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Paul Fagius
Paul Fagius (1504 - 13 November 1549) was a Renaissance scholar of Biblical Hebrew.


Fagius was born at Rheinzabernmarker in 1504. His father was a teacher and council clerk. In 1515 he went to study at the University of Heidelbergmarker and in 1518 was present at the Heidelberg Disputation. In 1522 he moved to the University of Strasbourgmarker, where he learnt Hebrew and met Matthäus Zell, Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito.

In 1527 he became a school master in the free imperial city of Isny im Allgäumarker. Fagius took part in the Bern Colloquy, where he met the reformer Huldrych Zwingli. In 1535 he returned to the University of Strasbourg to devote himself to his study of theology.

Fagius returned to Isny as a priest in 1537. There he learnt Hebrew from the Jewish grammarian and publisher Elia Levita, and they founded a printing office together. One of the few known works to be published by this partnership was Shemot Devarim, an Old Yiddish-Hebrew-Latin-German dictionary, in 1542.

In 1543 he organised the Kirchenwesen in Konstanzmarker and in 1544 was appointed Professor of Old Testament studies at Strasbourg. In 1546 he moved back to Heidelberg, after Elector Frederick II charged him with reforming the University of Heidelberg. Fagius however encountered such strong opposition that his reform failed and he returned to Strasbourg.

With the rise of the Counter-Reformation Paul Fagius found himself under pressure. After the defeat of the Schmalkaldic League in 1547, Fagius, who had opposed the Augsburg Interim, found himself dismissed from his position, along with Martin Bucer. Both sought refuge in England, where they were taken in by Thomas Cranmer. In 1549 Fagius was appointed Hebrew lecturer at the University of Cambridgemarker.

After being briefly active in Hebrew philology and interpreting the Old Testament Fagius died from plague in 1549, and was buried in St Margaret's Church, Cambridge. Under Queen Mary's Catholic restoration, his remains were exhumed and burnt (as were Bucer's); in 1560 a memorial was again set up to him.


Latin translations from Hebrew

  • Pirḳe Abot (1541)
  • Levita's "Tishbi" (1541)
  • Tobit (1542)
  • Alfabeta de Ben Sira (1542)
  • Sefer Amanah (1542)
  • David Ḳimḥi's commentary on Psalms, ch. i.-x. (1544)


Original Works

  • Exegesis of the first four chapters of Genesis (1542)
  • Elementary Hebrew grammar (1543)
  • Liber Fidei seu Veritatis (1542)
  • Parvus Tractulus (1542)


External links

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