Amama, Sixtinus

, professor of the Hebrew tongue in the university of Franeker, was born in Friesland in the end of the sixteenth century (according to Saxiusin 1593), and studied under Drusius. The university of Leyden endeavoured, by offering him a larger salary, to draw him from the university of Franeker, in order to succeed Erpenius: Amama, without absolutely refusing this offer, yet would not accept of it unless he obtained permission from his superiors of Friesland, which they refused, and perhaps gave him such additional encouragement, that he had no reason to repent of not going to Leyden. The first book he published was a specimen of a great design he intended, viz. to censure the Vulgate translation, which the council of Trent had declared authentic; but before he had finished this work, he publisheda criticism upon the translation of the Pentateuch, entitled “'Censura Vulgatee Latina? editionis Pentateuchi,” 4to, 1620, Franeker, as a specimen of his more elaborate work. Whilst he was carrying on this, he was obliged to engage in another work, which was, to collate the Dutch translation of the scripture with the originals and the exactest translations: this Dutch translation had been taken from Luther’s version. He gave the public an account of this labour, in a work which appeared at Amsterdam, entitled, “Bybelsche conferencie,Amsterdam, 1623. This employment of collating so much engaged Amama, that he was hindered for a considerable time from applying to his intended general censure of the Vulgate. However, he resumed his undertaking upon hearing that father Mersennus had endeavoured to refute his critical remarks on the first six chapters of Genesis, and he gave himself up entirely to vindicate his criticisms against that author. His answer is one of the pieces contained in the “Anti-barbarus Biblicus,” which he published in 1628; the other pieces are, his Censure of the Vulgate on the historical books of the Old Testament, on Job, the Psalms, and the books of Solomon, with some particular dissertations, one of which is on the famous passage in the Proverbs, “The Lord created me in the beginning of all his ways,” wherein he shews that those who | accused Drusius of favouring Arianism were notorious calumniators. The “Anti-barbarus Biblicus” was to have consisted of two parts, each containing three books; the author, however, only published the first part. It was reprinted after his death in 1656, and a fourth book was added, containing the criticism of the Vulgate upon Isaiah and Jeremiah. It is impossible to answer the reasons, by which he shews the necessity of consulting the originals. This he recommended so earnestly, that some synods, being influenced by his reasons, decreed that none should be admitted into the ministry, but such as had a competent knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek text of the scripture. He published also another dissertation, entitled “De Nomine Tetragrammato,” Franeker, 1620, 8vo. When Sixtinuscame to Franeker, drunkenness and debauchery reigned in that university to a very great degree; he tells us, that all the new students were immediately enrolled in the service of Bacchus, and obliged to swear, with certain ceremonies, by a wooden statue of St. Stephen, that they would spend all their money: if any one had more regard to the oath he had taken to the rector of the university than to this bacchanalian oath, he was so persecuted by the other students, that he was obliged either to leave the university, or comply with the rest. Sixtinus contributed greatly to root out this rice, and he inveighed against it with great energy in a public speech made in 1621. He was so much beloved by the people of Friesland, that after his death, they shewed themselves very generous to his children; as Nicholas Amama, who was one of them, acknowledges in the epistle dedicatory to his “Dissertationum Marinarum decas,1651. For one circumstance in the life of Amama, we are indebted to Anthony Wood, who informs us that about the year 1613, he came over to England, and resided for some years at Oxford, in Exeter college, under the patronage of Dr. Prideaux, the rector of that college, afterwards bishop of Worcester. Amarna died in 1629, in the thirty-sixth year of his age, if the date of the birth above assigned, be correct. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. —Foppen Bibl. Belg. whsre there is a more complete catalogue of his works. —Wood’s Athens, vol. I.