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ADRIANUS, MATTHÆUS:

Hebraist of the sixteenth century. He was a Jew of Spanish descent, but at an early age migrated to Germany, where he embraced Christianity. Though a physician by profession, he achieved eminence mainly as an instructor in Hebrew. Through the influence of Reuchlin and Conrad Pellican, the latter of whom was his pupil, he secured a tutorship in the house of Johann Amerbach, the printer of Basel, and became the instructor of Fabricius Capito at Bruchsall. In 1513 he was called to the chair of Hebrew at Heidelberg, where, among others, Johann Brenz and Joannes Œcolampadius came under his tuition. On the recommendation of Erasmus, in the year 1517, he was given a professorship in the newly established Collegium Trilingue at Louvain, where many hopes were centered in him. These, however, were shattered as early as 1519, when Adrianus publicly stated in one of his lectures that Jerome had often been subject to human errors. This assertion of Jerome's fallibility cost Adrianus the good-will of his colleagues, and particularly of Latomus, who subsequently was Luther's antagonist. Latomus attacked Adrianus' speech and caused his departure from the college. Adrianus' rash frankness, in fact, combined with his petulance and quarrelsome disposition, precluded his lengthy residence at any one place. In 1521 he was expelled from Wittenberg, where, upon his arrival, he had been received with open arms by Luther, and where he had instructed in Hebrew a number of noted men, among whom was Valentin Trotzendorf. Whether he went thence to Leipsic or Freiburg is uncertain, as are also the place and date of his death. Among his literary productions the "Introductio in Linguam Hebræam" and his translations into Hebrew of several Christian prayers, contained in his "Hora pro Domino," are regarded as rarities. But, on the whole, his reputation as one of the most noted Hebraists of his day rested more on his capacity as an instructor than on his writings.

Bibliography:
  • Allg. Deutsche Biographie, i. 124;
  • Geiger, Das Studium d. Hebr. Sprache in Deutschland, pp. 41-48, 134;
  • Steinschneider, Bibliographisches Handbuch, p. 2;
  • Hirt, Orientalische u. Exegetische Bibliothek, vi. 320.
H. G. E.
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