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Castellio, Sebastian (Châteillon)


Protestant humanist and Biblical scholar; b. St.-Martin-du-Fresne (Department of Ain), Burgundy, France, 1515; d. Basel, Switzerland, Dec. 29, 1563. After his student days in Lyons, he became a Protestant and left for Strasbourg, where he made the acquaintance of John calvin (1540). The following year he was called by Calvin to Geneva, where he was made rector of the college. When he was denied ordination to the ministry because of his liberal exegesis, he moved to Basel (1545). Here, after several years of poverty, he was appointed professor of Greek at the university (1553). At Basel he had more controversies with Calvin and Theodore beza over exegetical matters and such theological questions as the Trinity and predestination. His opposition to the Calvinist execution of Michael servetus (1553) inspired his book De haereticis, an sint persequendi? (Basel 1554) and marked him as one of the few men of his age in favor of religious liberty.

Castellio, however, is best known as a Bible translator. A master of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, he translated the whole Bible from the original languages into both Latin and French. Although his Latin version (Basel 1551) was done in elegant Ciceronian language, his French version, one of the most original of the 16th century, was written in the popular vernacular of his time and place.

Bibliography: j. homeyer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer, and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 2:973. h. liebing, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d. ed. Tübingen 195765) 1:1627. f. buisson, Sébastien Castellion, 2 v. (Paris 1892). s. l. greenslade, ed., The Cambridge History of the Bible (Cambridge, Eng. 1963), 89, 7172, 116.

[a. m. malo]

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