One Page Response Paper - Erasmus, "On the Freedom of The Will"

This paper was written for the class Perspectives on Human Values: The Renaissance. 

For this short response paper, we’re asked to summarize “On the Freedom of The Will” by Erasmus. To sum it up very shortly, free will. Throughout the book, Erasmus is trying to show us that the Bible is filled with examples that strength the idea that an individual has free will, or the choice to do as they want, whether it be good or evil.

It’s true that one of the main reasons that Erasmus is writing this is because of Luther, but it is not, in my opinion, the sole reason. It can be debated whether or not Erasmus is attacking Luther, and criticizing him because of his youth, but I don’t think that to be so. I think that the reason he was doing it, as we talked about in class, was to explain that he and Luther were not on the same side in this affair, as was believed.

Erasmus doesn’t force his opinion at us, and tell us that the ‘choice’ is clear. In fact, after showing us passages that support free choice, he next shows us passages that do not. He agrees that there is reason for debate, but hopes that the previous chapter of passages will overpower those passages that don’t agree.

Lastly, he examines Luther’s Assertio to see what holds up, and what does not. Along with this, he shows that perhaps Luther is misreading some of the words, and reading them in a way that they were not intended to be read. Throughout, I don’t believe that Erasmus was attacking Luther as an individual, rather trying to set him, and those that agreed with him, straight.

Overall, Erasmus shows us his view on free will and the Bible, and has plenty of passages from the Bible to support it.