This article discusses how Erasmus deals with the personae in the Paraphrase on Luke, distinguishing between the author Erasmus (the paraphrast), the narrator (the paraphraser) and the evangelist. These ‘Luke-voices’ are connected to exegesis (explanation of the narrative) and hermeneutics (the application of the narrative to the lives of the audience). It is argued that Erasmus deliberately played with the voices; this enabled him to criticize wrongs of his own times as worded by ‘Luke’, and to contribute to the advancement of Christian piety.
See also John J. Bateman‘From Soul to Soul: Persuasion in Erasmus’ Paraphrases on the New Testament’Erasmus in English15 (1987–1988) 7–16. The Paraclesis is edited in ASDV-7:279–298. Erasmus used the terms ‘philosophia Christi’ ‘philosophia christiana’ and ‘philosophia evangelica’.
Jacques ChomaratGrammaire et rhétorique chez Erasme (Paris: Les Belles Lettres1981). The same view of Erasmus as a ‘rhetorical theologian’ is expressed by Manfred Hoffmann Rhetoric and Theology: The Hermeneutics of Erasmus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1994). However Chomarat highlights rhetorical issues Hoffmann theological ones.
Barnett‘Erasmus and Hermeneutics’. She quotes (n. 5) an illuminating passage from Erasmus’Ecclesiastes(1535) ASDV-5:248–250 ll. 128–132: ‘Nec absurdum est hoc quoque voluisse Spiritum Sanctum ut Scriptura nonnunquam varios gignat sensus pro cuiusque affectu. Sicuti manna cuique sapiebat quod volebat. Nec haec est Scripturarum incertitudo sed foecunditas.’ (CWE 68:962: ‘… nor is it absurd that the Holy Spirit also intended for Scripture to give rise to a variety of meanings according to each person’s feeling in the same way that manna had for each person the flavour that he desired; and this is not the uncertainty of Scripture but its fertility.’).
Ep.1274CWE ll. 41–43; Allen ll. 37–39. See Jean-François Cottier ‘Erasmus’s Paraphrases: A “New Kind of Commentary”?’ The Unfolding of Words: Commentary in the Age of Erasmus ed. Judith Rice Henderson (Toronto-Buffalo-London: University of Toronto Press 2012) 27–54 (31) and Judith Rice Henderson ‘Editor’s Addendum: Translating an Erasmian Definition of Paraphrase’ The Unfolding of Words ed. Rice Henderson 46–54.