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Erasmus, Desiderius (c.1468–1536)

  1. Korey D. Maas

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0502

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Maas, K. D. 2011. Erasmus, Desiderius (c.1468–1536). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch biblical humanist and moral reformer, was born in Rotterdam and educated by the Brothers of the Common Life. He devoted his adult life to the reform of letters and morals. Northern Europe's standard-bearer for the revival of classical learning begun in Italy a century earlier, Erasmus early on turned his attention to a program for the reform of education. In original works such as De ratione studii (1511), De copia verborum ac rerum (1512), and De pueris instituendis (1529), he outlined a program for liberal studies inspired by the best of classical antiquity, supplementing these more formal treatises with numerous and ever-expanding editions of Colloquia (model Latin discourses) and Adagia (Greek and Latin proverbs), in which were exemplified both the eloquent style and moral wisdom of the ancients.


  • erasmus, desiderius (c.1468–1536);
  • dutch biblical humanist, and moral reformer;
  • brothers of the common life;
  • reformist writings of Martin Luther;
  • de libero arbitrio;
  • reform of christendom;
  • enchiridion militis Christiani, Christian life