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Discourse on Free Will

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  222 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Desiderius Eramsus (1466/9-1536) was the most renowned scholar of his age, a celebrated humanist and Classicist, and the first teacher of Greek at Cambridge. An influential figure in the Protestant Reformation, though without ever breaking from the Church himself, he satirised both human folly and the corruption of the Church. Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the founder of ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published March 4th 2005 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published January 1st 1961)
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David Pate
Oct 10, 2012 David Pate rated it it was amazing

The first thing I'd like to say is that I have had trouble finding a copy where Luther's argument isn't abbreviated to the severity it seems plagues most versions. This I find frustrating as apparently I need to learn Latin, Greek, and German if I want to see the entire text.

As is usual, Erasmus states his position with much elegance which makes me want to side with him because I appreciate a well thought out presentation. That said, however, it is not possible to side with him because in doin
Mar 20, 2015 Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, theology
This book is the (apparently) abbreviated dialogue between Catholic Erasmus and Reformer Luther on the existence of freedom of the human will as disclosed in the scriptures. A note on this edition - there are quite a few typos. One humorously misquoting a passage from Isaiah saying "all flesh is grace" as opposed to "grass" (Is. 40.6). Luther's obstinacy is made plain in his reply to Erasmus' even-handed and amiable dismissal of the Lutheran idea of will. I personally find Luther's ...more
Jan 06, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was ok
This book was interesting, but if I didn't have to read it for class, I probably wouldn't have ever picked it up. It was actually a little entertaining during parts where both Erasmus and Luther criticized each other. There are some good points from each part, and many things are mentioned that provide food for thought. It also brings up many subjects that are good for intellectual debates (My husband and I already tried our hand at it, each taking one side...he had to write a paper on it, so I ...more
Douglas Wilson
Apr 11, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it liked it
Poor. Great. Depending on who was writing.
Dec 10, 2016 Dan rated it it was amazing
Luther is among the most intelligent figures that history has remembered. He is a much better debater than Erasmus, exploiting Erasmus's ambiguities, uncertainties, and lack of Scriptural mastery. Luther was a student of the Old Testament like few others in his time or any other and was a student of Augustine in ways that could precede the saint himself. Most famous of all is Luther's rhetoric. He is regarded as one of the most powerful prose stylists ever: a writer who instinctively repels a ...more
Emerson Fortier
Sep 29, 2016 Emerson Fortier rated it did not like it
This is probably the worst translation of any work of philosophy/theology I've ever read, and I'll tell you why. It's not the translation (the English is impeccable). It's one tiny little footnote about halfway through Luther's bit on the free will. You'll find it on page 127. It reads "The Major portion of this chapter in Luther is a detailed exegetical analysis of many scriptural passages. These have been omitted here."

I was flabbergasted when I saw that. Who... in a translation which seeks t
[Name Redacted]
The Renaissance dispute over the existence and efficacy of free will essentially came down to two conflicting desires: the one side (here represented by Erasmus) desired a God who was all-good; the other side (here represented by Luther) desired a God who was all-powerful. Both sides muddy the waters with a variety of semantic, philosophical, theological and logical arguments, but really that's all there is to the dispute.

People like Luther wanted to believe in a God who was entirely in control
Jul 07, 2012 Yvonne rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, philosopy
This little booklet of 120 pages is a translation of parts of the written discussion between Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Monk, scholar and humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam. Each had done translations of their own of the Bible and would be considered experts in their field. They each take a unique approach to the discussion of free will which leads them to divergent opinions. The one thing that is established without question by this book is that methodology yields interpretation. No matter ...more
Timmy Tim
Oct 10, 2014 Timmy Tim rated it it was ok
This book is a debate between a top scholar of his day, Erasmus, and Luther concerning whether or not man has free will. Erasmus writes, then Luther responds. I found Luther's aggressive rhetoric tiring, and that neither side articulated their points as well as they could. Too much of their time was spent on peripheral issues, and even less time spend dealing with actual biblical texts.

While this book did not illuminate me much concerning the free will debate, it gave me a much richer picture i
Nadin Soliman
Sep 15, 2014 Nadin Soliman rated it it was amazing
My edition was way too abridged, in arabic, with typos, without the full luther arguments, yet i had an idea what they may be all about, since to my knowledge, the luther arguments share alot with Muslim-Suni-Asha'ri arguments and alot of what i believe in

Desiderius Erasmus is simple, practical and humble which are all qualities i respect in "searcher of the truth". He didn't talk from an ivory tower of political correctness, nor he was trying to be diplomatic on the expense of truth seeking.

Oct 18, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
Lest anyone think my crush on Erasmus is too unlikely, may I point out that he's a prime candidate for proxy Mormonism? While the editor of this volume sees Erasmus on the side of secular humanism and Luther as poster child for religion, I'd argue that Luther represents a very particular sort of Christianity, one that perhaps downplays agency. Ah, "agency." It just gives me a little Mormon thrill just to think about it. Erasmus describes grace as the same sort of "enabling power" that I believe ...more
Doctor VanNostrum
Dec 30, 2015 Doctor VanNostrum rated it liked it
Interesting reading: but one must read the entirety of Luther out of fairness. It is too abridged in this version. Erasmus' reasonableness and pacific temperament come through clearly enough. This was in Luther's opinion the key issue of the Reformation, however, and his response to the Dialogue makes that clear enough. If this is a subject of interest, read Packer and Robertson's full translation of Luther after reading Winter's translation of the Dialogue of Erasmus.
Jun 19, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it
If you're interested in the Reformation and how theological concepts developed during this time this is an accessible way to read some of the primary sources of the major players over a bone of contention fought over to this day.
Chris Mclain
Sep 28, 2012 Chris Mclain rated it liked it
Luther's "The Bondage of the Will" is severely abbreviated in this text. Other than Erasmus' argument receiving twice the space when Luther's treatise was roughly four times that size, it is a good book. The translations are smooth, and the headings provided are quite helpful.
Apr 28, 2010 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Great book! Good evidence on both sides, but I still agree with Luther a bit more. If you haven't I recommend reading the historical background to see why Erasmus wrote his Diatribe. Gives a little more insight.
Darrick Taylor
Apr 17, 2012 Darrick Taylor rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, philosophy
A good introduction to the debate over the issues of free will in the drama of salvation as it emerged in the period.
May 05, 2009 Victoria rated it it was amazing
For my grad preceptorial. This was fascinating. Now, these two dudes could write!!! Definitely something I will re-read again and again.
Oct 03, 2009 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, theology
Erasmus, the liberal professor vs. Luther, the hot-blooded sophist. Too bad the question had been settled more satisfactorily like 1000 years ago.
Jun 30, 2008 Cheryl rated it liked it
Both Erasmus and Luther present their arguments for and aginst the idea of free will passionately. In depth read, but very interesting to me.
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Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (28 October 1466 – 12 July 1536), known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, or simply Erasmus, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian.

Erasmus was a classical scholar and wrote in a pure Latin style. Among humanists he enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists", and has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian human
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“Satan has frightened men from reading the sacred writings, and has rendered Holy Scriptures contemptible, so as to ensure his poisonous philosophy to prevail in the church.” 2 likes
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