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The Correspondence of Erasmus

Letters 2803 to 2939, Volume 20

by Desiderius Erasmus, edited by James M. Estes, translated by Clarence H. Miller

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renaissance, history, theology

In the months covered by this volume, Erasmus experienced sharply deteriorating health and thoughts of approaching death, although he remained active in the promotion of good causes and the defence of his good name. The seemingly imminent threat of religious civil war in Germany affected Erasmus in two ways. First, he made up his mind to leave Germany and return to his native Brabant. However, the arrival in 1533 of a formal invitation from Queen Mary, regent of the Netherlands, coincided with the onset of chronic ill health that would last until the end of his life. Repeated postponements eventually led to an abandonment of the journey altogether. Second, Erasmus did what he could to promote the cause of religious unity. In On Mending the Peace of the Church he urged rulers to enact moderate reforms that would satisfy all parties and avoid confessional division. When Martin Luther responded to this attempt at a "middle path" between "truth and error" in his Letter Concerning Erasmus of Rotterdam (1534), denouncing Erasmus as a skeptic and not a Christian, Erasmus responded indignantly with his Purgation against the Slanderous Letter of Luther. Erasmus’ only other work published in this period turned out to be one of his most popular, On Preparing for Death.

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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Clarence H. Miller is an American Professor Emeritus of English at Saint Louis University.

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Editorial Reviews

"Academic publishing does not get any better than this: durably bound, expertly annotated, beautifully translated editions of the works of one of the finest scholars in the illustrious history of the Christian Church."

— <em>Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society</em>

"One of the most ambitious, meticulous, and essential scholarly projects now underway."

— <em>Modern Language Notes</em>

"The Toronto Erasmus project is a magnificent achievement, one of the scholarly triumphs of our time. The succession of fine volumes – both in quality of content and of design and production – has continued to fulfil the original promise of the distinguished team of editors and the equally distinguished advisory committee."

— <em>Common Knowledge</em>

"The Collected Works of Erasmus project has long since established a new standard for scholarly translation series to emulate. Not only have the English versions represented Erasmus’ writings in crisp and accessible language, but meticulous editorial scholarship has placed the author’s thought and work in their proper intellectual contexts."

— <em>Renaissance Quarterly</em>

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Other Titles by Desiderius Erasmus

Literary and Educational Writings, 3 and 4

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
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Other Titles by James M. Estes

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