Erasmus - Greek learning and skills

Steven Avery

When an AV contra claimed that Erasmus was simply self-taught in Greek, I decided to bring forth some of the historical information. First the intro. (I am omitting stuff like comments about his GNT translation that are subjective.)

Facebook -
KJV Onlyism Discussion{"tn":"R"}

Glynn Brown
Erasmus taught himself greek and also the Erasmian pronunciation is wrong,but I don't see you or any other kjvo having a problem with this.

Steven Avery
Glynn Brown - Erasmus could speak and even teach Greek, he learned from fluent Greek speakers. And he was not really a fan of the ‘Erasmian pronunciation’, it was meant as a type of crutch. As for the verses later mangled by Sharp, Erasmus was aware of the article omission.

Glynn Brown
But Erasmus didn't learn from a university, he taught himself. ...
Next we go to the Erasmus data. I am tweaking it a bit here, since it was done on an iPad.

Steven Avery
Erasmus studied Greek at Oxford, under William Grocyn (c. 1446-1519) and Thomas Linacre (c. 1460-1524), the tutors of Thomas More. Grocyn taught Greek at Oxford. Linacre was the first Englishman to study Greek in Italy.


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature

"William Grocyn was early distinguished by his knowledge of Greek and taught that language at Oxford before 1488."


The events around the Council of Florence c. 1440 had led to an Italian Greek renaissance, spurred by the influx of Greek scholarship from Constantinople. Also the fall of Constantinople in 1453 led to more Greek scholarship in the west. The earlier periods as well are covered in:

Greek scholars in the Renaissance


The English Reformation and the Study of Greek, 257-282, William Ralph Churton. possib. Josef L. Altholz (1884)

Linacre was, at any rate, thoroughly qualified as a professor of Greek. According to Wood (A th. Oxon.) he had studied in Canterbury under Selling. He subsequently became the pupil at Florence both of Demetrius Chalcondylas, tutor to the children of Lorenzo de’ Medici, and also of that scholar’s illustrious rival, Politian. Returning from Italy he gave private instruction in Greek at Oxford, about the year 1498. p. 260


One of the strange elements of the contra-AV movement is the new revisionism of an anti-Erasmus shoddy scholarship. Simply because the the TR == Reformation Bible == Authorized Version. The contras attack their own heritage, for which Erasmus has historically been a key component.

Later I’ll try to add a bit about the Greek environment in Italy, 1506-1509, and Basel, where “everybody knows Latin and Greek.”
Here are some more interesting points and resource background.

Who Needs Greek?: Contests in the Cultural History of Hellenism (2002)
Simon Goldhill

Together with Thomas More, he translated more than thirty of Lucian’s works from Greek into Latin, and they really put Lucian on the reading list. It was the first translation of Lucian of any scope and the first to achieve wide circulation. It was an immensely popular and influential enterprise that went through more than thirty editions in Erasmus’ lifetime (many more than, say, Utopia).
Renaissance and Reformation: The Intellectual Genesis
by Anthony Levi
p. 182 to 185 can be seen with one page at a time.

Memoir of Erasmus by Edwin Johnson

Apophthegmes of Erasmus (1877)
Translated into English by Nicholas Wall
Literally Reprinted from the Scarce Edition of 1564.
Erasmus section begins:
Last edited:

Steven Avery

2019 Documentary - "Going Back to the Greek" - Steven Anderson and friends in Cyprus

2019 Documentary - "Going Back to the Greek"

Facebook - Pure Bible
"Generally a good production whose theme is important and true. My comments on that page and mirrored at:..."

The basic theme is right, modern Greeks are comfy with Biblical, Koine Greek.
And the USA and Brit and most European seminarian studies are a disaster.
(Note: there is a tiny immersion movement.)

Good compliment to the King James Bible at 52:50.

(Leaving aside the "saved so easy" soteriology. One example of this is around 15:00. Also 1:13:20. No repentance foundation, see Hebrews 6. Also from Steven Anderson, emphatically no baptism for remission of sins, preceded by repentance.)

One scholarly tweak. At 4:50 the idea is given that the Greek renaissance began around 1453 with those who fled Byzantium. The fall of Constantinople. By that time the Greek renaissance in Italy was already well underway. The Councils of Siena (1423), Ferrara (1438), and Florence (1431-1449) had brought a major influx. And many learned Greek scholars even preceded those Councils.


Apophthegmes of Erasmus (1877) - translated by Nicolas Wall
Memoir of Erasmus - Edwin Johnson (1842-1901)

"The intercourse between the churches of the East and the West at the time of the council of Florence occasioned a steady drift of Greek scholars from Constantinople to Italy, beginning with Barlaam, and Leontius Pilatus, the friends and tutors of Petrarch and Boccaccio, continued in Chrysoloras, Theodore of Gaza, George of Trebizond, John Arguropylos, and ending with Demetrius Chalcocondyles."


Barlaam of Seminara (c. 1290–1348)
Leontius Pilatus (d. 1366)
Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374)
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)
Manuel Chrysoloras (c. 1355 - April 1415)
Theodorus Gaza - (c. 1398-c. 1475)
George of Trebizond (1395–1486)
John Argyropoulos - (c. 1415 – 26 June 1487)
Demetrius Chalcocondyles (1423-1511)

There were all teaching in Italy before the fall of Constantinople, and teaching many others.
This led to the English scholars coming to Italy to learn throughout the 1400s.
And this laid the foundation for the work of Erasmus, and then Stephanus and Beza.


The point from the Pastor Daniel Hanson about the seminarians not speaking Greek (19:00) is true, and excellent.Norris Belcher, "Hush, You Don't Speak Greek!" and even Daniel R. Streett have helped to make this clear.

The section of Bible correctors 1:08-1:11:30, from the Greek, towards the end is fun and sad.
Ending with a comment from James White.

Pure Bible Forum
Erasmus Greek Learning and Skills