The Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus was a hugely influential author of the Renaissance. His prolific and diverse writings made him a contentious figure, often inciting controversy for his criticism of religious institutions. Called the "Prince of Christian Humanists", Erasmus did a great deal to shape the course of the Protestant Reformation. His 1516 work "The Colloquies of Erasmus" elevated his profile due to their controversial nature. Designed as a Latin study book for young students, "Colloquies" is written as a series of intellectual dialogues, touching on a wide range of subjects. Theology, philosophy, and literature are all visited with lightness not void of seriousness. Many of the religious dialogues criticized traditions of the Catholic Church, instigating a backlash from the Papacy that would haunt Erasmus the rest of his life. Yet "Colloquies" slowly became popular across Europe, simultaneously altering public dialogue about the Church's seemingly unfailing position in a changing society.
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