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
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.