarius, 6 December 1524, Epistle 1528 (trans. M. A. Haworth in Hillerbrand, 183; Allen V, 609/11-14)

Long before Erasmus arrived in Basel on 15 November 1521 he had talked of returning there. In Epistle 1236, writing from Anderlecht in October 1521, he spoke lightly of the decision facing him in the early part of the year:

Just now, I had quite made up my mind to take to the road, with the idea of finishing what I wished to do in Basel, and then migrating entirely to Rome, there to devote what time is left me to the society of great scholars and the resources of great libraries. ( CWE 8:308/198-202; Allen IV, 587/178-182)

But, he added in this letter to Paolo Bombasio, the 'cruel war' was a deterrent. In Basel Froben had expected his arrival before Easter (Introduction to Epistle 1242, CWE); in Rome and Wittenberg it had for some time been assumed that Erasmus was already in Basel.

Epistle 1239 of 14 October 1521 is the last dated letter by Erasmus from Anderlecht. About a week was given to financial and other matters in Louvain and Antwerp, and he set out from Louvain for Basel on the 28th of October (Epistle 1241A). His route was

-283-

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Erasmus of Europe: - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Notes xiv
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • List of ILlustrations xvii
  • 18 Return from England: the Years in Flanders and Paris, 1501-1502 1
  • 19 the Early Louvain Years, 1502-1504 14
  • Notes 24
  • 20 the Enchiridion: 'Philosophia Christi' 28
  • Notes 40
  • 21 1504, a Threshold Year 41
  • Notes 49
  • 22 Return to England, 1505-1506 51
  • Notes 59
  • 23 Italy, 1506-1509 62
  • Notes 71
  • 24 the Adages 74
  • Notes 82
  • 25 England Again, 1509: the 'Period of Silence' 86
  • Notes 92
  • 25 the Praise of Folly 95
  • Notes 105
  • 27 the Cambridge Years, 1511-1514 109
  • Notes 122
  • 28 the Changing World in 1514 126
  • 29 Vocation and Life-Style 140
  • Notes 147
  • 30 to Basel, Summer 1514 149
  • Notes 161
  • 31 1516, the Annus Mirabilis 165
  • Notes 173
  • 32 the New Testament: A Life Work 175
  • Notes 189
  • Notes 210
  • 34 the Rising Storm of Controversy: Erasmus and His Catholic Critics, 1517-1522 216
  • Notes 231
  • 35 the Colloquies 236
  • Notes 243
  • Erasmus and His Friends: His Audience and His Geography 247
  • Notes 259
  • 37 Reform and Reformation: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda 263
  • Notes 278
  • 38 the Basel Years, 1521-1529: the Reformation Storm Rising 283
  • 39 Erasmus and Luther: on the Freedom of the Will 298
  • Notes 306
  • 40 Language and Style 310
  • Notes 317
  • 41 the Basel Years: Humanism and Religion 320
  • Notes 333
  • 42 the Freiburg Years, 1529-1535 337
  • Notes 346
  • 43 the Final Act at Basel: Summer 1535 to July 1536 350
  • Notes 359
  • 44 the Achievement of Erasmus and His Place in History 362
  • Notes 377
  • Appendix C Erasmus' Dispensations 381
  • Notes 383
  • Appendix D Erasmus' Wills 384
  • Notes 385
  • Appendix E Portraits of Erasmus 387
  • An Erasmian Chronology: LIfe and Writings 390
  • Bibliography 393
  • Index of Names of Persons 408
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