New Testament of Erasmus (1516) (The)



Erasmus decided in 1515 to offer a new edition of the New Testament to the Christian Europe of his time. Deeply inspired by this text, and seeking to bring about the rebirth of apostolic times, those blessed times of Christianity, he wanted to correct the Vulgate more so than offer a new translation of the work. Wishing to offer Christendom the Word of God free of the imperfections that had built up over the centuries, he imposed three requirements on his philological work: fidelity, lucidity, and purity of language. Thus for the first time in the history of Christianity, Erasmus applied to New Testament writings the rules that applied to all literary texts. However, in doing so, he triggered a shockwave throughout Christian Europe of the time, as touching the Vulgate entailed shaking up the entire secular Christian tradition. Erasmus’s New Testament in 1516 was a huge publishing success, one that ensured the eternal glory of its author, but that also tore apart Europe’s religious landscape for centuries.