Theodore Beza

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Theodore Beza (Théodore de Bèze or de Besze) (June 24, 1519 – October 13, 1605) was a French Protestant Christian theologian and scholar who played an important role in the early Reformation. A member of the monarchomaque movement who opposed absolute monarchy, he was a disciple of John Calvin and lived most of his life in Switzerland.



Early life

Theodore Beza was born at Vezelay, in Burgundy, France. His father, Pierre de Beze, royal governor of Vezelay, descended from a Burgundian family of distinction; his mother, Marie Bourdelot, was known for her generosity. Beza's father had two brothers; Nicholas, who was member of Parliament at Paris; and Claude, who was abbot of the Cistercian monastery Froimont in the diocese of Beauvais.

Nicholas, who was unmarried, during a visit to Vezelay was so pleased with Theodore that, with the permission of his parents, he took him to Paris to educate him there. From Paris, Theodore was sent to Orléans in December 1528 to receive instruction from the famous German teacher Melchior Wolmar. He was received into Wolmar's house, and the day on which this took place was afterward celebrated as a second birthday.

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