41
The Basel Years: Humanism and Religion

I see a new kind of men appearing that my spirit vigorously abhors. I do not see anyone getting better, instead everybody is getting worse -- at least those I know.

Erasmus to a monk, October 1527, Epistle 1887

( Allen VII, 199/9-11)

The most prominent of the accomplishments of Erasmus lie in the area of 'sacred philology'. Many of the Church Fathers, Greek as well as Latin, owe the first printed editions of their writings to his tireless activity as scholar and publisher.

J. Pelikan, The Melody of Theology, 71

That the Lutherans destroyed by their violence the culture of humanism, the refinement of letters, was the constant complaint of Erasmus.

Edgar Wind, in JWCI ( 1938)

As late as 1527 Erasmus still toyed with the idea of going to France or England where there were excellent prospects, even assurances from the French and English kings and their spokesmen. The sale of his library in 1525 doubtless had several motivations: he could use the money, 1 and very likely he was clearing his house and ordering his affairs as he became older and approached the ever-nearer inevitability of death. In 1534 his De praeparatione ad mortem was published in Basel, 2 and it marks his thinking about old age (about which he increasingly complained) and death (see chapter 43).

More positively, the English annuity was paid regularly, although on the death of Warham on 22 August 1532 Erasmus was to fear that the annuity might cease. 3 Yet he was able to live in comfort; and he carefully continued to preserve close relations with both England and France, needing the protection of the French king especially because of the unrelenting hostility of the Sorbonnists. He played with the idea of going to France as late as 30 March 1527 ( Smith, 275); but after the censures of the Sorbonnists in 1529, and their forbidding the sale of his editions of Ambrose and Augustine in 1530, followed in April 1532 by yet another censure, he relin-

-320-

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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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