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Beyond The Freedom Of The Will: Erasmus' Struggle For Grace

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Chapter Summary

Historians of the Renaissance and Reformation have often incorrectly assumed that in the 1524 debate with Martin Luther, Erasmus rendered his final opinion on Free Will. As a result, Erasmus has typically been lumped in with other defenders of Catholicism against the Protestant reformers. This may be the consequence of the popularity and availability of De libero arbitrio and because Erasmus failed to discredit Luther's program and movement for reform. Many, including experts on Erasmus' thought, have assumed that this perceived failure marked the decline of Erasmus' influence on the humanistic and theological debates connected with the Reformation. Erasmus' exegetical work on Romans and theology of the Will between 1522 and 1536 evidences a remarkable shift away from what would come to be defined as "Orthodox" by the Council of Trent.

Keywords: Catholicism; De libero arbitrio ; Erasmus' theology; free will; Protestant reformers; renaissance

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