Vatablus, Francis,

an eminent Hebrew scholar, was born at Gamache in Picardy, in the early part of the sixteenth century. In 1531 he was appointed regius professor of Hebrew in the university of Paris, one of the royal professorships at that time founded by Francis I. and in this office gained the highest reputation. Among his hearers were many learned Jews, who much admired his lectures, which were all delivered extempore, nor does he appear to have committed any of them to writing. Some of his scholars, however, having taken notes of his observations on the Old Testament, Robert Stephens made a collection of them, which he added to Leo Juda’s version of the Bible, printed at Paris in 1545. Of their accuracy no doubts have been entertained, although Stephens probably might correct what he thought the errors of the transcribers. Yet as a protestant translation was joined to them, the doctors of divinity of the faculty of Paris condemned them, while those of Salamanca, with more liberality, caused Vatablus’s Bible, for such it was called, to be reprinted in Spain with approbation. Stephens wrote a defence of it against the censures of the Parisian divines, who, Dupin allows, were at that time not sufficiently acquainted with the Hebrew language.

Vatablus was an excellent Greek scholar, and translated some parts of Aristotle’s works. He also assisted Clement Marot in his poetical translation of the Psalms, by giving him a literal version from the Hebrew. He had the credit of being the restorer of the study of the Hebrew language in France, and taught many able scholars, particularly Brentius and Mercerus (see Mercier), who both succeeded him in his professorship. He died March 16, 1547. 1


Dupin. Blount’s Censura. —Saxii Onomast,