Cajetan

, a cardinal, was born in 1469, at Cajeta, a town in the kingdom of Naples. His proper name was Thomas de Vio, but he took that of Cajetan from the place of his nativity. He was entered of the order of Dominic, of which he became an illustrious ornament; and having taken a doctor’s degree when he was about twenty-two years of age, he taught philosophy and divinity first at Paris, and afterwards at Rome. He went regularly through all the honours of his order, till he was made general of it; which office he exercised for ten years. He defended the authority of the pope, which suffered greatly at the council of Nice, in a work entitled “Of the Power of the Pope;” and for his zeal upon this occasion, was made bishop of Cajeta. Then he was raised to the archiepiscopal see of Palermo; and in 1517 was made a cardinal by pope Leo X. The year after he was sent a legate into Germany, to quell the commotions which Luther had raised by his opposition to Leo’s indulgences: buJt Luther, being under the particular protection of Frederic elector of Saxony, set him at defiance; and though, in obedience to the cardinal’s summons, he repaired to Augsburg, yet | he rendered his endeavours of no effect. Cajetan indeed was the most improper person that could have been selected to oppose Luther, having nothing to advance hut the arrogant dictates of mere authority. He was, however, more advantageously employed in several other negotiations and transactions, being not only a man of letters, but having a peculiar turn for business; and at length died, in 1534, when he was sixty-five years old.

Sixtus Senensis tells us, that he was a most subtle logician, an admirable philosopher, and an incomparable divine. He wrote commentaries upon Aristotle’s philosophy, and upon Thomas Aquinas’ s theology; the latter, however, by no means calculated to give us a favourable idea of his logic, or his perspicuity, He gave a literal translation of all the books of the Old and New Testaments from the originals, excepting Solomon’s Song and the Pro-' phets, which he had begun, but did not live to proceed far in; and the Revelations of St. John, which he designedly omitted, saying, that to explain them, it was necessary for a man to be endued, not with parts and learning, but with the spirit of prophecy. Father Simon’s account of him, as a translator of the Bible, is critical and historical: “Cardinal Cajetan,” says he, “was very fond of translations of the Bible purely literal; being persuaded, that the Scripture could not be translated too literally, it being the word of God, to which it is expressly forbid either to add or diminish any thing. This cardinal, in his preface to the Psalms, largely explains the method he observed in his translation of that book; and he affirms, that although heknew nothing of the Hebrew, yet he had translated part of the Bible word for word from it. For this purpose he made use of two persons, who understood the language well, the one a Jew, the other a Christian, whom he desired to translate the Hebrew words exactly according to the letter and grammar, although their translation might appear to make no sense at all. I own, says he, that my interpreters were often saying to me, this Hebrew diction Is literally so; but then the sense will not be clear unless it is changed so: to whom I, when I heard all the different significations, constantly replied, Never trouble yourselves about the sense, if it does not appear to you; because is not your business to expound, but to interpret: do you interpret it exactly as it lies, and leave to the expositors the care of making sense of it.” Cardinal Pullavicini, who | looked upon this as too bold, says, that Cajetan, “who has succeeded to the admiration of the whole world in his other works, got no reputation by what he did upon the Bible, because he followed the prejudices of those who stuck close to the Hebrew grammar.” But father Simon is of opinion that he “may in some measure be justified: for he did not, says he, pretend to condemn the ancient Latin translator, or the other translators of the Bible; but would only have translations of the Bible to be made from the original as literally as can be, because there are only these originals, which can be called the pure word of God; and because in translations, which are not literal, there are always some things which do not thoroughly express the original.” These “Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures,” if they deserve the name, were published at Lyons in 5 vols. fol. 1639. 1

1 Moreri and —Dict. Hist. in Vio.~ Mosheim. Du Pin.