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According to an article by historian Renier Snooy (1478–1537), Erasmus was born in Gouda.The exact year of his birth is controversial, but most agree it was in 1466.Among humanists he enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists", and has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian humanists".Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation.Although associated closely with Rotterdam, he lived there for only four years, never to return.Information on his family and early life comes mainly from vague references in his writings. His father, Gerard, was a Catholic priest and curate in Gouda.The chief centres of Erasmus's activity were Paris, Leuven (in the Duchy of Brabant, now in Belgium), England, and Basel; yet he never belonged firmly in any one of these places.

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Later, while tutoring in Paris, he was suddenly dismissed by the guardian of Thomas Grey.Erasmus was given the highest education available to a young man of his day, in a series of monastic or semi-monastic schools.At the age of nine, he and his older brother Peter were sent to one of the best Latin schools in the Netherlands, located at Deventer and owned by the chapter clergy of the Lebuïnuskerk (St.He also wrote On Free Will, In Praise of Folly, Handbook of a Christian Knight, On Civility in Children, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style, Julius Exclusus, and many other works.Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation, but while he was critical of the abuses within the Catholic Church and called for reform, he kept his distance from Luther and Melanchthon and continued to recognise the authority of the pope, emphasizing a middle way with a deep respect for traditional faith, piety and grace, rejecting Luther's emphasis on faith alone.

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