Saturday, January 19, 2008

Erasmus on Scripture and Theology

Some of my favourite Erasmus quotes:
“Another, perhaps, even a non-Christian, may discuss more subtly how the angels understand, but to persuade us to lead here an angelic life, free from every stain, this indeed is the duty of the Christian theologian.”

“The journey is simple, and it is ready for anyone. Only bring a pious and open mind, possessed above all with a pure and simple faith. Only be docile, and you have advanced far in this philosophy. . . . This doctrine in an equal degree accommodates itself to all . . . . not only does it serve the lowliest, but it is also an object of wonder to those at the top. . . . It keeps no one at a distance, unless a person, begrudging himself, keeps himself away."

“In this kind of philosophy . . . life means more than debate, inspiration is preferable to erudition, transformation is a more important matter than intellectual comprehension. Only a very few can be learned, but all can be Christian, all can be devout, and—I shall boldly add—all can be theologians.”
These are all from Erasmus's Paraclesis, which I believe he published as the introduction to his 1516 edition of the Greek New Testament.

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