Blandrata, George

, a man who acquired some fame in the sixteenth century by the shallow pretence of free inquiry, was born in the marquisate of Saluzzo in Italy. He appears to have studied medicine, and for some time practised with reputation, but the various opinions which arose out of the reformation from popery in the beginning of the sixteenth century, having excited his curiosity in no common degree, he determined to try them all, and began with abandoning the principles of popery in which he had been educated, for those of Luther, which he quitted soon after for those of Calvin. Not satisfied with this, he wished to retrace more ancient opinions, embraced those of Arius, then inclined to the doctrines of Paul of Samosata, and finally struck out of his creed all belief in the incarnation and the Trinity, maintaining that Jesus Christ was a mere man, and no more deserving of religious worship than any other man. Stocked with these notions, as well as with his professional knowledge, he had the ambition to propagate the one and practise the other in Germany, Poland, and Transylvania. In Polandhe became physician to the queen of Sigismund Augustus, and having insinuated himself into the good graces of that prince, began to communicate to him his religious opinions, and after some time returned to Italy, where the freedom he took in divulging these occasioned his being shut up in the prison of the inquisition at Pavia. Having, however, contrived to make his escape, he went to Geneva, and became a warm admirer of the opinions of Servetus, who had recently been put to death for oppugning the doctrine of the Trinity. On this, Calvin, after having in vain endeavoured to reclaim him by conference and correspondence, gave him up to justice, which Blandrata escaped by making profession of Calvinism, to which he adhered long enough to reach Poland, where the imposition was detected. At this time, John Sigismund, prince of | Trausylvania, appointed him his physician and being a man of skill he found means to insinuate his principles in the families which employed him. In 1566, at Alba Julia, in the presence of the court, he held a public conference against the Lutherans, which lasted ten days, and ended in bringing over the prince and the nobles of Transylvania to unitarianism. An account of this conference was printed in 1568, 4to, entitled “Brevis enarratio disputationis Albanæ de Deo trino et Christo duplici.” On the death of Sigismund, he came a third time into Poland, and was appointed physician and counsellor to king Stephen Battori; but as he found this monarch unfriendly to his religious tenets, he withdrew himself from the unitarians, for which he was severely censured by Socinus, who hoped to have found him an able assistant, and had invited him to Poland with that view. This was the last of his many changes of opinion; for soon after, a nephew whom he had threatened to disinherit, on account of his attachment to popery, put him to death in a violent quarrel, which perhaps he had provoked for the purpose. This appears to have taken place some time between 1585 and 1592. He gave so little satisfaction to any party, that all considered his death as a judgment on his apostacy. Blandrata’s works are in Sandius’s Anti-Trinitarian library. 1


Gen. Dict.Biog. Univ.