Ess, Leander Van

Ess, Leander van a Roman Catholic theologian of Germany, and cousin of the preceding one, was born a Warburg, in Westphalia, February 15, 1772. At an early age he entered the Benedictine abbey of Marienmünster, in the diocese of Paderborn. In 1813 he was appointed pastor at Marburg, and extraordinary professor at the university of that city; and later he also became assistant director of the normal school. No priest in the Roman Catholic Church of the 19th century showed so, great a zeal for the circulation of the Bible as Leander van Ess. Aided byhis cousin Karl (q.v.), he prepared a German translation of tihe New Testament, and enlisted the British and Foreign Bible Societe in its circulation. A translation of the Old Testament he published in 1819 (Nuremberg). He also published an edition of the Vulgate (1822), and an edition of the Greek New Testament cut from the Vatican manuscript (1824). The pope was highly indignant at his undertaking, and on this occasion issued one of the notorious papal bulls against Bible societies. Karl van Ess timidly receded from his liberal position, but Leander bravely maintained it. He resigned his offices at Marburg, and devoted his time chiefly to a literary defense of his efforts in circulating the Bible. He compiled, to encourage Roman Catholic readers of the Bible, "a selection from the works of Church fathers and other great Catholic writers concerning the necessary and useful reading of the Bible" (Auszuge aus den heil. Vateri, etc., Leips. 1808); a Latin treatise on the authority of the original text of the Bible as compared with the Vulgate (Pragmatica doctorum Catholicorum Tridentini circa Vulgatum decreti sensum testantium historia, Salzburg, 1816; in German, Tub. 1824); and several other works, urging a frequent reading of the Bible by the people (Was war die Bible der ersten Christen? 1816; Gedanken uber Bibel u. Bibellesen, 1816; Die Bible nicht ein Buch war für Priester, 1818). He also wrote a book in defense of marriages between Protestants and Roman Catholics (Rechtfertigung der gemischt. Ehen, 1821). He died October 13, 1847. His very valuable library, rich in manuscripts and incunables, was purchased by the Union Theological Seminary in New York. — Herzog, Real-Encykl. 19:489.

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