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GERHARD JOHANN VOSSIUS [Voss] (1577–1...

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 215 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GERHARD JOHANN VOSSIUS [Voss] (1577–1649), German classical scholar and theologian, was the son of Johannes Voss, a Protestant of the Netherlands, who fled from persecution into the Palatinate and became pastor in the village near Heidelberg where Gerhard was born. Johannes was a Calvinist, however, and the strict Lutherans of the Palatinate caused him once more to become a wanderer; in 1578 he settled at Leiden as student of theology, and finally became pastor at Dort, where he died in 1585. Here the son received his educa- Vossius was amongst the first to treat theological dogmas and the heathen religions from the historical point of view. His principal works are Historia Pelagiana sive Historiae de controversiis coos Pelagius ejusque reliquiae moverunt (1618) ; Aristarchus, sive de arte grammalica (1635 and 1695; new ed. in 2 vols., 1833–35); Etymologicum linguae Latham (1662; new ed. in two vols., 1762–63) ; tion, and antiquarian research until his death on the on, until in 1595 he entered the university of Leiden, where he became the lifelong friend of Hugo Grotius, and studied 29th of March 1826. classics, Hebrew, church history and theology. In 1600 he Voss was a man of a remarkably independent and vigorous was made rector of the high school at Dort, and devoted character. In 1785—95 he published in two volumes a collection of original poeme, to which he afterwards made many additions. The himself to philology and historical theology. From 1614 to best of these works is his idyllic poem Luise (1795), in which he 1619 he was director of the theological college at Leiden. sought, with much success, to apply the style and methods of Meantime he was ga,ining a great reputation as a scholar, not classical poetry to the expression of modern German thought and only in the Netherlands, but also in France and England. sentiment. In his hlythologische Briefe (2 vols., 1794), in which he But in spite of the moderation of his views and his abstention attacked the ideas of Christian Gottlob Heyne, in his Antisymbolik (2 vols., 1824–26), written in opposition to Georg Friedrich Creuzer from controversy, he came under suspicion of heresy, and (1771–1858), and in other writings he made important contributions escaped expulsion from his office only by resignation (1619). to the study of mythology. He was also prominent as an advocate The year before he had published his valuable history of of the right of free judgment in religion, and at the time when some Pelagian controversies, which his enemies considered favourer, members of the Romantic school were being converted to the Roman Catholic church he produced a strong impression by a the views of the Arminians or Remonstrants. In 1622, however, powerful article, in Sophronizon, on his friend Friedrich von Stol- he was appointed professor of rhetoric and chronology, and berg's repudiation of Protestantism (1819). It is, however, as a subsequently of Greek, in the university. He declined invita- translator that Voss chiefly owes his place in German literature. tions from Cambridge, but accepted from Archbishop Laud a IIis translations indicate not only sound scholarship but a thorough mastery of the laws of German diction and rhythm. The most prebend in Canterbury cathedral without residence, and went famous of his translations are those of Homer. Of these the best to England to be installed in 1629, when he was made LL.D. at is the translation of the Odyssey,. as originally issued in 1781. He Oxford. In 1632 he left Leiden to take the post of professor also translated Hesiod, Theocrtus, Bion and lbloschus, Virgil, of history in the newly founded Athenaeum at Amsterdam, Horace, Tibullus, Properties and other classical poets, and he prepared a critical edition of Tibullus. In 1818–29 was published, which he held till his death on the 19th of March 1649. in 9 Vols., a translation of Shakespeare's plays, which he com- His son ISAAK (1618–1689), after a brilliant career of scholar- pleted with the help of his sons Heinrich and Abraham, both of ship in Sweden, became residentiary canon at Windsor in 1673. whom were scholars and writers of considerable ability. He was the author of De septuaginla interpretibeas (1661), De J. II. Voss's Sdmttiche poetische II erke were published by his son Abraham in 1835; new ed. 1850. A good selection is in A. Sauer, poematum cantu et viribus rhythmi (1673), and Variorum Der Gatlinger Dichterbund, vol. i. (Kfirsc_hner's Deutsche National- observationum fiber (1685). literatur, vol. 49, 1887). His Letters were also published by his son in 4 vols. (1829–33). Voss left a short autobiography, Abriss meines Lebens (1815). See also W. Herbst, J. H. Voss (3 vols., 1872–76); A. Heussncr, J. H. Voss als Schulmann in Eutin (1882).
End of Article: GERHARD JOHANN VOSSIUS [Voss] (1577–1649)
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