Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fagius, Paul

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803840Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 18 — Fagius, Paul1889Ronald Bayne

FAGIUS, PAUL (1504–1549), divine, son of Peter Büchlein, schoolmaster of Rheinzabern in the Palatinate, and Margaret Hirnin of Heidelberg, was born in 1504, and at the age of eleven left his father's school for Heidelberg, where he studied under John Brentius and Martin Frechtus. From Heidelberg at about the age of eighteen he removed to Strasburg, where he gave lessons to support himself. At Strasburg he was the pupil of Wolfgang Capito, a famous Hebraist, and became intimate with Bucer and other learned reformers. In 1527 he accepted the post of schoolmaster at Isne in Suabia, where he married. In 1537, after two years' preparatory study at Strasburg, he undertook the duties of pastor at Isne, and distinguished himself for eloquence and zeal. In 1541, when Isne was visited by the plague, his example and exhortations prevented the desertion of the town by the richer inhabitants. All this time he was actively improving himself in Hebrew; he induced the celebrated rabbi, Elias Levita, to come from Venice to help him in his studies, and by the generosity of Peter Buffler, senator of Isne, he was enabled to establish a Hebrew printing-press, which published many works valuable to oriental scholars. These publications gave Fagius a great reputation as a Hebraist, and in 1542, Capito having died at Strasburg of the plague, the senate invited Fagius to take his place as professor of Hebrew; almost at the same time the town of Constance asked him to succeed the eloquent pastor, John Zwick, while the landgrave of Hesse offered him the chair of theology at Marburg. Fagius accepted the post of pastor at Constance for two years, and in 1544 went to Strasburg as Capito's successor; but in 1546 Frederick II, the elector palatine, invited him to Heidelberg to aid the party of the reformation in that university. Fagius published several works while at Heidelberg, but lost his father in 1548, and the triumph of the emperor over the elector began to make the position of conspicuous reformers exceedingly dangerous. Having refused to obey the Interim, he was deposed with Bucer from his offices, and accepted in 1549 the invitation of Archbishop Cranmer and the lord protector to come to England. He arrived in England in April and stayed for some months with the archbishop, till a quartan fever attacked him; he was removed to Cambridge on 5 Nov. in the hope that the change of air might be beneficial, and died there in the arms of Bucer on 13 Nov. 1549. The date is fixed by the statement in the ‘Vera Historia’ that Fagius died on the Ides of November. Fagius had been appointed reader in Hebrew at Cambridge, and had written portions of a course of lectures on Isaiah, when the fever attacked him. On 25 Sept. he was assigned a pension of 100l. per annum by the king. He was buried in St. Michael's Church in Cambridge, but his body was exhumed in Queen Mary's reign and publicly burnt. Three years later, on Queen Elizabeth's accession, his honours were formally and publicly restored, 6 Feb. 1557. [For further particulars see Bucer.]

[Vita Pauli Fagii, Theologi pietate atque linguarum cognitione excellentissimi, per ministros aliquot Ecclesiæ Argentinen. vere et breviter descripta, printed in a book entitled ‘Historia Vera: de vita, obitu, sepultura, accusatione hæreseos, … D. Martini Buceri et Pauli Fagii …’ Strasburg, 1562. This book was edited by Conrad Hubert, Bucer's secretary; it contains a list of all Fagius's numerous works, which is printed in Strype's Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer, p. 845. The part of Hubert's book which relates to the burning and restitution of honours was translated into English by Arthur Goldyng, and published in London in 1562. See also Melchior Adam's Vitæ Theologorum, Frankfort, 1705; Nouvelle Biographie Générale, vol. xvii.; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabrigienses, i. 95; Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, vol. vi.; Haag's La France Protestante, Paris, 1852, iii. 71; and the index to Strype's works under ‘Fagius.’]

R. B.