Erasmus devoted his life to restoring the direct connection between the individual Christian and the textual basis of Christian doctrine. Although he is called the father of biblical criticism, Erasmus was not a theologian. He was more interested int he practical impact of ideas than in the ideas themselves.
His scathing attacks upon the Scholastics, popular superstition, and the pretensions of the traditionalists in the Church and the universities all aimed at the same goal: to restore the experiences of Christ to the center of Christianity.
People in the 14th century were not encouraged to think or reason for themselves. Erasmus, who was at the forefront in promoting the spread of knowledge that included the great writers of ancient Greece and Rome, felt that to encourage learning would turn ignorance about religious, state and daily life on its head.
Erasmus was then given permission to study at the University of Paris. He then travelled through Europe and started to write books. The Praise of Folly was written in 1509 and published in 1511.
Erasmus wrote his 'Praise of Folly' to expose the vices and temporal ambitions of bishops and monks, the foolish speculations of theologians, and the excessive reliance which common people had on pilgrimages, festivals, relics, and other aids to devotion.
When he was 40, Erasmus was appointed professor of Divinity at Cambridge University. He produced an edition of the New Testament and established an unmatched reputation for his studies of the Bible.
His war against superstition and his humanist views resulted in his works being listed in the Index of Forbidden Books by the Council of Trent.
Criticized the Pope and the Catholic Church for its corruption but did not advocate leaving the church as Luther would eventually do. Encouraged Luther before the Leipzig debate and thereafter began to criticize him. Erasmus disagreed with Luther over the issue of free-will.
Through his knowledge of the scriptures and own experience, Erasmus witnessed how Rome had corrupted Christ's doctrines completely. He wrote extensively to decry Rome's dogmas and expose her extortions.
Desiderius Erasmus was born in Rotterdam in about 1466. He joined the Augustinian monastery at Steyn in 1487 and was ordained in 1492.