Exegete, theologian, and hagiographer; b. Gorcum, Holland, 1542; d. Douai, Sept. 20, 1613. After his studies of the classics at Utrecht, he spent 20 years at Louvain, studying sacred sciences and teaching philosophy. He received the S.T.D. in 1580. After his appointment as Professor Primarius at the University of Douai in 1582, he taught Sacred Scripture and served two terms as rector of the seminary. He was chancellor of Douai from 1595 until his death. A profound student, highly esteemed for vast learning, solid judgment, and sincere piety, he was called Doctor fundatissimus by Pope Benedict XIV. Among his less famous works are a History of the Martyrs of Gorcum (Douai 1603) and an excellent commentary on Quattuor libri sententiarum Petri Lombardi (Douai 1615). His greatest work is exegetical, the well-known In omnes beati Pauli et septem catholicas apostolorum epistolas commentarii (Douai 1614–16) in which he explained the literal meaning of the NT Epistles with precise judgment, acumen, and erudition. His calm, impartial answers to objections did much to expose the deficiencies of the Protestant Biblical exegesis. His prefaces to each Epistle were particularly valuable for their insight into the exact mind of the authors. Estius's reputation became so great among later scholars that the saying "Maldonatus on the Gospels, Estius on the Epistles" became proverbial.
Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae 3:484–489. t. leuridan, Revue des sciences ecclésiastiques 2 (1895) 120–131, 326–340. l. salembier, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 5.1:871–878. a. fleischmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 3:1117.
[j. j. mahoney]