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Modern World History Debate – Erasmus of Rotterdam

2 Table of Contents Original Works.......................................................................................................................3 Biography...............................................................................................................................3 Arguments .............................................................................................................................4

3 SJ Han Ms. Johnson Modern World History 28 August 2012

Original Works: “But perhaps I had better pass over our divines in silence and not stir this pool or touch this fair but unsavory plant, as a kind of men that are supercilious beyond comparison, and to that too, implacable; lest setting them about my ears, they attack me by troops and force me to a recantation sermon, which if I refuse, they straight pronounce me a heretic, For this is the thunderbolt with which they fright those whom they are resolved not to favor.” –The Praise of Folly

“But on the other hand, do not think that Christ is found in ceremonies, in doctrines kept after a fashion, and in constitutions of the church. Who is truly Christian? Not he who is baptized or anointed, or who attends church. It is rather the man who has embraced Christ in the innermost feelings of his heart, and who emulates Him by his pious deeds.” –The Education of a Christian Prince

Biography -Date of birth is unconfirmed, but was born sometime in the 1460’s. -Entered a monastery when his parents died early in his life. -Dutch humanist, theologian, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian.

4 -While critical of the Church, he opposed reformation. -Considered himself a preacher of righteousness. -Proponent of religious toleration. -Committed to reform the Church from within. -Wrote the Praise of Folly, which poked fun at greedy merchants, heartsick lovers, quarrelsome scholars, and pompous priests. -Believed in a Christianity of the heart, not one of ceremonies or rules. -Published a Greek-Latin New Testament in 1516, which Martin Luther later used to translate the New Testament in German.

Arguments -Although Luther’s been drawing a lot of attention with his attempt to basically overthrow the Catholic Church and lead his own church, I think this is largely unnecessary. Will we really succumb to one man trying to abolish years and years worth of tradition and unification? Of course not. The only thing it does is cause conflict and disunity; there have already been several instances of violence caused by the tension between those for and against the reformation. Ironically, these supposed religious people are killing each other over their interpretation of their beliefs. Therefore, I believe the best compromise is to reform the Catholic Church from within, rather than trying to start all over from scratch. I feel this is the most efficient and appropriate alternative to an all-out reformation. The Church must start to listen to the demands and requests of the people, and accordingly make adjustments, while still sticking to the core foundations of Catholicism. One procedure that can be taken is the practice of religious toleration; lessen the strictness of religious rules and allow people to hold their own interpretation of the Bible. Doing

5 so will satisfy both the revolutionists who want change and the conservatives who want to stay faithful to the traditional Catholic Church. While the recent actions of Church leaders have been lamentable, the Church in itself is still fundamentally just and has undeniably been a powerful force in society for the past years. So am I against reformation? Not entirely. While I cannot relate to all of Martin Luther’s ideals, I can agree that the Church, that is, the Catholic Church, needs to be refined in order to advance and meet the needs of the people. This is the same reason why I believe that it is redundant and problematic to establish a new Church altogether; because the Catholic Church has already proven itself its ability to unite and bring together people, and it has the potential to continue to do so with the proper leadership and the proper causes.

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Erasmus, Desiderius. “The Praise of Folly”. Accessed on August 28, 2012. Erasmus, Desiderius. “The Education of a Christian Prince”. Accessed on August 28, 2012.

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