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History Renaissance

Encounters with a Radical Erasmus

Erasmus' Work as a Source of Radical Thought in Early Modern Europe

by (author) P.G. Bietenholz

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Dec 2008
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2008
    List Price

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Although Erasmus is now accepted as a harbinger of liberal trends in mainstream Christian theology, the radical - even subversive - aspects of his work have received less attention. Beginning with a redefinition of the term radicalism, Peter G. Bietenholz examines the ways in which the radical aspects of Erasmus' writings inspired radical reactions among sixteenth- and seventeenth-century readers.

Bietenholz examines the challenges to orthodoxy in Erasmus' scholarly work on the New Testament and the ways in which they influenced generations of thinkers, including John Milton and Sir Isaac Newton. Turning to other aspects of Erasmus' writings, the author shows the ways in which his opposition to war encouraged radical manifestations of pacifism; how his reflections on freedom of thought and religious toleration elicited both warm approval and fierce rejection; and the ways his critical attitude helped foster the early modern culture of Scepticism.

An engaging look at Erasmus' theological, philosophical and socio-political influence, Encounters with a Radical Erasmus will prove useful to scholars of humanism, theology, the Reformation and Renaissance.

About the author

Peter G. Bietenholz is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan.

P.G. Bietenholz's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘With this work, University of Toronto Press continues its series of excellent studies on the fortuna of Erasmus in the early modern period.’

Jonathan Woolfson, <em>The Historian: vol73:01:2011</em>

Other titles by P.G. Bietenholz