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Jacobus Arminius (also spelt Jacob Arminius, James Arminius, Jacob Harmenszoon, Jakob Hermann) (1560-1609) was a Dutch Reformed theologian and (until 1603) professor in theology at the University of Leiden. He wrote many books about theological problems.
Arminius was born at Oudewater, Utrecht, on October 10, 1560. Arminius is a Latinized form of Hermannsoon or Hermansen. His father died while Jacobus was an infant, leaving his mother a widow with small children. A priest, Theodorus Aemilius, adopted Jacobus and sent him to school at Utrecht. His mother was slain during the Spanish massacre of Oudewater in 1575. About that year Arminius was sent to study theology at the University of Leiden by the kindness of friends (Rudophus Snellius). He remained at Leiden from 1576 to 1582. His teachers in theology included Lambertus Danaeus, Johannes Drusius, Guillaume Feuguereius, and Johann Kolmann. Kolmann believed and taught that high Calvinism made God both a tyrant and an executioner. Under the influence of these men, Arminius studied with success and had seeds planted that would begin to develop into a theology that would later compete with the dominant Reformed theology of John Calvin. Arminius began studying under Theodore Beza at Geneva in 1582. He was called to pastor at Amsterdam and was ordained in 1588. He was reputed to be a good preacher and faithful pastor. In 1590 he married Lijsbet Reael.
Arminius is best known as the founder of the anti-Calvinistic school in Reformed theology, and thereby lent his name to the antithetical theology to Calvinism - Arminianism. In attempting to defend Calvinistic predestination against the onslaughts of Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert , Arminius began to doubt and changed his own view. He became a professor of theology at Leiden in 1603. Jacobus Arminius died in Leiden on October 19, 1609. The theology of Arminianism was not fully developed during Arminius' time, but was systematized after his death and formalized in the Fife articles of the Remonstrants in 1610. The works of Arminius (in Latin) were published at Leiden in 1629, and at Frankfort in 1631 and 1635. After his death the Synod of Dort(1618-1619) condemned the theology of Arminius and the Arminians in the Fife articles against the Remonstrants.
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, embraced Arminian theology and became its most prominent champion. Today, Methodism remains committed to Arminian theology, and Arminianism itself has become one of the dominant theological systems in the United States.
- Jacobus Arminius - from The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge
- The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1
- The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 2
- The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 3
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