Munster, Sebastian

, an eminent German divine and mathematician, was born at Inghelheim in 1489; and, at fourteen commenced his studies at Heidelberg. Two | years after, he entered the convent of the Cordeliers, where he laboured assiduously; yet did not content him self with the studies relating to his profession, but applied himself also to mathematics and cosmography. He was the first who published a “Chaldee Grammar and Lexicon;” and gave the world, a short time after, a “Talmudic Dictionary.” He went afterwards to Basil, and succeeded Pelicanus, of whom he had learned Hebrew, in the professorship of that language. He was one of the first who attached himself to Luther, but meddled little in the controversies of the age, employing his time and attention chiefly to the study of the Hebrew and other Oriental languages, mathematics, and natural philosophy. He published a great number^ of works on these subjects, of which the principal is a Latin version from the Hebrew of all the books of the Old Testament, with learned notes, printed at Basil in 1534 and 1546. This is thought more faithful than the versions of Pagninus and Arias Montanus; and his notes are generally approved, though he dwells a little too long upon the explications of the rabbins. For this version he was called the German Esdras, as he was the German Strabo for an “Universal Cosmography,” in six books, which he printed at Basil in 1550. He published also a treatise on dialling, in fol. 1536, in which is the foundation of the modern art of dialling a translation of Josephus into Latin “Tabulae novae ad geog. Ptolemaei,” “Rudimenta mathematica,” &c. He was a pacific, studious, retired man, and, Dupin allows, one of the most able men that embraced the reformed religion. For this reason Beza and Verheiden have placed him among the heroes of the reformation, although he wrote nothing expressly on the subject. He died at Basil, of the plague, May 23, 1552. 1

1 Dupin. Bezae Iconrs. Verheiden. —Moreri. —Hutton’s Dict. Blount’s Censura. —Saxii Onomast.