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Huizinga-Masterclass Grantley McDonald: ‘Negotiating orthodoxy: Erasmus and the theological implications of biblical philology’ (1 ECTS) – Amsterdam, 6 December 2019

Masterclass honouring the 40th Erasmus Birthday Lecture

Grantley McDonald: Negotiating orthodoxy: Erasmus and the theological implications of biblical philology

ReMa-students and PhD candidates can participate for 1 ECTS (for attending both the lecture and the masterclass). The Huizinga Institute will offer a certificate of participation afterwards. Please apply before 22 November via this link

Date & time: 6 December 2019, 12.00 a.m. – 2.15 p.m. (including lunch)
Venue: Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam


While examining Greek manuscripts for his forthcoming diglot edition of the New Testament, Erasmus noticed something very odd in the first letter of John: the ‘Johannine comma’, a short clause on which western theologians had relied for centuries as the most explicit statement of the doctrine of the Trinity, was not present in his Greek manuscripts. He remarked on this absence in his annotations, but after his edition appeared, he was accused of undermining orthodox belief in the Trinity. When presented with a Greek manuscript containing the Johannine comma, he included it in a subsequent edition in order to avoid further controversy, a decision which only caused further dispute. Until recently, the source of the Greek manuscript in which Erasmus saw the comma has been unclear. Here we will explore the available evidence and present some conclusions.

Grantley McDonald is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and leader of the FWF research project The court chapel of Maximilian I: between art and politics at the University of Vienna. He holds doctoral degrees in musicology (Melbourne, 2002) and history (Leiden, 2011). Grantley’s research has been distinguished with prizes from the Australian Academy of the Humanities (Canberra) and the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation (Amsterdam). He is author of Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Marsilio Ficino in Germany, from Renaissance to Enlightenment: a Reception History (Geneva: Librairie Droz, in press), and co-editor (with Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl and Elisabeth Giselbrecht) of Early Music Printing in German-Speaking Lands (London: Routledge, 2018). He has been one of the editors of the Verzeichnis deutscher Musikdrucke (University of Salzburg) since its inception in 2012. He is also active as a performing musician.

Preliminary bibliography:
‘Erasmus and the Johannine Comma (1 John 5.7-8)’, Grantley McDonald, The Bible Translator 2016, Vol. 67(1) 42–55.

Fifteen promising young students at graduate level (MA students and PhD candidates) will be selected to participate in this Masterclass. In case you are interested, please apply before 22 November via this link.
N.B. We will inform you by 2 December whether you are invited to join the Masterclass. The public lecture by Grantley McDonald, Erasmus and the beginnings of English medical humanism, will take place later in the afternoon.

For more information, please visit the KNAW webpage. You may also contact Linda Groen,, +31 20 551 0727.