Gottskalcksson, Oddur

Gottskalcksson, Oddur the translator of the New Testament into Icelandic, son of the second bishop of Holum, in Iceland, was educated in Norway, and visited Denmark and Germany. The doctrines of the Reformation began to excite a general sensation throughout the north of Europe, and his own attention was forcibly arrested by the truths which were then unfolded. We are told that, for three successive nights, he prostrated himself half-naked before: the Father of lights, beseeching him to open the eyes of his understanding, and to show him whether the principles of Rome or those of Luther were from heaven. The result of his prayers and meditations was a deep-rooted conviction that the cause of the reformer was the cause of God; and with the view of obtaining further information he repaired to Germany, and attended the lectures of Luther and Melanchthon. On his return to. Iceland he entered the service of bishop Ogemuund. The latter wished Gottskalcksson to become a priest, but he declined the offer, because, as he said, he had no voice for singing. As the servant of bishop Ogemund, he commenced the translation of the New Testament into Icelandic; and, to avoid persecution, he selected a small cell in a cow-house for his study. He completed a version in 1539; but finding it impossible, from the state of public opinion, to print it in Iceland, he sailed for Denmark, and published it at Copenhagen under the patronage of Christian III, in 1540. Besides this translation he published Bugenhagen's history of the sufferings and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and Jonla's seermons on the Catechism in Icelandic. He died in 1557. See Jocher, Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexikon, s.v. (B.P.)

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