A Companion to Biblical Humanism and Scholasticism in the Age of Erasmus


Throughout the Middle Ages dialectical disputation was the prevailing method of scholarly inquiry. In the fifteenth century, however, humanists challenged the scholastic method, proposing instead historical and philological approaches. This volume focuses on the polemic over the right approach to biblical studies. It describes manifestations of the controversy, ranging from its beginnings in quattrocento Italy to Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and scholars associated with the papal court in the sixteenth century. Erasmus, the most prominent biblical humanist of his day, served as a lightning rod for many of the controversies discussed here and has also received much attention from modern scholars. The chapters offered here seek to lend a voice also to Erasmus’ critics and to right the balance in a historical narrative that has traditionally favoured the humanists. Contributors are John Monfasani, Daniel Menager, Carlos del Valle Rodríguez, Alejandro Coroleu, Charles Fantazzi, Guy Bedouelle, James Farge, Cecilia Asso, Marcel Gielis, Paolo Sartori, Paul F. Grendler, Nelson H. Minnich, Ronald K. Delph


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Biographical Note

Erika Rummel is Professor of History Emerita (Wilfrid Laurier University) and presently directs the edition of the Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito at the University of Toronto. She is the author of a number of monographs on humanism and the reformation, most recently the biography Erasmus (2004), The Case of Johann Reuchlin (2002), and The Confessionalization of Humanism (2000).

Review Quotes

"The scholarly representation is impressively international and the translations are well done". [....] "The highest standards of intellectual history are maintained throughout". Mark Vessey, University of British Columbia. In: Renaissance Quarterly Vol. 62, No. 3 (Fall 2009).

"The thirteen essays [...] that constitute this volume address themes vital for the study of Erasmus and of the intellectual history of the Renaissance. They will initiate recruits into these fields of scholarship, while experts will benefit from the less commonly known data and interpretations". Hilmar M. Pabel, Simon Fraser University. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 61, No. 1 (2010), pp. 183-185.

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations
Introduction, Erika Rummel

1. Criticism of Biblical Humanists in Quattrocento Italy, John Monfasani
2. Erasmus, the Intellectuals, and the Reuchlin Affair, Daniel Menager
3. The reaction against biblical humanism in Spain
i. Nebrija’s biblical scholarship, Carlos del Valle Rodríguez
ii. Anti-erasmianism in Spain, Alejandro Coroleu
iii. Vives and the Pseudodialecticians, Charles Fantazzi
4. The faculty of theology at Paris and the ‘theologizing humanists’
i. Attacks on the Biblical Humanism of Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples, Guy Bedouelle
ii. Noël Beda and the Defense of the Tradition, James Farge
5. The campaign against biblical humanists at the University of Leuven
i. Martin Dorp and Edward Lee, Cecilia Asso
ii. Leuven theologians as opponents of Erasmus and of humanistic theology, Marcel Gielis
iii. Frans Titelmans, the Congregation of Montaigu and Biblical Scholarship, Paolo Sartori
6. Critics of biblical humanism in 16th century Italy
i. Italian Biblical Humanism and the Papacy, 1515-1535, Paul F. Grendler
ii. Alberto Pio’s Defense of Scholastic Theology, Nelson H. Minnich
iii. Emending and Defending the Vulgate Old Testament: Agostino Steuco’s Quarrel with Erasmus, Ronald K. Delph



All those interested in intellectual history of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the history of universities, the history of the Church.


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