Benzelius, Eric

, archbishop of Upsal, was born in Sweden in 1642, at a village called Benzeby, whence he took his name. His parents were of mean condition, but an uncle enabled him to pursue his studies at Upsal, where he was appointed tutor to the children of the count de la Gardie, grand chancellor of the kingdom, He afterwards travelled in Germany, France, and England, and on his return to his country, was appointed professor of history and morals. Having also made great progress in theological studies, he was created doctor of that faculty and appointed professor. In 1677 he was promoted to the bishopric of Strengnes, and in 1700, to the archbishopric of Upsal, which he held until his death, Feb. 17, 1709. He was twice married, and by his first wife had thirteen children, of whom three of the sons became archbishops of Upsal. Benzelius instructed Charles XII. in theological studies, and that prince preserved always a high esteem for him. The archbishop wrote an “Abridgment of Ecclesiastical History,” several dissertations on subjects of theology and ecclesiastical history, and a Latin translation, with notes, of many of the homilies of St. Chrysostom, which he made from manuscripts in the Bodleian library. He had also the superintendance of the edition of the Bible, in the Swedish language, which Charles XII. ordered to be published in 1703, with engravings, and which still bears the name of that monarch. Very few alterations, however, were introduced in this edition, as the divines of the time could not agree on certain disputed passages, and an entire new translation was reserved for the reign of Gustavus III.2


Biog. Universelle, —Moreri.