the elder, the most famous of the older expositors of the prophet Isaiah, was born May 16, 1669, at Leeuwarden, in Friesland. His father was a jurist of high rank in the superior court of the land. He early, began the study of the classical and Hebrew languages, and in his sixteenth year entered the University of Franeker, subsequently graduating at Levden. In 1681 he was made professor of Oriental languages at. Franeker, two years later professor of theology, and after ten years more, professor of Church history. In 1698 he refused a call to Utrecht. He was married, and became the father of four sons and one daughter. His last years were filled with physical suffering, from which he was released by an apoplectic stroke, March 31,1722. Albert Schultens delivered his funeral oration.
Vitringa was engaged in but two literary controversies; one of which, with Cocceius, his former tutor, had, respect to 'the form of Ezekiel's temple, and the other, with Rhenford, was concerned about the idlers (בטלנים) of, the synagogue (comp. Carpzov, Apparat. p. 311). His Commentary on Isaiah (Leovardime, 171420: Basle, 1732, 2 vols. fol.; Herborn, 1715; Tübingen, 1732; in German, abridged, by Büching, and with preface by Mosheim [Halle, 1749-51]) is still worthy of note. Gesenius asserts that it weighs down all previous expositions of that prophet, and many of more modern times. He finds its author given to Cocceian methods of interpretation, and prone to apply the prophecy to some particular historical event whenever possible; but also careful to expound the meaning of every difficult passage, aid thoroughly learned in the languages of the Bible and in the antiquities of the nations. Collocations of passages directed against alien peoples are made by him which constitute an important feature of his work. Next in value may be considered his work on the synagogue, entitled Archisynagogus Observatt. Novis Ill. etc. (1st ed. Franeker, 1685, 4to; 2d ed. 1696, entitled De Synagog Vetere Libri Tres). Other and less important works are, Sacrarum Observit. Lib. VI (ibid. 1683-1708 and often), which exposed Vitringa to the charge of heterodoxy from some critics: Anacrisis Apocalyps. Joannis Apost. (ibid. 1705, etc.), directed against the Church of Rome: —Hypotyposis Hist. et Chronol Sacr. a Mundo Condito, etc. (1708 sq.):— Typus Theologice Practicce (1716 sq.). A posthumous work, Comment. in Libr. Prophet. Zacharice, etc., was published by Venema (Leovardiae, 1734, 4to).
Three of Vitringa's sons died in early life, the last of whom, Horace, had acquired the reputation of a scholia before his decease at the early age of sixteen years. H is observations on Vorst, De Hebraisnis, were published by Lambert Bos in Observatt. Miscell. (Franeker, 1717, 8vo). A fourth son, Campegius, became professor of theology at Franeker (see the following article). See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.