Paraeus, David, Dd

Paraeus, David, D.D., a celebrated German theologian of the Reformation period, was born Dec. 20, 1548, at Francolstein, in Silesia. He was the son of Johann Wangler, but changed his patronymic, in accordance with the custom of his days (παρεῖος being the literal rendering of Wangler; from παρειά, German Wange, cheek). He was educated at Hermsberg and Heidelberg. One of his teachers, Christopher Schilling, becoming himself a convert to Protestantism, influenced young Wangler to forsake Lutheranism, and he became a most ardent disciple of the theologian of Geneva. Parseus entered on his ministry in 1571, at a village called Schlettenbach, which he soon exchanged for Hemsbach, in the diocese of Worms. It was a stormy time, owing to the contests between the papists and Protestants, Lutherans and Calvinists, and in 1577 Parmeus lost his place in consequence of being a sacramentarian, or Calvinist. He went first to Frankenthal, and three years after to Witzingen; but in 1584 prince Casimir made him a professor at Heidelberg. In 1586 he commenced authorship by the publication of his Method of the Ubiquitarian Controversy. In 1589 he published the German Bible, with notes. He rose to the highest professorship in theology, and his fame drew students to the university from the remotest parts of Hungary and Poland. He held several disputations against the writers of the "Augsburg Confession." One of the most memorable he held in 1596, when he defended Calvin against the imputation that the Geneva Reformer favored Judaism in his "Commentaries upon several parts of Scripture." At the time of the centennial jubilee of the Reformation in 1617, which was celebrated at Heidelberg, Parseus published some pieces upon the subject, which drew upon him the resentment of the Jesuits of Mentz: they wrote a sharp censure of his works, and he published a suitable answer to it. The following year, 1618, at the instance of the states-general, he was pressed to go to the Synod of Dort, but excused himself on account of age and infirmities. After this time he enjoyed but little tranquillity. The apprehensions he had of the ruin which his patron the elector palatine would bring upon himself by accepting the crown of Bohemia caused him to change his residence. He terrified himself with a thousand bad omens; he feared the success of the Imperialists; and, considering the books he had written against the pope and Bellarmine, he looked upon it as the most dreadful calamity that could happen to him to fall into the hands of the monks; for which reason he gladly complied with those who advised him to provide in time for his own safety, and accordingly he retired to the town of Anweil, in the duchy of Zweibrucken, near Landau (October, 1621). He left that place shortly after and went to Neustadt, but did not even stay long there, but returned to Heidelberg, in order to spend his last days at his beloved home, and so to be buried near the professors of the university. He died June, 1586. The expository works of Parseus are his most numerous, and were long greatly esteemed on the Continent. They have been published collectively at Geneva and at Frankfort. Among them are commentaries on Genesis, Hosea, Matthew, several of Paul's Epistles, the Apocalypse, and Adversaria on other parts of the Bible. Although the Biblical writings of Parseus are superseded, it is impossible to deny to them considerable merit, both in the exegetical exposition of the sacred text and his practical deductions. The greatest drawback to this merit arises from the long theological (chiefly polemical) discussions with which the commentary is overburdened. His commentary on Romans is well known to English theologians for the anti-monarchical principles which it embodies, and which gave so much offense to king James I and the University of Oxford. All of Paraeus's works were published by his son at Frankfort-on-the-Main in. 1647 (3 vols. fol.). See Middleton, Evangel.

Biogr. 2:401 sq.; and the Memoir in vol. 1 of the works, also published separately since.

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