The longest and most detailed of Erasmus’ anti-Lutheran writings. The Rare First Edition

Erasmus, Desiderius (ca. 1466-1536)

Hyperaspistae liber secundus, adversus librum Martini Lutheri, cui titulum fecit, Servum arbitrium.

Basel: Joannes Froben, 1527


Octavo: 17 x 11.6 cm. 575 pp. Collation: A-Z8, a-n8


Bound in 16th century alum-tawed pigskin, attractively ruled and tooled in blind. A fine, crisp copy with wide margins and some deckled edges. There is a small wormhole, about 4 mm. wide, that continues straight through the text, impairing a letter or two on the page. Aside from that, a lovely copy, with two versions of Froben’s printer’s device on the first and final leaves.

This is the extremely rare first edition of Erasmus’ second response to Luther’s “De Servo Arbitrio” (On the Enslaved Will):

In December 1525 Erasmus had published “De Libero Arbitrio” (On Free Will), setting of a debate with Martin Luther, who responded to Erasmus with his own “De Servo Arbitrio” (On the Enslaved Will). Erasmus responded in turn with his “Hyperaspistes I” and, a year later, the present work, “Hyperaspistes II.”

"In September 1527 Erasmus’ Hyperaspistes II appeared, continuing the exegetical controversy with Luther. Erasmus particularly attacked Luther's allegedly exaggerated position--derived from Paul--that the law brings only the knowledge of sin and thus is not really intended to be fulfilled. While Luther had decided in favor of the Pauline position, Erasmus had smoothed out the controversial points in the biblical tradition with his combination of grace and free will…

“It is clear from a letter of May 1529 that Luther was unwilling to participate in any further discussion with Erasmus unless Erasmus were to take up some “significant” themes, although he had no definite plans to do so. There were deep personal reasons for this. For him, Erasmus was a totally frivolous man who utterly sneered at religion, and that was how he had depicted him in De Servo Arbitrio. This was a verdict that was not objectively justified, as long as one understood religion as something other than man's total dependence on God.”(Brecht, “Luther, Shaping and Defining the Reformation”, pp. 236-8)

VD 16, E 3033; Bezzel 1122; Vander Haeghen I, 110