EPISCOPIUS (a translation of Bisschop, his Dutch name), Simon, Dutch theologian: b. Amsterdam, 1 Jan. 1583; d. there, 4 April 1643. The religious movement lalown as Arminianism was fostered by him, and he was its leader after the death of Arminius (q.v.). He was edu cated at Leyden, where in 1606 he received his degree of M.A. In 1610 he was ordained pastor at the village of Bleyswyck near Rotterdam. In 1611 the States-General, with the intention of putting an end to the agitations created by the controversies between the Gomarists or Calvin istic party and the Arminians or Remonstrants, ordered a conference to be held in their presence at The Hague between six ministers of each party. Episcopius was one of the six charged with the advocacy of Arminianistn, and highly distinguished himself by good temper, ability and learning. In 1612 the curators of the Uni versity of Leyden appointed him professor of theology in place of Gomar, who had gone to Seeland. This enraged the leaders of the ortho dox party, who accused Episcopius of Socinian ism and of having entered into an alliance with the Roman Catholics for the destruction of Protestantism. By this the fanaticism of the populace was roused; he was insulted and abused in the street, and on one occasion nar rowly escaped being stoned to death. The house of his brother in Amsterdam was sacked, under the pretext that it was a rendezvous of the Remonstrants. In 1618 occurred the famous
Synod of Dort. Episcopius was present, with several other Arminians. The Calvinists, who were in an overwhelming majority, would not allow him to speak; they told him that the synod was met not to discuss, but to judge; and all the proceedings exhibited much bigotry and tyranny. Expelled from the Church and ban ished from the country, Episcopius betook him self first to Antwerp, aftenvard to Rouen and Paris, but 1626 returned to Rotterdam, where the odium theologicum against his party had become less virulent. Here he married in 1630, and four years later was made primarius pro fessor of divinity in the newly established col lege of the Remonstrants. Episcopius held enlightened principles in regard to religious toleration. Not placing a high value on merely doctrinal views, but trusting rather to the efficacy of the Christian spint to elevate and purify the character, and seeing, moreover, the presence of this spirit in men holding the most conflicting opinions (when not inflamed with controversial hates), he was desirous of a broader and more catholic bond of unity among Christians than the opinionative creeds of his day permitted. He wrote 'Institutes of Theol ogy' ; 'Apology' ; 'Confession.' (See Gott ARUS ; Aamtinus). Consult Calder, 'Memoirs of Simon Episcopius' (London 1838).