Friday, February 23, 2018


Odium Theologicum

Erasmus, letter to Leonardus Priccardus (July 1, 1519; tr. R.A.B. Mynors):
I know quite well, my learned friend Leonardus, that men of this kidney are never idle; their chief resource lies in fluent falsehoods and brazen innuendo. For my part, I am already hardened to all that; I can only marvel that persons who are distinguished by their profession of the religious life should feel themselves free to do something which conflicts above all with true religion. They wish it to be thought an unpardonable sin if they eat meat; and yet it is virtuous to rain the poisoned arrows of their hellish language on a fellow Christian, even on one who has done them some service, although no sort of venom could be more utterly abominable.

Sciebam, eruditissime Leonarde, genus hoc hominum nusquam cessare: summum illis praesidium in mendacibus linguis atque impudentissimis sycophantiis positum est. Ego vero iam ad ista occallui: tantum admiror homines professione pietatis insignes id sibi permittere quod omnium maxime cum vera pietate pugnat. Inexpiabile scelus haberi volunt, si carnibus vescantur; et sanctum est fratrem, etiam de ipsis bene merentem, linguae spiculis Tartareo veneno tinctis confodere, cum nullum sit veneficii genus execrabilius.
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