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CAPPEL, LOUIS (LUDOVICUS CAPPELLUS):

Christian theologian and Hebrew scholar; descended from an old aristocratic French Hugue-not family; born Oct. 15, 1585; died June 18, 1658. In consequence of the so-called Tractate of Nemours of July 7, 1585, Cappel's parents were obliged to leave the country, and during their flight Louis was born at Saint Elier, near Sedan. The soldiers of the League, who were pursuing the parents, very nearly spitted the new-born infant on their swords. After studying theology and Oriental languages at Sedan, and traveling for four years through England, Holland, and Germany, he was appointed, in 1613, preacher and professor of Hebrew, and in 1633 professor of theology, at the Reformed Academy of Saumur. He died there, highly honored.

Cappel gained imperishable fame by his two books, "Arcanum Punctationis Revelatum," published anonymously by Thomas Erpenius, at Leyden, in 1624, and "Critica Sacra," printed at Paris, in 1650. In the "Arcanum" he proved conclusively that the Hebrew text was first pointed after the Christian era, until which time it had been composed merely of consonants; in the "Critica" he proved that not even the consonantal text had been transmitted without errors, but needed emendation with the help of the versions and of conjecture.

It is to the lasting credit of Cappel that he was the first who dared to undertake, with exemplary clearness, penetration, and method, a purely philologic and scientific treatment of the text of the Bible.

Bibliography:
  • Ludovici Cappelli, Commentarius de Cappellorum Gente, reprinted in Ludovici Cappelli, Commentarii et Notœ Criticœ in Vetus Testamentum, Amsterdam, 1689.
T. K. H. C.
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