The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation derives its name from the Dutch humanist scholar Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), renowned theologian, philologist and teacher. Erasmus rejected ideological dissension. Although he agreed with Martin Luther in his criticism of clerical abuse in the Church and advocated Church reform, Erasmus disagreed with him on major points, such as his position on predestination, and remained within the Roman Catholic Church.

A true world citizen, his view of life was universal: knowledge must prevail over ignorance, order over chaos and humaneness is of greater value than any dogma. The essential aim of his studies was a better understanding of humanity. He strove after a humane philosophy, defended the integrity of the intellect and pleaded for moderation and tolerance.

His works include the Adagia or Proverbs, the Manual of the Christian Knight, the Praise of Folly, the Colloquies and an edition of the New Testament based on the original Greek text.

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