Erasmus yearned to make the Bible an effective instrument of reform in society, church, and everyday life, and to this end he composed the Paraphrases, in which the words of Holy Scripture provide the core of a text, vastly expanded to embrace the reforming 'philosophy of Christ.' The Paraphrases were successful beyond all expectations, and were quickly translated into French, English, and other languages. Paraphrase on Luke is the second of two Luke volumes (Volume 47 forthcoming) and the sixth to be published in the New Testament Scholarship series in the Collected Works of Erasmus.
The Paraphrase on Luke is an expanded version of the original book in the voice of its original author. The scriptural discourse or narrative is supplemented by Erasmus' explication of the moral, theological, and allegorical meanings; amplification of the dramatic setting with psychological, historical, and geographical detail; and rhetorical elaboration in language and style. Classical authors, earlier Biblical commentators, various theological issues, Erasmus' debts to the traditions of exegesis on this Gospel, and relevant contemporary church controversies all colour the paraphrases, and annotations on these points construct a mosaic portrait of the mind of Erasmus as he confronted Scripture and his readership.