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Word Count: 1,373
The nature of individuals role in salvation from the point of view of Luther and Erasmus Erasmus was one of the most intelligent people of his century In his time he was the leader of all scholars in Europe from Germany to Italy and Spain and from England to Hungary as well He stands above the other humanists and forerunners of the reformation His great mission was to bring back the spirit of classical and Christian The first part of his life specifically until 1524 as being progressive and reformatory the second until his death in 1536 was conservative and reactionary While visiting fellow humanist Thomas More in 1509 Erasmus composed In Praise of Folly his most famous and controversial work Included are attacks on superstitious religious practices uncritical theories held by traditional scientists and the vanity of Church leaders Erasmus attacks superstitious folk beliefs in ghosts and goblins as well as Christian rituals involving prayers to the saints One such superstition involved the sale of indulgence certificates by the Catholic Church An indulgence is a remission punishment for a sin which reduces the time which a person spends in purgatory Erasmus continues satirizing an array of people and occupations including peasants poets rhetoricians layers and narrow-minded natural scientists He turns to members of his own vocation those who have taken monastic vows They are neither religious nor monastic and are too preoccupied with ritual Although they take vows of poverty they nevertheless make a of money through begging Pulling no punches Erasmus attacks the behavior of church leaders at the highest levels The bishops live like princes He argues that their true function would be evident if they noted the symbolism of their attire In all his criticism of clerical follies and abuses he had always carefully hedged himself about with protests that he was not attacking church institutions themselves and had no enmity toward the persons of churchmen The evils he had combated
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