Erasmus yearned to make the Bible an effective instrument of reform in society, church, and everyday life. 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.' Matthew was Erasmus's first paraphrased Gospel and was thus the great theologian's first opportunity to set out a full portrait of the life of Jesus.
In this Paraphrase, the wonderful complexity of Jesus's life finds coherence in the conception of Him as a teacher. The baptism, the dove, and the divine voice attesting sonship are called the 'inaugurating ceremonies' that authenticate Jesus as the divine teacher of heavenly philosophy. His students are the disciples, who are to be teachers themselves, initiating an unending line of Christian teachers. The Jesus of this Paraphrase understands pedagogy: He adapts His teaching to the developing abilities of His pupils, quizzes them, and gently rebukes them. His actions as well as His words have one primary objective: to teach the disciples.
As a Preface to the Paraphrase, Erasmus wrote a 'Letter to the Pious Reader,' which became one of his most provocative and important essays. Like the more published Paraclesis, this 'Letter' vigorously advocates the translation of scripture into the vernacular languages, and proposes a 'confirmation' ceremony to encourage young people to assume responsibility for the vows taken for them at baptism by their sponsors.
This volume illuminates the early thinking of Erasmus and is a welcome addition to the Collected Works series.
Volume 45 of the Collected Works of Erasmus series.
About the authors
Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536), a Dutch humanist, Catholic priest, and scholar, was one of the most influential Renaissance figures. A professor of divinity and Greek, Erasmus wrote, taught, and travelled, meeting with Europe’s foremost scholars. A prolific author, Erasmus wrote on both ecclesiastic and general human interest subjects.
Robert D. Sider is the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Classical Languages at Dickinson College and an adjunct professor in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan.
Dean Simpson is an associate professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Richmond.
Other titles by Desiderius Erasmus
Correspondence of Erasmus
Letters 2082 to 2203
Literary and Educational Writings, 1 and 2
Adages IV iii 1 to V ii 51
Collected Works of Erasmus
Controversies with Alberto Pio
Collected Works of Erasmus
Paraphrase on Luke
The Edition of St Jerome, Volume 61
The Correspondence of Erasmus
Letters 1356 to 1534, Volume 10
Literary and Educational Writings, 3 and 4
Volume 3: De conscribendis epistolis / Formula / De civilitate. Volume 4: De pueris instituendis / De recta pronuntiatione, Volume 25-26