Montanus, Benedict Arias

, a very learned Spaniard, was born at Frexenel, in Estremadura, in 1527, and was the son of a notary. He studied in the university of Alcala, where he made great proficiency in the learned languages. Having taken the habit of the Benedictines, he accompanied, in 1562, the bishop of Segovia to the council of Trent, where he first laid the foundation of his celebrity. On his return to Spain, he retired to a hermitage situated on the top of a rock, near Aracena, where it was his intention to have devoted his life to meditation, but Philip It. persuaded him to leave this retreat, and become editor of a new Polyglot, which was to be printed by Christopher Plantin at Antwerp. On this employment he spent four years, from 1568 to 1572, and accomplished this great work in 8 volumes folio. The types were cast by the celebrated William Lebe, whom Plantin had invited from Paris for this purpose. This Polyglot, besides what is given in the Alcala Bible, contains the Chaldaic paraphrases, a Syriac version of the New Testament, in Syriac and Hebrew characters, with a Latin translation, &c. While Montanus was beginning to enjoy the reputation to which his labours in this work so well entitled him, Leo de Castro, professor of oriental languages at Salamanca, accused him before the inquisitions of Rome and Spain, as having altered the text of the holy Scriptures, and confirmed the prejudices of the Jews by his Chaldaic paraphrases. In consequence of this, Montanus was obliged to take several journies to Rome, to justify himself, which he did in the most satisfactory manner. Being thus restored, Philip II. offered him a bishopric; but he preferred his former retirement in the hermitage at Aracena, where he hoped to finish his days. There he constructed a winter and a summer habitation, and laid out a pleasant garden, &c. but had scarcely accomplished these comforts, when Philip II. again solicited him to return to the world, and accept the office of librarian to the Escurial, and teach the oriental languages. At length he was permitted to retire to Seville, where he died in 1598, aged seventy-one.

Arias was one of the most learned divines of the sixteenth century. He was a master of the Hebrew, Chaldaic, Syriac, Arabic, and Greek and Latin languages, and spoke fluently in German, French, and Portuguese. He was sober, modest, pious, and indefatigable. His company was sought by the learned, the great, and the pious; and his | conversation was always edifying. Besides the Antwerp Polyglot, he was the author of, 1. “Index correctorius Lib. Theologicorum, Catholici regis anthoritate editus,Antwerp, 1571, 4to. 2. “Commentaria in duodecim prophetas minores,” ibid. 1571, 4to; reprinted 1582. 3. “Elucidationes in quatuor Evangelia & in Act. Apost.” ibid. 1575, 4to. 4. “Elucidationes in omnia S. S. apostolorum scripta, &c.” ibid. 1588, 4to. 5. “De optimo imperio, sive in Librum Josue commentarius,” ibid. 1583. 6. “De varia Republica, sive Comment, in librum Judicum,” ibid. 1592, 4to. 7. “Antiquitatum Judaicarum, lib. novem,Leyden, 1593. 8. “Liber generationis et regenerationis Adam, sive historia generis humani,Antwerp, 1593, 4to; a second’ part in 1601. y. “Davidis, aliorumque Psalmi ex Heb. in Lat. carmen conversi,” ibid. 1574, 4to. 10. “Conimentarii in triginta priores Psalmos,” ibid. 1605: with a few other works enumerated by Antonio and Niceron. 1


Antonio Bibl. Hisp. Biog. Universelle y in Arias. Dupio. —Niceron, vol. XXVIIIFoppen Bibl. Belg.Saxii Onomasticon.