During the early days of the reformation, one of the most influential scholars and dominant figure among the humanist movement was Desiderius Erasmus. Neither a radical nor an apologist, he was one of the most controversial characters of the Renaissance period. Perhaps one of the greatest intellects and most accomplished linguistics major, Erasmus' fluency, articulation, and intellectual skills in reading, writing and interpreting Latin was stellar.
He was a theologian and soon to be mentor and friend. He was secularly educated in Latin and in great need of knowledge of Biblical language. Erasmus' education had been his compulsion through life and he took great advantage of every opportunity. Even as a master teacher he was open to learning. Under the influence of godly men such as John Colet, Lord Montjoy, and Thomas More, Erasmus took to theological study which led him to a teaching position at Cambridge. During those years he wrote “Praise of Folley” a satirical look at the Roman Church.
Erasmus' most noted contribution was the 1516 parallel Latin/Greek New Testament. This would open doors of opportunity for theological study and understanding at a whole new level. True text translation was born and would soon enable others to do complete, correct translations from the original languages. Erasmus Latin and Greek texts would be reproduced and refined with four more revisions. In 1522, the Greek text was used by Luther for his German translation, and by the KJV translators for their 1611 edition. What Erasmus accomplished in the secular realm of higher learning is recognized in all academia, but what he did in the spiritual realm is regarded as essential to the influence of Christianity. Erasmus surrendered all of his self-centered secular desires to the supremacy of seeking to know the Word of God in the original Greek so that he might make the God of the Word known around the world.