Erasmus, Desiderius

[ (i-raz-muhs) ]

A Dutch scholar of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, who attempted to solve some of the controversies of the time of the Reformation. Erasmus urged changes in the general views of Christians (see also Christian), including more personal piety, reforms that would make the Roman Catholic Church less worldly, and the study of the literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Erasmus's most famous work is a satire entitled The Praise of Folly.


Erasmus's position might have been acceptable to both Protestant and Catholic sides during the period of the Reformation, but few religious leaders of the time were interested in compromise.


Erasmus was a friend of Sir Thomas More.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.