Faber, Jacobus

FABER, JACOBUS, also Fabri or Fabry (surnamed Stapulensis), [Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples] (c.1455 - c. 1536), a pioneer of the Protestant movement in France, was born of humble parents at Etaples, in Pas de Calais, Picardy, about 1455. He appears to have been possessed of considerable means. He had already been ordained priest when he entered the university of Paris for higher education. Hermonymus of Sparta was his master in Greek. He visited Italy before 1486, for he heard the lectures of Argyropulus, who died in that year; he formed a friendship with Paulus Aemilius of Verona. In 1492 he again travelled in Italy, studying in Florence, Rome and Venice, making himself familiar with the writings of Aristotle, though greatly influenced by the Platonic philosophy. Returning to Paris, he became professor in the college of Cardinal Lemoine. Among his famous pupils were F.W. Vatable and Farel; his connexion with the latter drew him to the Calvinistic side of the movement of reform. At this time he began the publication, with critical apparatus, of Boëtius (De Arithmetica), and Aristotle's Physics (1492), Ethics (1497), Metaphysics (1501) and Politics (1506). In 1507 he took up his residence in the Benedictine Abbey of St Germain des Prés, near Paris; this was due to his connexion with the family of Briçonnet (one of whom was the superior), especially with William Briçonnet, cardinal bishop of St Malo (Meaux). He now began to give himself to Biblical studies, the first-fruit of which was his Quintuplex Psalterium: Gallicum, Romanum, Hebraicum, Vetus, Conciliatum (1509); the Conciliatum was his own version. This was followed by S. Pauli Epistolae xiv. ex vulgata editione, adjecta intelligentia ex Graeco cum commentariis (1512), a work of great independence and judgment. His De Maria Magdalena et triduo Christi disceptatio (1517) provoked violent controversy and was condemned by the Sorbonne (1521). He had left Paris during the whole of 1520, and, removing to Meaux, was appointed (May 1, 1523) vicar-general to Bishop Briçonnet, and published his French version of the New Testament (1523). This (contemporary with Luther's German version) has been the basis of all subsequent translations into French. From this, in the same year, he extracted the versions of the Gospels and Epistles "à l'usage du diocèse de Meaux." The prefaces and notes to both these expressed the view that Holy Scripture is the only rule of doctrine, and that justification is by faith alone. He incurred much hostility, but was protected by Francis I. and the princess Margaret. Francis being in captivity after the battle of Pavia (February 25, 1525), Faber was condemned and his works suppressed by commission of the parlement; these measures were quashed on the return of Francis some months later. He issued Le Psautier de David (1525), and was appointed royal librarian at Blois (1526); his version of the Pentateuch appeared two years later. His complete version of the Bible (1530), on the basis of Jerome, took the same place as his version of the New Testament. Margaret (now queen of Navarre) led him to take refuge (1531) at Nérac from persecution. He is said to have been visited (1533) by Calvin on his flight from France. He died in 1536 or 1537.

See C.H. Graf, Essai sur la vie et les écrits (1842); G. Bonet-Maury, in A. Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopädie (1898).

(A. Go.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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