Note to A Letter by Erasmus to Maarten Van Dorp, from "The Praise Of Folly"

Vigilantius' late-fourth-century attack on the cult of martyrs' relics and miracles is today known only through Jerome's attacks on him. St Jerome also attacked Jovinian for denying the value of celibacy and Rufinus for defending Origen after Jerome had come to regard him as heretical.

In his letter, now signed with his own name, Erasmus preserves echoes of Folly's voice. The abjuration of the pursuit of fame as pagan and the denunciation of Christians who confuse immortality with posthumous reputation and a taste for the arts suggest that Erasmus, while no doubt sincere, is concerned that the image he is projecting should in some degree accord with the paradoxes of the final pages of the satire. Deprecatory remarks about his education and talent fit into the same mould but the burden of his apologia is clear: he uses his learning in the interests of good, and he does not attack individuals by name, as Dorp had attacked him. Even Julius II is not named in the Folly. The list of classical and modern precedents for personal attacks fills a prefatory function here analagous to the list of mock encomia in the prefatory letter to More.