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Lieber, Thomas (Erastus, Thomas)

Born: 1524 AD
Died: 1583 AD, at 59 years of age.

Nationality: German
Categories: Physicians


1524 - Born on September 7th in Baden, Switzerland. Swiss physician and religious controversialist whose name is preserved in Erastianism, a doctrine of church-state relationship that he himself never taught.

1557 - Erastus was invited by the elector Otto Heinrich of the Palatinate to be professor of therapeutics in the new faculty of medicine at the University of Heidelberg.

1568 - He had opposed efforts by Calvinists in the Palatinate to impose the system of church discipline that had been established by John Calvin at Geneva and elsewhere.

1578 - He shared the contemporary belief in witchcraft, which he opposed in his Repetitio disputationis de lamiis seu strigibus (“Repetition of the Disputation Against Witches”), a defense of the use of the death penalty against witches and sorcerers.

1580-1582 - On his return to Basel, he was appointed professor of medicine there and of ethics.

         - When a set of theses was presented at Heidelberg by the English Puritan George Withers, who affirmed both the presbyterian system of church government (assemblies of elected representatives) and the practice of excommunication, Erastus drew up 100 theses (later reduced to 75) to refute him.

1583 - Died on December 31st in Basel.

1589 - His 'Explicatio gravissimae quaestionis . . .' , was reflected by their numerous translations.

         - Erastus also wrote several medical and scientific treatises in which he attacked such popular superstitions as the belief in astrology and in alchemical transmutation of metals.

1643 - The term Erastian evidently came into use first in England; Presbyterians used it as a term of abuse for those who urged state supremacy.


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