The New International Encyclopædia/Calixtus, Georg

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The New International Encyclopædia
Calixtus, Georg
Edition of 1905. See also Georg Calixtus on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CALIXTUS, Georg (1586-1656). A German Lutheran theologian. He was born at Medelbye in Schleswig, and studied at Flensborg and Helmstädt. After traveling as an earnest student for four years in Germany, Holland, England, and France, where he made the acquaintance of the most learned men of his time, he returned to Helmstädt in 1613, and in the following year was appointed professor of theology. His genius, the depth of his knowledge, and his large experience of the world and of men, which he had acquired in his travels, developed in him a spirit of great tolerance toward all who held their religious opinions honestly, whatever these might be. Although his dissertations on the Holy Scripture, transubstantiation, communion in one kind, etc., are acknowledged by learned Catholics to be the most solid and admirable which have been composed by Protestants against the distinctive doctrines of Catholicism, he was, on account of some statements in his work entitled De Præcipuis Religionis Christianæ Capitibus, which seemed favorable to Catholic dogmas, and of others in his Epitome Theologiæ Moralis, De Tolerantia Reformatorum, etc., which approached too near to the Reformed or Calvinistic standpoint, declared guilty of abominable heresy by the adherents of the letter of the Concordienformel — i.e. the orthodox and dogmatically rigid Lutherans. Calixtus felt keenly that the polemical harshness of Lutheranism was a serious obstacle in the way of a great Catholic Christianity, and that Protestantism must assume another form before it could hope to become the religion of Europe. Under this conviction, Calixtus endeavored to show that the oldest and most fundamental articles of the Christian faith — viz. the facts embodied in the “Apostles' Creed” — were common to all Christian sects. In subsequent dissertations, having stated tliat the doctrine of the Trinity was less distinctly taught in the Old than in the New Testament, and that good works were necessary to salvation, and finally, at the religious conference of Thorn in 1645, whither he was sent as a mediator by the Elector of Brandenburg, having been on more intimate terms with the Calvinistic than the Lutlieran theologians, Calixtus was accused of apostasy. Fortunately, however, he had powerful friends, who stood firmly by him, and through their help he was enabled to retain his professorial chair till his death in Helmstädt, on March 19, 1656. For his biography, consult: E. L. W. Henke, Calixt und seine Zeit (Halle, 1853-56); W. C. Dowding, German Theology During the Thirty Years' War; and The Life and Correspondence of G. Calixtus (London, 1863).