Controversies

Controversies: Epistola ad Doprium / Apologia contra Latomi dialogum / Apologia pro declamatione matrimonii / Acata Academiae Lovaniensis contra Lutherum / Axiomata Erasmi pro causa Lutheri / Consiliumcuiusdam / Manifesta mendacia, Volume 71

edited by J.K. Sowards
Volume: 71
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 190
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442673434
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  • Book Info
    Controversies
    Book Description:

    Volumes 71-84 of the CWE contain Erasmus' controversies with a large number of critics on a host of issues, most of the main ones theological. Erasmus' Latin translation of the New Testament, a revised version of the Vulgate bible with copious annotations, which was published by Froben in 1516, initiated the arguments, attacks, and vilifications that plagued him for the last twenty years of his life.

    This volume, the first of the Controversies volumes to be published, centres on Erasmus' disputes with the conservative Catholic critics at the University of Louvain. Some of the principal controversies featured in this volume concern Erasmus' interpretation of Scripture and his editorial decisions about biblical annotations, his views on key matters such as marriage, celibacy, and the dissolute lives of the monks, and later on, his position vis-+-vis Luther. Professor Sowards, whose introductory essay on Erasmus and education in CWE 25 has become an indispensable guide on that subject, provides in this volume another important essay that sets the scene for the translations that follow.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7343-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction: Erasmus and the Louvain Circle
    (pp. ix-lii)
    JKS

    Louvain was an ancient cloth town and one-time capital of Brabant. But it was more important as the site of the only university in the Low Countries. The university had been founded in 1426 and through the rest of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries was a magnet attracting intellectuals of every persuasion to Louvain. Erasmus arrived in the early fall of 1502 for his first prolonged period of residence there. He does not tell us specifically why he came to Louvain, except to escape the plague which had broken out in Saint-Omer where he had been staying as the...

  4. INTRODUCTORY NOTE
    (pp. 1-6)
    JAMES K. McCONICA

    This letter to Maarten van Dorp, a young friend of Erasmus and an academic at Louvain, is the earliest of Erasmus’ long list of apologiae or ′defences.′ Though it was written in letter form it was clearly an apologia. Thomas More immediately designated it as such (Ep 388) and Erasmus himself included it among his apologiae in both catalogues of his works, of 1524 and 1530.¹ This was not, of course, an unusual practice for Erasmus. His treatisesEncomium matrimoniiandDeclamatio de morte, for example, both first appeared as letters.² In the case of the letter to Dorp, moreover,...

  5. THE LETTER TO THE THEOLOGIAN MAARTEN VAN DORP WHICH WAS THEN APPENDED TO THE MORIA ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM TO MAARTEN VAN DORP, THE DISTINGUISHED THEOLOGIAN
    (pp. 7-30)

    Your letter never reached me, but a copy of it - secured I know not how - was shown me by a friend in Antwerp. You say you regret the somewhat unfortunate publication of myFolly, you heartily approve my zeal in restoring the text of Jerome, and you discourage me from publishing the New Testament. This letter of yours, my dear Dorp, gave me no offence - far from it. It has made you much more dear to me, though you were dear enough before; your advice is so sincere, your counsel so friendly, your rebuke so affectionate. This...

  6. INTRODUCTORY NOTE
    (pp. 31-36)

    Erasmus’ controversy with Latomus, like his earlier dispute with Lefèvre d’Etaples, stemmed from the triumphs of 1516. The scholars of Western Europe had been awaiting a New Testament printed in the original Greek for almost twenty years, and the relevant sections of the Alcalá Polyglot, though still unpublished, were already in print. When expectations had been raised for so long, it is not surprising that theNovum instrumentumwas greeted with acclaim. On 27 August Erasmus wrote to Reuchlin, ′The New Testament has made me friends everywhere.′ It was no idle boast. Over the next few months letters came from...

  7. APOLOGY OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, REFUTING RUMOURS AND SUSPICIONS WHICH VARIOUS CRITICS HAVE DRAWN FROM THE DRAMATIC DIALOGUE WRITTEN BY JACOBUS LATOMUS, AUTHORIZED TEACHER OF SACRED THEOLOGY
    (pp. 37-84)

    As my life in this world ebbs away, gentle reader, I had decided to put it to more sparing and careful use. But now I am flung off course and driven to the point where I have to find time to refute the slanders heaped on me by some of my enemies. In fact I can understand Hercules′ problem with that hydra in the Lernaean swamp, with several other heads squirming up whenever he cut one off.¹ In recent days one Jacobus Latomus, a theologian, has brought out a dialogue on the three [scriptural] languages and on the approach to...

  8. INTRODUCTORY NOTE
    (pp. 85-88)

    The piece that set this controversy in motion appeared first as the third of four declamations printed by Dirk Martens, Louvain, 30 March 1518.¹ It bore as its title in this original editionDeclamatio in genere suasorio de laude matrimonii. Erasmus thus cleverly presents his eulogy of marriage in the guise of an oratorical exercise, in which while denying responsibility for the opinions expressed, he grants himself the liberty of saying more than he might otherwise have said.² He will remind his opponents repeatedly of the rules of this literary fiction, in the course of the declamation.

    As Erasmus states...

  9. THE DEFENCE OF THE DECLAMATION ON MARRIAGE ERASMUS GIVES GREETINGS TO THE EMINENT SCHOLARS OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS ACADEMY OF LOUVAIN
    (pp. 89-96)

    Since the matter is too well known to be ignored, having been the subject of a public address before a crowded and open assembly, and the suspicion has sunk too deeply into everyone′s mind for it to fade away of its own, especially since there are those who attempt by their talk and adverse interpretations to impress it still further into people′s minds, I have seen fit by this apology to remove every shadow of suspicion and protect at one and the same time the honour of the excellent theologian, Jan Briart,¹ vice-chancellor of this most renowned school, and my...

  10. INTRODUCTORY NOTE
    (pp. 97-100)

    Though all of the short tracts which follow have been attributed at one time or another to Luther rather than Erasmus, and though none of them is precisely dated, the stylistic evidence for attributing them to Erasmus is overwhelming and the three form a natural sequel to the early controversies with which we have been concerned until now. The skirmish with Latomus and the Louvain theologians had been fought in March 1519. It concerned biblical studies and the use of language. Luther′s name was only mentioned. The events which form the background to these three tracts took place about eighteen...

  11. ACTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUVAIN AGAINST LUTHER TO THE HONEST READER, GREETINGS
    (pp. 101-105)

    I shall be delighted to convey the latest news to you, as it is in everyone′s interest that the facts should be as widely known as possible. A few days ago Girolamo Aleandro arrived. He thinks himself by far the greatest of men and not only because of his knowledge of languages, profound though it is - if Hebrew was his native tongue, he grew up with Greek from boyhood and learned Latin by teaching it incessantly: but the antiquity of his tribe seems also to do wonders for his self-esteem. He is a Jew by birth, and that race...

  12. BRIEF NOTES OF ERASMUS OF ROTTERDAM FOR THE CAUSE OF THE THEOLOGIAN MARTIN LUTHER
    (pp. 106-107)

    The matter has sprung from a tainted source, the hatred of literature and the claim for spiritual domination.

    The means by which it has been pursued are in keeping with this source - wrangling, conspiracies, bitter passions, and poisonous libels.

    The persons by whom it is being pursued are suspect.

    At the same time it is said that the best authorities and those closest to the doctrine of the Gospels are least offended by Luther.

    It is well known that certain persons are taking advantage of the pope′s good nature.

    This makes it the more important to avoid hasty decisions...

  13. MINUTE COMPOSED BY A PERSON WHO SERIOUSLY WISHES PROVISIONS TO BE MADE FOR THE REPUTATION OF THE ROMAN PONTIFF AND THE PEACE OF THE CHURCH
    (pp. 108-112)

    It is part of the Christian spirit to give sincere support to the vicar of Christ, and to wish that his standing be unimpaired. Conversely, it is a sign of the pope’s devotion to his duty to let no private interest come so close to his heart that he would not gladly set the glory of his captain, Christ, and the general peace of the Christian church before it. Yet those who support the pope’s status and dignity should do so with discretion. They will do that if they protect it with reasoned arguments which are likely to receive tacit...

  14. INTRODUCTORY NOTE
    (pp. 113-115)

    In March 1525 there appeared in Antwerp a book under the pseudonym ′Godefridus Ruysius Taxander′ in which Erasmus’ views on confession were attacked in vicious terms.¹ Erasmus knew of the publication within a month of its appearance and identified it as a collaborative effort by four Dominicans, among whom Vincentius Theoderici played the leading role.²

    Theoderici (1481-1526), a member of the faculty of theology at Louvain, had been critical of Erasmus’ theological positions for some time and had had a personal confrontation with him in 152O.³ He was eager to publish his criticism of Erasmus, but was restrained by his...

  15. MANIFEST LIES
    (pp. 116-132)

    At the beginning of his charming preface he says that I make assertions about or cast doubt on what has been decided by the church, indeed by Christ himself.¹ He is referring to myExomologesis.² Indeed, in my dispute with Lee³ I state that this confession must be accepted no differently than if it had been instituted by Christ himself. These are my words: ′We do not read that Christ has instituted secret confession, yet these people believe what they have not read, and I believe what the church has ordained and what is by general consensus approved as handed...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 133-172)
  17. WORKS FREQUENTLY CITED
    (pp. 174-175)
  18. SHORT-TITLE FORMS FOR ERASMUS’ WORKS
    (pp. 176-180)
  19. Index
    (pp. 181-191)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 192-192)