In the 1519 edition of the Novum Testamentum Erasmus replaced the traditional Marcionite Argumenta which prefaced each of the Pauline Epistles in the Novum Instrumentum of 1516 with newly composed Argumenta of his own. This article explores the function of these prefaces within the broader context of Erasmus’ program of biblical scholarship. Broaching the topics of authorship, literary style, theological content, and devotional application which are more fully worked out in the Annotations, Paraphrases, and Ratio verae theologiae, the Argumenta express in miniature Erasmus’ objectives as an editor of the Bible.
This article seeks to contribute to the current re-evaluation of the relationship between the Protestant Reformation and the first period of Reformed orthodoxy by examining the ways in which the authors of the Synopsis Purioris Theologiae appropriated the literatures of classical antiquity and employed them in the context of their scholastic discourses. The derivative manner in which the many references to ancient Greek and Latin writings are employed is evidenced by the demonstrable influence of three major intermediaries: medieval lexicons and anthologies, the tradition of biblical exegesis, and the writings of John Calvin. With special attention to the classical texts that are quoted in the fundamental introductory theses of several disputations, as well as in the “polemical” ones refuting non-Reformed teaching, it is argued that the Synopsis is constructed on a complexity of intertexts that extends beyond the traditionally identified patristic and medieval sources. Thus a better understanding is gained into the nature of the (dis)continuities from medieval Scholasticism to the Reformation and early Reformed orthodoxy.
Between 1520 and 1530 Desiderius Erasmus published several treatises on education in which he provides practical advice about subjects worthy of study and the ideological assumptions which support it. Drawing special attention to his understanding of the natural capabilities of humanity, this article seeks to illustrate the relation between one of Erasmus's theological premises and his promotion of classical culture. During the same period Martin Luther wrote three influential educational tracts and also engaged Erasmus in a debate over the freedom of the will, which forced both the Christian humanist and the Wittenberg reformer to express clearly their understandings of humanity in its natural state. A comparison of their divergent theological positions reveals a fundamental difference in their views of education and its value. Whereas Erasmus justifies the study of ancient secular authors by means of his positive notion of humanitas, Luther subordinates education to the theological rediscoveries of the Wittenberg reformation. The article concludes that further comparative studies of various theological presuppositions and the educational programs they support will advance the understanding of the connections between the ideals and the realities of schooling in sixteenth-century Europe.