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Between the years of 1524 and 1527 Erasmus Desiderius and Martin Luther were tangled up in an interesting controversy Bainton 187 This controversy surprisingly did not involve the authority of the pope the nature of the church indulgences or any of the other practices that each man equally detested It involved the philosophical topic regarding the question of free or enslaved will Faulkner 171 Preserved Smith defines free will as the power to apply ones self to the things that make for salvation 348 This controversy was bound to happen for a number of reasons First of all Luther was becoming violent in his words and actions in general Secondly Luther made himself a target by his assertion in the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518 Luthers exact words were Free will after the fall even when doing the best it can commits a mortal sin These two factors led Erasmus to speak out against Luther in De Libero Artitrio On Free Will Luther eventually answered back furiously in De Servo Arbitrio On Enslaved Will Bainton 186-7 This was a superior work which explains to historians why Luther prevails in the end Zweig 139 Erasmus was one of the most intelligent people of his century Today however he remains in the minds of most people as nothing more than another name Zweig 3 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 Schaff 402 His great mission was to bring back the spirit of classical and Christian Antiquity Smith 33-4 Preserved Smith describes the first part of his life specifically until 1524 as being progressive and reformatory the second until his death in 1536 he says was conservative and reactionary 402 He is described as being somewhat of a nomad never staying in the same place for more than
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