ERASMUS AND THE BOOK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO

by DANIEL B. WALLACE in Vol. 2 No. 2 / October 2016



Abstract
The first published Greek New Testament (NT), Novum Instrumentum Omne, appeared on March 1, 1516. It was a diglot—a Latin-Greek NT. The Reformation was born because Luther had Erasmus’s Greek NT in his hands. This article looks at the history behind that momentous publica- tion, who Erasmus was, and how his most controversial work became the spark that was fanned into the flames of the Reformation. All Protestant translations of the NT for the past half millennium find their roots in the Novum Instrumentum. Ironically, producing a Greek NT may have been a “side issue” for Erasmus. Yet this Renaissance man wedded historical and philological scholarship of ancient texts to the study of the Bible and thus initiated the modern era of NT scholarship.


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