Skip to content

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

Frequently called "Faber Stapulensis."

A French philosopher, biblical and patristic scholar; b. at Etaples in Picardy, about 1455; d. at Nérac, 1536. He pursued his classical studies at the University of Paris, graduating as master of arts. In 1492 he made a journey to Italy. His protracted visits to Florence, Rome, and Venice were devoted chiefly to the study of the works of Aristotle. On his return to Paris he displayed considerable activity as professor in the college of Cardinal Lemoine. Among his disciples were the Protestant reformer Farel and the later bishops Briçonnet, Roussel, D'Arande, Poncher. In 1507 he was invited to the monastery of St. Germain-des-Prés near Paris, by the abbot Brinonnet. Here he resided till 1520, assiduously studying the Bible . The first-fruit of his labours was his "Psalterium Quintuplex, gallicum, romanum, hebraicum, vetus, conciliatum" (Paris, 1509). In 1517 and 1519 he published at Paris two critical essays on Mary Magdalen, "De Maria Magdalena" and "De tribus et unica Magdalena disceptatio secunda." In these writings he endeavoured to prove that Mary, sister of Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, and the penitent woman who anointed Christ's feet ( Luke 7:37 ) were three distinct persons. This opinion, new at the time, gave rise to a violent controversy; refutations by Noël Bédier, syndic of the University of Paris, and John Fisher, the martyr-bishop of Rochester, appeared; they were followed by the condemnation by the Sorbonne in 1521. The preceding year, Lefèvre had left Paris for Meaux, where his friend, Briçonnet, now bishop of this city, was to appoint him his vicar-general in 1523. He continued his biblical studies, publishing the "Commentarii initiatorii in quartuor Evangelia" (Paris, 1522); a French translation of the New Testament (Paris, 1523) and of the Psalms (Paris, 1525); an explanation of the Sunday Epistles and Gospels (Meaux, 1525). As these works contained some erroneous views and revealed the author's sympathies for the doctrines of the so-called reformers, they again brought him into conflict with the Sorbonne. His commentary on the Gospels was condemned in 1523, and only the timely interposition of the king shielded him temporarily from further molestation. But during the captivity of Francis I, which followed the battle of Pavia (February, 1525), further proceedings were instituted against Lefèvre for his novel doctrines, and he sought safety in flight. After the king's release, he was recalled from exile and appointed librarian in the royal castle of Blois (1526). Here he worked at his translation of the Old Testament, which appeared at Antwerp in 1528. In 1531, he accompanied Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, to Nérac, where he spent the last years of his life. Lefèvre was a strong advocate of ecclesiastical reforms but did not deem a separation from the Catholic Church, of which he always remained a member, necessary for the attainment of this end. Among his non-biblical writings the following may be considered: "Theologia vivificans, Dionysii coelestis hierarchia, Ignatii XV epistolae, Polycarpi epistolai" (Paris, 1498); "Opera complura St. Hilarii episcopi" (Paris, 1510); "Liber trium virorum Hermae, Uguetini et Roberti triumque spiritualium virginum Hildegardis, Elizabethae et Mechtildis" (Paris, 1513).

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.

Saint of the Day logo
Prayer of the Day logo

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2024 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2024 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.