Erasmus yearned to make the Bible an effective instrument of reform in society, church and everyday life, and to this end he composed the "Paraphrases", in which the words of Holy Scripture provide the core of a text, vastly expanded to embrace the reforming "philosophy of Christ". The "Paraphrases" were successful beyond all expectations, and were quickly translated into French, English and other languages. "Paraphrase on Luke" is the second of two Luke volumes to be published. The text is an expanded version of the original book in the voice of its original author. The scriptural discourse or narrative is supplemented by Erasmus' explication of the moral, theological, and allegorical meanings; amplification of the dramatic setting with psychological, historical, and geographical detail; and rhetorical elaboration in language and style. Classical authors, earlier biblical commentators, various theological issues, Erasmus' debts to the traditions of exegesis on this Gospel, and relevant contemporary church controversies all colour the paraphrases, and annotations on these points construct a mosaic portrait of the mind of Erasmus as he confronted Scripture and his readership.
Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), a Dutch humanist, Catholic priest, and scholar, was one of the most influential Renaissance figures. A professor of divinity and Greek, Erasmus wrote, taught, and travelled, meeting with Europe's foremost scholars. A prolific author, Erasmus wrote on both ecclesiastic and general human interest subjects. Jane E. Phillips is a retired professor of classics at the University of Kentucky and the translator of the Paraphrase on John and Paraphrase on Luke 11-24 in the Collected Works of Erasmus.