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1519 AD.



Gerrit Gerritszoon was born in 1466. Due to his fondness for Latin he changed his name to Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. At the age of 25 he was ordained a priest, but in the end he choose to lead a life of an independent scholar, unrestricted by country, religious views or anything else that might influence his freedom of expression.


Erasmus was passionate about reading; it was said that Erasmus read every single book of his time. He said, "When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes." He was sending letters to about 500 of the most influential people of his time. His advice regarding the politics of critical thinking were highly valued by rulers, scholars and philosophers. Johann Froben, a famous printer and publisher from Basel, asked Erasmus to prepare a Greek - Latin translation of the New Testament. The work was printed in 1516 and was an amazing achievement - it was the first edition of the New Testament that was published in Greek.


This book received a warm welcome from Martin Luther, one year before he nailed his famous 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. Erasmus's work convicted scholars of the XVI century of a need to come back to the translations from the original languages. This attitude prepared the grounds for the church's reformation and started a cycle of translation into national languages. Erasmus's edition owes its success to the well prepared Latin text, which was better than the Vulgate when it came to literacy and conformity to the Greek. Shortly after Erasmus's New Testament was printed, a Complutensian Polyglot Bible was printed, which even though was well prepared, was not met with as warm of a welcome.


Wikipedia - Erazm z Roterdamu



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