About Erasmus

A great many works have been published on Erasmus, and Erasmus himself wrote a great deal. It is not my intention to add much to that, because I am interested in his legacy among his students. But it is also good to know Erasmus himself. Herewith my sources.

In addition to a variety of publications on specific activities of Erasmus, many biographies have appeared about him. Erasmus himself wrote an autobiography that was short for his time. Pierre Bayle devotes an extensive lemma in his encyclopedia to him. Dr. Rev. H.J. Toxopeus is my grandfather. My favorite biography is Zweig’s (1934), because it describes Erasmus’ humanism as a realm of peace and reason, and as the harbinger of a future Europe united in culture and civilization; a new Dutch translation of Zweig’s book came out in 2021.

I list some of the works I have read myself (in chronological order):

  • Erasmus (1524) Compendium vitae
  • P. Bayle (1697) Erasme in Dictionaire historique et critique
  • C. Busken Huet (1882) Erasmus in Land van Rembrandt
  • H.J. Toxopeus (1913) Erasmus
  • P.S. Allen (1914) The age of Erasmus
  • J. Huizinga (1924) Erasmus
  • S. Zweig (1934) Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam
  • J. en A. Verschoor (1938) Erasmus in Erflaters van onze beschaving
  • M.A. Nauwelaerts (1969) Erasmus
  • L.E. Halkin (1987) Erasme
  • S. Langereis (2021) Erasmus dwarsdenker

From Erasmus

Erasmus took full advantage of the then new technique of book printing. His Compedium vitae (see above) is of exceptional brevity. I have by no means read everything of his but have read (parts of):

  • Compendium vitae / Life course
  • Laus stultitiae / Praise of folly
  • Letters
  • Colloquia / Conferences
  • De civilitate morum puerilium / The civility of pueral morals
  • Querela pacis / Complaint of peace
  • Adagia (scl Dulce bellum inexpertis) / Proverbs (e.g. The war sweet for those who do not know it)
  • De bello Turcis inferendo / Going to war with the Turks
  • Enchiridion militis christiani / Handbook for a Christian warrior
  • The libero arbitrio / On free will
  • Paraclesis / introduction to his biblical inquiry
  • Encomium artis medicae / Praise of medicine