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Discourse on Free Will (Continuum Impacts) Paperback – 1 Feb 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.; New edition edition (1 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826477941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826477941
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 994,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The "Discourse" also seems to have something to offer on a broader level. It provides an example of two approaches to interpreting a theological tension Erasmus maintains it and Luther tries to resolve it by absorbing one of the poles into the other. Even if the latter course often seems simpler, how often does it do justice to all the biblical evidence?" " Evangelical Journal Fall 2006"--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

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 the German Reformation. His 95 Theses became a manifesto for reform of the Catholic Church and led to his being tried for heresy. He remained in Germany, Professor of Biblical Exegesis at the University of Wittenburg, until his death, publishing a large number of works, including three major treatises and a translation of the New Testament into German.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Jun 2008
Format: Paperback
The two perspectives in this book, Erasmus' affirmation of free will and Luther's affirmation of predestiny are essential to understanding the schism within Christianity and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

I was very surprised to discover the extent to which, by all appearences, the arch Roman Catholic scholar is infact in many ways the more modern perspective given the popular impression of the Protestant Reformation as essentially a modernisation of the Christian religion and abandonment of arcane or antiquated, even superstitous practices.

The clash between these two theorist I would go so far to say foreshadows many debates and discourses which came afterwards in political ideology, philosophy and even science between orthodoxy and change, free will and determinism.

Even if you are not concerned particularly with Christian theology or European culture it can give insights into dialogue and discourse, including the referencing or literary authorities, in this instance scriptural support.

A good read which I would recommend to academics or general readers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
an inside look at the ideas that made the Reformation 15 May 2000
By Finn Darsinla - Published on
Format: Paperback
Luther once said that the Catholic Church stands or falls on the question of justification and free will: salvation by faith alone, or must the human soul respond? Get a first-hand peek at what Luther thought of the Catholic Church's teachings, and how Erasmus, a Catholic bishop, replied. Don't think you understand the Reformation or the "protest" inherent in Protestantism until you read this book. This is Luther at his fist-pounding best; but Erasmus is sophisticated, irenic, and penetrating. The key question is: who was right? If you're a Christian, don't decide until you've read this cover to cover.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Abridged 21 July 2008
By Anon - Published on
Format: Paperback
Be advised the Luther is *heavily* abridged. The book itself is not very clear about this fact which becomes obvious as you read it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Finally found a copy of Erasmus' Discourse on Free Will 1 July 2011
By Jeffrey Van Wagoner - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been looking for this little gem for years and this was the only copy I could find in English; I couldn't find anything on the Kindle. This is an out of print edition published in 1961. It is the translation by Ernst F. Winter. There were newer editions available, but they were relatively expensive. This edition also has some very brief excerpts from Luther's famous response, but it covers only about 20% of what he wrote. I ordered a cheap Kindle edition of that so I could read the whole thing. I found it interesting that I could find Luther's discourse almost anywhere, but that it was so difficult to find Erasmus' arguments.

So you'll understand my slant on this, I am a strong believer in free will (I'm LDS). I thoroughly enjoyed Erasmus' discourse and thought he did a very good job using Biblical proofs, thoughts of the Christian Fathers, and logic to prove his point. He had a section on Old Testament proofs, another on New Testament proofs, another where he responded to apparent Biblical proofs against free will, and another section responding to proofs Luther had used in the past against free will.

The excerpts from Luther mainly show strong personal attacks on Erasmus and assertions, but I get the feeling that the compiler chose not to show the best parts of Luther's response. I am in the process of reading the complete response of Luther and will have a better idea of its strengths. I disagree profoundly with several of Luther's basic assumptions and interpretations of Paul, but I am still curious to hear his arguments from direct reading of one of his most famous works.

Once again, this book should mainly be read for Erasmus' discourse and not for Luther's since it is just excerpts. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the great debate on free will.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Ongoing Debate 22 April 2007
By Ryan Leack - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my "Formation of Modern Christianity" class and am in the process of writing my term paper on the debate between Erasmus and Luther on the issue of free will. This book does an excellent job of reviewing Erasmus' case for free will and briefly summarizes Luther's case for the bondage of will, as well. Buy this book if you'd like a concise review of this ongoing debate.
Luther's response from "the bondage of free will" is abridged ... 12 Nov 2014
By Chang C Liu - Published on
Format: Paperback
Luther's response from "the bondage of free will" is abridged as the other reviewer has pointed out. But as an introduction to the issue of "free will", this book is very helpful.
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