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Matthias Flacius


FLACIUS, MATTHIAS (152o–I575), surnamed ILLYR Icvs, Lutheran reformer, was born at Albona, in Illyria, on March 3, 152o. He studied under Baptista Egnatius in Venice, and from 1539 onwards at Basel, Tubingen and Wittenberg. Here he was welcomed (1541) by Melanchthon and here he came under the decisive influence of Luther. In 1544 he was appointed pro fessor of Hebrew at Wittenberg. He took his master's degree on Feb. 24, 1546, ranking first among the graduates. He opposed strenuously the "Augsburg Interim," and the compromise of Me lanchthon known as the "Leipzig Interim" (see ADIAPHORISTS). Melanchthon wrote of him with venom as a renegade ("alumnus in sinu serpentem"), and Wittenberg became too hot for him. He removed to Magdeburg (Nov. 9, 1551), where his feud with Melanchthon was patched up. On May 17, 1557, he was appointed professor of New Testament theology at Jena; but was soon involved in controversy with Strigel, his colleague, on the synergistic question (relating to the function of the will in con version). In October 1566 he became pastor of the Lutheran com munity at Antwerp. In 1567-73 he sought asylum both in Frank fort and Strasbourg, but in both cases was compelled to leave. Then the prioress, Catharina von Meerfeld, of the convent of White Ladies at Frankfort harboured him and his family in despite of the authorities. He died on March I1, 1575. His son Matthias was professor of philosophy and medicine at Rostock. In spite of his harried life, Flacius was a pioneer of the scientific study of church history, and—if we except, a great exception, the work of Laurentius Valla—of hermeneutics also. There is per manent and continuous valu2 in the principles embodied in Flacius' Catalogus testium veritatis (1556; revised edition by J. C. Dietericus, 1672) and his Clavis scripturae sacrae (1567), followed by his Glossa compendiaria in N. Testamentum (157o).

See J. B. Ritter, Flacius's Leben u. Tod (1725) ; M. Twesten, M. Flacius Illyricus (1844) ; W. Preger, M. Flacius Illyricus u. seine Zeit (1859-1861) ; G. Kawerau, in Herzog-HaucK's Realencyklopiidie (1899).

melanchthon, wittenberg and illyricus