9 October 1580 A.D. John Immanuel Tremellius Dies—Italian Reformed Churchman, Hebraist, Resident at Lambeth Palace, & Professor at Cambridge and Heidelberg Universities
No author. “1648 Biblia Sacra by Junius-Tremellius-Beza.” Historical Theoblogy. N.d. http://rester.us/HistoricalTheoBlogy/?p=67. Accessed 17 Jul 2014.
Available now online via Google Books is this treasure of the Protestant church that was typically the standard Latin biblical text of the scholarly Reformed world from 1579 through 1764. An edition of the New Testament was published on its own as early as 1569. Thus this bible stands as a textual bookend for the period of Reformed orthodoxy and was quite influential in its own right. I do not have space to enumerate the multi-national usage of and esteem for this work. But perhaps I can give you a sense of its importance via its publishing history. The first edition by Tremellius and Junius was published in Frankfurt am Main in 1579. It was published in 6 different academic centers of Protestant Europe – London, Amsterdam, Geneva, Frankfurt, Hanover, and Zurich. Combined there were at least 30 different editions of this Bible. It underwent four recensions under Junius’ editorial eye before his death in 1602. After 1581, a shrewd London printer bundled the Tremellius-Junius Old and New Testament with Beza’s New Testament. In the early London editions the New Testament contains, in parallel columns, Tremellius translation of the New Testament from Syriac into Latin next to Beza’s translation from the Greek into Latin. This particular Amsterdam edition only contains the Beza New Testament with the Tremellius-Junius Old Testament.
Immanuel Tremellius (1510-1580) was the professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Strasbourg as well as the Regius professor of Old Testament at Cambridge (after Fagius, appointed under King Henry VI), and finally served in that capacity during the apex of Heidelberg University’s Reformed heyday from 1561 through 1568. Tremellius was an Italian Jew who converted to Roman Catholicism and then to the Reformation in short succession in 1540 and 1541. His expertise was in Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Chaldee, Greek, and Latin. He wrote grammars for Chaldee and Syriac. By the way he also translated Calvin’s Catechism into Hebrew (Paris: 1551).
Franciscus Junius was born in Bourges, and after a distinguished academic career at a young age turned down a staff position with the French Ambassador to Byzantium (by missing the departure of the Ambassador’s entourage!). At 16 entered the Geneva Academy in the early 1560s as one of Calvin’s students. Upon Calvin’s death he made his way to Heidelberg. (Bypassing about 8 years of his life …) In 1571 Junius began work with Tremellius on the translation and by 1578, Junius had not only completed the translation work but also married Tremellius’ daughter. Junius also was a phenomenal linguist in his own right – rendering a translation of 1 John from Arabic into Latin at the old age of 28. He also was responsible for a 1580 Hebrew Grammar that was the fruit of his 8 year tenure translating the Old and New Testaments (I have honestly been searching quite adamantly for this grammar, as it is quite rare, and found a digital copy recently here - I almost fell out of my chair … no really). Junius was close friends with Ursinus (preached his funeral oration) and taught at Neustadt, Heidelberg, and Leiden. His correspondence is wide and broad in the spectrum of learned discourse and ranges the gamut of humanistic and philological scholars regardless of their stance towards the Reformation.
- Tremellius entry in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchlexicon
- Tremellius entry at Wikipedia reproduces this from the Jewish Encyclopedia
- Franciscus Junius entry from 11th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica
- see Haag La France Protestante entry for Francois Du Jon
- Pierre Bayle’s Dictionnaire historique et critique