Gerhard Johann Vossius (Voss) (1577 - March 19, 1649), Dutch classical scholar and theologian, was the son of Johannes Voss, a Protestant of the Netherlands, who fled from persecution into the Palatinate and briefly became pastor in the village near Heidelberg where Gerhard was born, before friction with the strict Lutherans of the Palatinate caused him to settle the following year at the University of Leiden as student of theology, and finally became pastor at Dordrecht, where he died in 1585. Here in Dordrecht the son received his education, until in 1595 he entered the university of Leiden, where he became the lifelong friend of Hugo Grotius, and studied classics, Hebrew, church history and theology.
In 1600 he was made rector of the latin school in Dordrecht, and devoted himself to philology and historical theology. From 1614 to 1619 he was director of the theological college at Leiden University.
Meantime he was gaining a great reputation as a scholar, not only in the Netherlands, but also in France and England. But in spite of the moderation of his views and his abstention from controversy, he came under suspicion of heresy, and escaped expulsion from his office only by resignation (1619). The year before he had published his valuable history of Pelagian controversies, which his enemies considered favoured the views of the Arminians or Remonstrants.
In 1622, however, he was appointed professor of rhetoric and chronology, and subsequently of Greek, in the university. He declined invitations from Cambridge, but accepted from Archbishop Laud a prebend in Canterbury cathedral without residence, and went to England to be installed in 1629, when he was made LL.D. at Oxford. In 1632 he left Leiden to take the post of professor of history in the newly founded Athenaeum Illustre at Amsterdam, which he held till his death.
His son Isaak (1618-1689), after a brilliant career of scholarship in Sweden, became residentiary canon at Windsor in 1673. He was the author of De septuaginta interpretibus (1661), De poematum cantu et viribus rhythmi (1673), and Variarum observationum liber (1685).
Vossius was amongst the first to treat theological dogmas and the non-Christian religions from the historical point of view. His principal works are Historia Pelagiana sive Historiae de controversies qvas Pelagius ejusque reliquiae moverunt (1618); Aristarchus, sive de arte grammatica (1635 and 1695; new ed. in 2 vols., 1833-35); Etymologicum linguae Latinae (1662; new ed. in two vols., 1762-63); Commentariorum Rhetoricorum oratoriarum institutionum Libri VI. (1606 and often); De Historicis Graecis Libri III (1624); De Historicis Latinis Libri III (1627); De Theologia Gentili (1642); Dissertationes Tres de Tribus Symbolis, Apostolico, Athanasiano et Constantinopolitano (1642). Collected works published at Amsterdam (6 vols., 1695-1701).
Vossius's works are well-represented in the Library of Sir Thomas Browne. See Jean-Pierre Nicéron, Mémoires pour servir de I'histoire des hommes illustres, vol. xiii. (Paris, 1730); Herzog's Realencyklopädie, art. "Vossius"; and the article in the Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. C.S.M. Rademaker ss.cc., Life and Works of Gerardus Joannes Vossius (1577-1649), (Assen, 1981); G.J. Vossius, Poeticarum institutionum libri III (with English translation and commentary), (Stuttgart, 2006).
Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Bonnensis: Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies.(NEO-LATIN NEWS)(Book review)
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