Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

11 September 1584 A.D. Obscure Hero of Reformation—Erpenius, Orientalist Scholar

11 September 1584 A.D.  Obscure Hero of Reformation—Erpenius, Orientalist Scholar

H/t to Andy.  Of note, in our header-page, we have featured his two last publications for order on Kindle.

Underhile, Andy. “Obscure Heroes of the Reformation—Erpenius.”  Contra Mundam.  9 Sept 2011.  Accessed 17 Jul 2014.

Thomas Erpenius was born in Gorcum, in Holland in 1584. He went to school in Leyden and was admitted to the university was he was 18. He took his M.A., when he was 25. He took up the study of theology and languages under Joseph Scalinger. From there he travelled to England, France, Italy and Germany.
When he returned to Paris, he became acquainted with Casaubon. Together they travelled to Saumur and Thomas studied Arabic. He then went to Venice and with the help of some learned Jews and Turks, he learned Turkish, Persian and Ethiopian. His skill was such that he was offered a great deal of money to stay in Venice and translate some Arabic books into Latin. He continued travelling for four more years, travelling through Paris and purchasing Arabic books wherever he went. He finally returned to Leyden in 1612. There were plans to bring him to England and pay him a large salary to teach, but in 1613 he was appointed Professor of Oriental Languages at the university in Leyden.
Erpenius married in 1616 and had three children. In 1616 he was made Professor of Hebrew also. It was reported of him that whatever task he worked at, he worked with such fervency that you would have thought that he had nothing else to attend to.
In 1620 the prince of Orange sent him to France to procure the services of Peter Moulin and Andrew Rivet to be professors of Divinity at Leyden. Initially, he was unsuccessful, but the next year he was able to bring Rivet with him back to Leyden.
Erpenius was so famous that the king of Spain offered him great rewards if he would come to Spain and translate some ancient writings that no one had ever been able to do before. The king of Morocco was so impressed with the quality of Erpenius’ Arabic that he showed off letters from Erpenius to Arabic scholars and noblemen as if they were some sort of miracle. The prince of Orange frequently sought his services to translate Arabic letters from royalty in Africa and Asia.
Erpenius fell sick due to the plague in 1624 and died at the age of 40.

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