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Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

Database

Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

James Dodson

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Theodore Beza was born in Vezelay, in Burgundy, France, June 24, 1519. In the 1540s he was converted to Protestantism after falling ill. During this illness, he had what he described as a crisis of mind, heart and body in which his deep spiritual need was revealed. In 1549, he was appointed professor of Greek at Lausanne, while visiting Pierre Viret, a Protestant reformer. In 1558, he settled in Geneva, where he became an intimate acquaintance of John Calvin. Calvin was so impressed that Beza assumed the position of his hand-picked successor. There, Beza became the rector and professor of theology at the newly established Genevan Academy, in 1559. He demitted his position as rector in 1563, but he continued on as a professor of theology until 1599. After Calvin’s death, Beza served as moderator of the venerable Company of Pastors, a position which he occupied until 1580. Under Beza, no doctrinal controversies arose. In fact, he managed the affairs of the church with great wisdom and moderation. During his long life, Beza managed to produce numerous volumes on theological topics which helped move Reformed theology into its age of Scholastic Orthodoxy. He died peacefully, in Geneva, October, 13, 1605.

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