Gataker, Thomas

Gataker, Thomas was born September 4, 1574, in London, where his father was rector of St. Edmund's. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, and about 1601 became preacher at Lincoln's Inn. He held this employment for ten years, and applied himself especially to the study of the Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek, and wrote several works in illustration of the Old Testament. He also wrote Of the Nature and Use of Lots (Lond. 1619, 4to), in which he distinguishes between innocent and unlawful games of chance. In 1611 he was appointed rector of Rotherhithe. In 1637 he printed a defence of his treatise on Lots under the title Thomce Gatakeri Londingtis Antithesis partim G. Amesiiipartim G. Voetil de Sorfe thesibus reposita (4to). In 1642 he was chosen to sit in the Westminster Assembly, where in several instances he differed from the majority. He afterwards wrote, with others, the Annotations on the Bible, which were published by the Assembly; the notes on Isaiah and Jeremiah are by him. "In 1648, Gataker, with other London clergymen, to the number of forty-seven, remonstrated against the measures taken by the Long Parliament with respect to king Charles, and he became, in consequence, an object of suspicion to the ruling powers, but by his mild conduct he escaped personal annoyance. In 1652 he published a Latin translation of M. Aurelius's Meditations, with valuable notes, tables of reference, and a preliminary discourse on the philosophy of the Stoics. In the latter part of his life he had to sustain a controversy against the pretended astrologer William Lilly." He died June 27, 1654. His Opera Critica, edited by Witsius, were published at Utrecht, 1698, 2 volumes, fol., containing, besides the Meditations, his Cinnus and Adversaria Miscellanea, being disquisitions on Biblical subjects, and De Novi Testamenti Stylo, with other philological and critical essays. Gataker was a man of high reputation for learning. Echard remarks of him that he "was the most celebrated of the assembly of divines, being highly esteemed by Salmasius and other foreigners; and it is hard to say which is most remarkable, his exemplary piety and charity, his polite literature, or his humility and modesty in refusing preferments." — Hook, Eccles. Biog. 5:275; Jones, Christian Biography; English Cyclopoedia, s.v.; Wood, Athenae Oxon. volume 2.

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