How A Religious Rivalry From Five Centuries Ago Can Help Us Understand Today’s Fractured World
Michael Massing, author and contributor to The New York Review of Books
Erasmus of Rotterdam was the leading humanist of the early 16th century; Martin Luther was a tormented friar whose religious rebellion gave rise to Protestantism. Initially allied in their efforts to reform the Catholic Church, the two had a bitter falling out over such key matters as works and faith, conduct and creed, free will and predestination. Erasmus embraced pluralism, tolerance, brotherhood, and a form of the Social Gospel rooted in the performance of Christ-like acts; Luther stressed God’s omnipotence and Christ’s divinity and saw the Bible as the Word of God, which had to be accepted and preached, even if it meant throwing the world into turmoil. Their rivalry represented a fault line in Western thinking - between the Renaissance and the Reformation; humanism and evangelicalism - that remains a powerful force in the world today.
$15 door fee for guests and subscribers