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The Correspondence of Erasmus

Letters 2472 to 2634, Volume 18

by Desiderius Erasmus, notes by James M. Estes, translated by Charles Fantazzi

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renaissance, theology, history

Volume 18 in the Collected Works of Erasmus series covers the period from 1 April 1531 to 30 March 1532. The most persistent theme in the letters is the fear, to which Erasmus had long been prey, that the religious strife in Germany and Switzerland would eventually lead to armed conflict.


His Catholic and Evangelical critics continued to annoy him. In June 1531 Erasmus published his final apologia against Alberto Pio, who had accused him of being the source of the Lutheran heresy. Though Erasmus’ public controversy with the Strasbourg theologians had come to an end in 1530, he wrote a long letter to Martin Bucer emphasizing his doctrinal differences with the Strasbourgers and his low estimate of their moral character. Erasmus’ financial affairs also figure prominently in the letters between him and his friend, the banker Erasmus Schets. The letters between them are testimony to his impatience with people who owed him money, his frequent inability to understand the details of his own finances, and his quickness to assume that people he trusted were cheating him.


Volume 18 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.
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James M. Estes is professor emeritus of history at Victoria College, University of Toronto.
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Charles E. Fantazzi is Thomas Harriot Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of Classics and Great Books at East Carolina University.
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