In 1516 Erasmus published his new Latin translation of the New Testament. After that he started to write his paraphrases of all books, except Apocalypse. This introduction gives a state of the art. It will be first discussed when and where Erasmus wrote his paraphrases, which were composed between May 1517 and January 1524 when he was also reworking his Novum Instrumentum/ Novum Testamentum. The next issue treated is what kind of work they are, being a kind of commentary, but also an aid for preachers to bring the New Testament to their audience. This is related to the aim Erasmus had with his ‘New Testament project’: to advance the philosophia Christi and Christian piety, and his intended or implied readership, theologians. He used several sources to bring his interpretations of the biblical stories in line with the exegetical tradition.
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.