Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples

Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples'
Start a new discussion about 'Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples or Jacob Faber Stapulensis (c. 1455 – 1536) was a French theologian and humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

. He was a precursor of the Protestant movement in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. The "d’Étaples" was not part of his name as such, but used to distinguish him from Jacques Lefèvre of Deventer, a less significant contemporary, a friend and correspondent of Erasmus. Both are also sometimes called by the German version of their name, Jacob/Jakob Faber. He himself had a sometimes tense relationship with Erasmus, whose work on Biblical translation and in theology closely paralleled his own.

Although he anticipated some ideas that were important to the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, Lefèvre remained a Roman Catholic throughout his life, and sought to reform the church without separating from it. Several of his books were condemned as heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, and he spent some time in exile. He was, however, a favorite of the king of France, Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

, and enjoyed his protection.

Life


He was born of humble parents at Étaples
Étaples
Étaples or Étaples-sur-Mer is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It is a fishing and leisure port on the Canche river.There is a separate commune named Staple, Nord.-History:...

, in Picardy
Picardy
This article is about the historical French province. For other uses, see Picardy .Picardy is a historical province of France, in the north of France...

. He appears later to have been possessed of considerable means. He had already been ordained priest when he entered the university of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 for higher education. Hermonymus of Sparta was his master in Greek.

He visited Italy before 1486, for he heard the lectures of Argyropulus
John Argyropoulos
John Argyropoulos was a Greek lecturer, philosopher and humanist, one of the émigré scholars who pioneered the revival of Classical learning in Western Europe in the 15th century...

, who died in that year; he formed a friendship with Paulus Aemilius of Verona
Paulus Aemilius Veronensis
Paulus Aemilius Veronensis was an Italian historian.He was born in Verona. He obtained such a reputation in his own country that he was invited to France c. 1499 in the reign of Charles VIII, in order to write in Latin the history of the kings of France, and was presented to a canonry in Notre...

. In 1492 he again travelled in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, studying in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, making himself familiar with the writings of Aristotle, though greatly influenced by the Platonic philosophy. Returning to the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

, he became professor in the College of Cardinal Lemoine. Among his famous pupils were F. W. Vatable, Charles de Bovelles, and Guillaume Farel; his connection with the latter drew him closer to the Calvinistic
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 side of the movement of reform. Farel joined Lefèvre at Meaux
Meaux
Meaux is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located east-northeast from the center of Paris. Meaux is a sub-prefecture of the department and the seat of an arondissement...

 to help in the training of preachers, before Farel left for Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 where he was one of the founders of the Reformed churches
Reformed churches
The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin...

.

In 1507 he took up his residence in the Benedictine Abbey of St Germain des Prés, near Paris; this was due to his connexion with the family of Briçonnet (one of whom was the superior), especially with Guillaume Briçonnet
Guillaume Briçonnet (Cardinal)
Guillaume Briçonnet was a French Cardinal.-Life:He was a younger son of Jean Briçonnet, Lord of Varennes, in Touraine, Secretary to the king and collector-general of Customs...

, cardinal bishop of Saint-Malo, father of Guillaume Briçonnet
Guillaume Briçonnet
Guillaume Briçonnet may refer to* Guillaume Briçonnet * Guillaume Briçonnet his son...

, the later bishop of Meaux. He now began to give himself to Biblical studies, the first-fruit of which was his Quintuplex Psalterium: Gallicum, Romanum, Hebraicum, Vetus, Conciliatum (1509); the Conciliatum was his own version. This was followed by S. Pauli Epistolae xiv. ex vulgata editione, adjecta intelligentia ex Graeco cum commentariis (1512), a work of great independence and judgment.

His De Maria Magdalena et triduo Christi disceptatio (1517), which argued that Mary the sister of Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and the penitent woman who anointed Christ's feet were different people, provoked violent controversy and was condemned by the Sorbonne
Collège de Sorbonne
The Collège de Sorbonne was a theological college of the University of Paris, founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon, after whom it is named. With the rest of the Paris colleges, it was suppressed during the French Revolution. It was restored in 1808 but finally closed in 1882. The name Sorbonne...

 (1521) and Saint John Fisher. He had left Paris during the whole of 1520, and, removing to Meaux, was appointed (May 1, 1523) vicar-general to Bishop Briconnet, and published his French version of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 (1523). This (contemporary with Luther's German version) has been the basis of all subsequent translations into French. From this, in the same year, he extracted the versions of the Gospels and Epistles "a l'usage du diocese de Meaux." The prefaces and notes to both these expressed the view that Holy Scripture is the only rule of doctrine, and that justification is by faith alone.

He incurred much hostility, but was protected by Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 and his intellectual sister Marguerite d'Angouleme
Marguerite de Navarre
Marguerite de Navarre , also known as Marguerite of Angoulême and Margaret of Navarre, was the queen consort of Henry II of Navarre...

. Francis being in captivity after the battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve...

 (February 25, 1525), Lefèvre was condemned and his works suppressed by commission of the parlement
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

; these measures were quashed on the return of Francis some months later. He issued Le Psautier de David (1525), and was appointed royal librarian at Blois (1526); his version of the Pentateuch appeared two years later. His complete version of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 (1530), on the basis of Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

's Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

, took the same place as his version of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. The publication and its revised edition based on the Hebrew and the Greek texts were printed by Merten de Keyser
Merten de Keyser
Merten de Keyser was a 16th-century French printer and publisher working mainly in Antwerp, who printed the first complete French and the first complete English Bible translations as well as a number of works by English Protestant authors.- Life :Not much is known about his life...

 in Antwerp in 1534. Marguerite
Marguerite de Navarre
Marguerite de Navarre , also known as Marguerite of Angoulême and Margaret of Navarre, was the queen consort of Henry II of Navarre...

 (now queen of Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

) led him to take refuge (1531) at Nérac
Nérac
Nérac is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department in south-western France.-External links:*...

 from persecution. He is said to have been visited (1533) by John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 on his flight from France. He died in 1536 or 1537 in Nérac.

Works


Aristotelian works (selected)
  • Paraphrases of the Whole of Aristotle's Natural Philosophy [Johannes Higman:] Parisii, 1492
  • Introduction to the Metaphysics (1494)
  • Introduction to the Nicomachean Ethics (1494)
  • Logical Introductions (1496)
  • Politics (1506)


Boethius
The publication, with critical apparatus, of Boetius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after...

, De Arithmetica. Paris: Johannes Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, 22 July 1496.

Biblical translations
He was a prolific translator of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. He completed a translation of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 in 1528, and was famous for his French translation of the Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 and the Pauline epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

, which he finished early in his career. His completed translation
Bible translations
The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Indeed, the full Bible has been translated into over 450 languages, although sections of the Bible have been translated into over 2,000 languages....

 of the entire Christian Bible, published in 1530, was the first in the French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

.
  • Psalterium quintuplex ; gallicum, romanum, hebraicum, vêtus, conciliatum, 1509 and 1515, published by Henri Estienne, fol. with footnotes
  • Commentaires sur saint Paul, avec une nouvelle traduction latine, Paris, 1512 and 1531. This work, in which one notices the lack of progress which had been made in criticism, was criticised by Erasmus for the grammatical section, and by Beda for the theological section, however this did not prevent it from being valued and studied
  • Commentaires sur les Évangiles, Meaux, 1525; his doctrine apears here to be very orthodox on the points disputed by the innovators, although the syndic Beda reproached him for errors in this respect
  • Commentaires sur les épitres canoniques, Meaux, 1525 ; all his commentaries on the New Testament were put on the Index by the Roman inquisitors, under Pope Clement VIII. He distanced himself from ancient barbarism
  • Traduction française du Nouveau Testament, Paris, Colines, 1523, 5 vols. 8vo, anonymous extremely rare, particularly the last volume. The translation was made from the Vulgate
    Vulgate
    The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

    , because he intended it for the use of the faithful. It appeared again in his complete version of the Bible, Antwerp, fol.; later editions 1529 and 1532, 4 vol. 4to.; 1528, 4 vol. 8vo. The edition revised by the doctors of Louvain
    Leuven
    Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

     is the most correct and also the rarest because it was suppressed as was the edition of 1511. It is remarkable that while the Cordeliers of Meaux attacked Lefèvre because of his translations, those of Antwerp approved it in 1528, for printing and for sale. It is true that they did not have in their edition l'Épitre exhortatoire, which principally displeased the doctors of Paris
  • Exhortations en français sur les évangiles et les épitres des dimanches, Meaux, 1525, condemned by the Parlement


Music theory
  • Musica libris demonstrata quattuor, published together with Nemorarius, Arithmetica decem libris demonstrata and Boethius, De Arithmetica, Paris: Johannes Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, 22 July 1496 Full text of 1551 edition


Other works
  • Arithmetica decem libris demonstrata, the De elementis arithmetice artis of Jordanus Nemorarius (Jordanus de Nemore) with commentary and demonstrations, published together with Musica libris demonstrata quattuor and Boethius, De Arithmetica, Paris: Johannes Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, 22 July 1496
  • Traduction latine des livres de la foi orthodoxe de saint Jean de Damas ; the first translation of this work
  • De Maria Magdalena, 1517, followed in 1519 by another entitled: De tribus et unica Magdalena. This work is well done; the author retracts several points from the first work, for example his having said that these three women all bore the name of Magdalene
  • Rithmimachie ludus, qui et pugna numerorum appellatur, Paris, Henri Estienne, 1514, 4to.; opusculum of five pages, printed at the end of the second edition of the Arithmetica of Jordanus Nemorarius
    Jordanus Nemorarius
    Jordanus de Nemore was a thirteenth-century European mathematician who wrote treatises on at least 6 different important mathematical subjects: the science of weights; “algorismi” treatises on practical arithmetic; pure arithmetic; algebra; geometry; and stereographic projection. Most of these...

    . Here Lefèvre gives a very curious description of this ancient pythagorean
    Pythagorean
    Pythagorean means of or pertaining to the ancient Ionian mathematician, philosopher, and music theorist Pythagoras. See:-Philosophy:* Pythagoreanism is a term used for the esoteric and metaphysical beliefs purported to have been held by Pythagoras....

     game, but with such little detail that cannot understand it properly except by joining it to the extended notice which Boissière
    Claude de Boissière
    Claude de Boissière was a French Olympic fencer. He competed in the individual foil, sabre and épée events at the 1900 Summer Olympics.-References:...

    gave to the same game

Further reading

  • Barnaud, Jean (1900) Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples: son influence sur les origines de la réformation française. Cahors: Coueslant