Erasmus’ advice to the Christian Soldier, 1501

“Of the philosophers I should recommend the Platonists because in much of their thinking as well as in their mode of expression they are the closest to the spirit of the prophets and of the gospel.”

Which leads to a certain hermeneutic:

“But as for you, who are endowed with such good mental abilities, I should wish you not to linger over the sterile literal sense, but to hasten on to more profound mysteries.”

Might as well be writing a biography of Augustine, contemporary of Jerome, student of Ambrose, student of Origen, students all of Paul.

“Of the interpreters of divine Scripture choose those especially who depart as much as possible from the literal sense, such as, after Paul, Origen, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine. I notice that modern theologians are too willing to stick to the letter and give their attention to sophistic subtleties rather than to the elucidation of the mysteries, as if Paul were not right in saying that our law is spiritual.”

“I do not say this because I look down upon the moderns, but because I prefer writings that are more useful.”

Useful to the life of piety. And he is right.

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