Lefèvre d'Étaples, Jacques

Lefèvre d'Étaples, Jacques zhäk ləfăvˈrə dātäpˈlə [key], c.1450–1536, French theologian and humanist. A priest, he studied in Italy, where he was influenced by Neoplatonism. In 1507, he was made librarian at the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. He became famous for his commentary on the epistles of St. Paul (1512) and his edition of the works of the mystic, Nicholas of Cusa (1514). Caught up in the spirit of criticism of the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, he became a leading figure of Christian humanism. Although advocating some of the ideas later integral to the Reformation, he believed, like Erasmus, in reform from within and refused to break with the church. Nevertheless, he was subjected to suspicion and persecution. In 1521, the Sorbonne condemned as heretical his book on the three Marys, but Francis I and his sister Margaret of Navarre prevented further action against him. Forced to seek refuge in Strasbourg in 1525, he returned the following year as tutor to the royal children and librarian in the château at Blois. His last years were spent at Nérac, under the protection of Margaret of Navarre. The Protestant reformer Guillaume Farel was one of his pupils. Lefèvre d'Étaples translated the Bible into French (1523–30). He was also known as Jacobus Faber Stapulensis.

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