A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Alesius, Alexander

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Alesius, Alexander (1500-1565). -- Theologian and controversialist. His unlatinised name was Aless or Alane, and he was b. at Edinburgh and ed. at St. Andrews, where he became a canon. Originally a strong and able defender of the Romish doctrines, he was chosen to argue with Patrick Hamilton, the proto-martyr of the Reformation in Scotland, with the object of inducing him to recant. The result, however, was that he was himself much shaken in his allegiance to the Church, and the change was greatly accelerated by the martyrdom of H. His subsequent protest against the immorality of the clergy led to his imprisonment, and ultimately, in 1532, to his flying for his life to Germany, where he became associated with Luther and Melancthon, and definitely joined the reforming party. Coming to England in 1535, he was well received by Cranmer and other reformers. While in England he studied medicine, and practised as a physician in London. On the fall of T. Cromwell in 1540 he again retired to Germany, where, at Leipzig, he obtained a professorship. During the reign of Edward VI. he re-visited England and was employed by Cranmer in connection with the 1st Liturgy of Edward VI. Returning to Leipsic he passed the remainder of his days in peace and honour, and was twice elected Rector of the University. His writings were both exegetical and controversial, but chiefly the latter. They include Expositio Libri Psalmorum Davidis (1550). His controversial works refer to such subjects as the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, against Servetus, etc.