Celebrities in Switzerland: Théodore de Bèze
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de Bèze, Théodore (1519 - 1605) France / WriterGenève / GE

Descended from the Burgundian nobility, Théodore de Bèze was born in Vezelay in 1519. His humanist education turned him into a remarkable poet and the young man of letters particularly distinguished himself by producing a book of verses of which Calvin’s companion, and then his successor, disapproved on moral grounds.

Condemned by the Parliament of Paris after he had taken up the ideas of the Reformation, he fled in 1548 to Geneva, where he took permanent residence after having taught Greek at the Lausanne Academy. First rector of the Geneva Academy in 1559, he published several annotated editions of the New Testament and wrote some studies of dogma.

But the writer was also a man of action. And so he went three times to Germany in an attempt to unite Reformists and Lutherans. In 1561 he took an active part in the Poissy conference in which he confessed his faith in a speech that has become famous.

Desirous of following and consolidating the work of Calvin, he made sure that the Ecclesiastic Rulings (Ordonnances ecclésiastiques) were applied and he saw to the running of the Academy. His impressive correspondence demonstrates the international dimension of Théodore de Bèze.


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