Gomarus, Franciscus

views updated


Calvinist theologian; b. Bruges, Jan. 30, 1563; d. Groningen, Jan. 11, 1641. He studied at Strasbourg under Johann sturm, at Neustadt under Franciscus Junius, Zacharius ursinus, and Hieronymus Zanchius, and at Oxford and Cambridge. He became pastor of the Dutch congregation at Frankfurt am Main (158694), then professor of theology at Leiden (15941611), and was pastor and teacher in Middelburg (161114), when at the invitation of Du Plessis Mornay he became professor of theology at Saumur. Here, as a right-wing Calvinist, he felt uncomfortable, and returned to the Netherlands, where he taught theology at Groningen. He was now the leading opponent of the followers of arminius, whose appointment to succeed Junius at Amsterdam he had hesitatingly approved in 1602. He was prominent at the Synod of Dort (161819), which condemned the Arminians but did not affirm his own supralapsarian position. His numerous writings are learned but chiefly polemical. In 1594 he edited, with a commendation to Henry IV, the Defensor Pacis of Marsilius of Padua. Some of his weightier treatises, including the De divinae praedestinationis hominum objecto (1650), were posthumously published.

Bibliography: Opera theologica omnia, 3 v. (Amsterdam 1644; 2d ed. 1664). g. p. van itterzon, Franciscus Gomarus (The Hague 1929). w. f. dankbaar, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 2:169192.

[j. t. mcneill]