1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Münster, Sebastian
MÜNSTER, SEBASTIAN (1489-1552), German geographer, mathematician and Hebraist, was born at Ingelheim in the Palatinate. After studying at Heidelberg and Tübingen, he entered the Franciscan order, but abandoned it for Lutheranism about 1529. Shortly afterwards he was appointed court preacher at Heidelberg, where he also lectured in Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis. From 1536 he taught at Basel, where he published his Cosmographia universalis in 1544, and where he died of the plague on the 23rd of May 1552. A disciple of Elias Levita, he was the first German to edit the Hebrew Bible (2 vols., fol., Basel, 1534-1535); this edition was accompanied by a new Latin translation and a large number of annotations. He published more than one Hebrew grammar, and was the first to prepare a Grammatica chaldaica (Basel, 1527). His lexicographical labours included a Dictionarium chaldaicum (1527), and a Dictionarium trilingue, of Latin, Greek and Hebrew (1530). But his most important work was his Cosmographia, which also appeared in German as a Beschreibung alter Länder, the first detailed, scientific and popular description of the world in Münster's native language, as well as a supreme effort of geographical study and literature in the Reformation period. In this Münster was assisted by more than one hundred and twenty collaborators.