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The Use of evangelicus in the Paraphrases

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image of Erasmus Studies

This article is a word study that analyses and interprets how Erasmus uses the adjective evangelicus, -a, -um in his New Testament Paraphrases. The development of the idiom ‘gospel-blank’ (evangelicus + noun) is analyzed diachronically; the phrases denoting gospel things are divided into six semantic categories. The study shows, on the one hand, that there is a general consistency in how evangelicus is used, the most common pairings predominating in most Paraphrases on the Epistles and Gospels, while, on the other, there is some broadening and lowering of the nouns with which evangelicus is joined, moving from the Paraphrases on the Epistles to the Gospel Paraphrases. Erasmus’ changing attitude to the project of paraphrasing the New Testament provides biographical and historical context in which to place the study’s findings. The study concludes by highlighting the New Testament Paraphrases as Erasmus’ humanistic response to worsening divisions in the early 1520s.

Affiliations: 1: University of Richmond


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