Hyperius, Andrew Gerhard

Hyperius, Andrew Gerhard an eminent Protestant theologian of the 16th century, was born at Ypres, Belgium, May 16, 1511. His family name was Gerhard, but he assumed the name Hyperius from his birthplace. His father directed his first studies, after which Hyperius attended the University of Paris during the years 1528-35. After completing his studies he made a short stay at Louvain, then traveled through the Netherlands and visited Germany. On his return he was deprived of a benefice which had been obtained for him, on the ground that he had embraced the doctrine of the Reformation. He went to England, where he remained four years with the son of William Mountjov, a friend of Erasmus, studying at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The persecutions directed against the Protestants after Cromwell's death compelled him, in 1541, to leave England, and he purposed going to Strasburg, attracted by the reputation of Bucer; but his friend Geldenhauer, professor of theology at Marburg, persuaded him to remain in the latter city, and he succeeded his friend in 1542 as professor. He died at Marburg Feb. 1, 1564. To profound and extensive learning Hyperius joined great intellectual powers, and a remarkably mild, yet straightforward disposition. Greatly in advance of his times as a scholar, he held deep and correct views on the system with which theological researches and studies should be conducted in striking contrast with the arbitrary proceedings of the exegetes of the 16th century, as well as the scholastic theories of contemporary theologians. His views have become the basis of modern scientific theology. He had also a clearer and more practical notion of preaching than the other preachers of his time, who, instead of expounding Christian doctrines to their hearers in view of edifying them, brought abstract discussions or irritating controversies into the pulpit. Hyperius wrote Def armandis Concionibus sacris, seu de interpretatione Scripturarum populari, Libri 2 (Dort, 1555, 8vo; latest ed., augmented, and containing a biography of the author, Halle, 1781, 8vo). It is the first complete work on Homiletics, and one of the best: — De theologo, seu de ratione studii theologici, Lib. iv (Basle, 1556, 8vo; often reprinted): this is a work of great merit, which may have had the most favorable effect on theological study, had not the largeness of views and the Zuinglian opinion of the author in regard to the Eucharist rendered it suspicious in the eyes of the orthodox Lutheran party. Laurentius Villavincentius, an Augustinian monk of Xeres, in Andalusia, made great use of this as well as of the preceding work, or, rather, caused them to be reprinted almost word for word, as his own production, with the exception of passages too favorable to Protestantism, in a work he published at Antwerp in 1565, and the plagiarism was not detected until half a century later: — Elementa Christiance religionis (Basle, 1563, 8vo): — Topica theologica (Wittemb. 1565, 8vo; Basle, 1573, 8vo): — Methodi Theologire, sive praecipuorum Christianes religionis locorum communium, Libri 3 (Basle, 1566, 1568, 8vo). This work was to have had three more parts, but it was left incomplete: — Opuascula Theologica varsia (Basle, 1570, 2 vols. 8vo). His exegetical works are among the most valuable productions in that department by the Reformers, and were frequently used by Bloomfield in his notes on the New Testament. His most important work in this department, a Commentary on the Epistles of Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews (Comment. in Epistolas ad Timothy, Titus, et Philem. 1582; Comment. in Pauli Epistolas, 1583; Comment. in Epist. ad Hebraeos, 1585), was published after his death by Mylius (Zurich, 1582-8, 4 vols. folio), and under the care of J. Andreas Schmidt (Helmstadt, 1704, 8vo). In it "Hyperius pursues the grammatico-historical method of interpretation, examining the meaning of the words, carefully tracing the connection of the passage, taking note of the analogy of Scripture, and so arriving at the true sense of the place. Not until he has thus done justice to the exegesis does he proceed to the dogmatical or practical use of the passage. He also frequently gives citations from the fathers to show the agreement of his conclusions with the understanding of the ancient Church" (Kitto). A collection of small pamphlets had been previously published separately; among them, De Sacrce Scripturae Lectione et Meditatione (Basle, 1581, 8vo). See Boissard, Icones Virorumn Iltustrium, pars 3; Melch. Adam, Vifte Germanorum Theologorums; Bayle, Dict. flist.; ,. M. Schrockh, Lebensbesch. beriihnt. GeleIhrten, vol. 1, ard Kirchengesch. s. d. Ref: vol. 5; Hoefer, Novus. Eiog. Ges. 25, 71; Mercersb. Rev. 1857, p. 271 sq.; Ch. Monthly, June, 1866; M'Crie, Reform. in Spain, p. 382; Haucl, Jethro. d. Theol. 2, 255. (J. H. W.)

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