Caspar Olevian

Caspar Olevian on a copper pass from that 16. Century

Caspar Olevian, also Kaspar Olevianus (* 10. August 1536 in Trier; † 15. March 1587 in Herborn) is considered as one of the most important representatives of the reformation in Germany.

After the studythe jurisprudence becomes acquainted with Olevian in Geneva Johannes Calvin . Caspar Olevian was since 1584 ministers and a professor for dogma TIC in Herborn. Before he worked on the introduction of the Heidelberger Katechismus and is considered as one the founder of German reformed theology. In the summer 1589 beginsit to hold reformatorische lectures is however already expelled after short time by the archbishop from Trier.

Friedrich III. of the Pfalz appoints Olevian as the teacher for church dogma TIC at the University of Heidelberg and as the director/conductor of the Predigerseminars. Its largest work develops here: it is that Heidelberger Katechismus, which he writes together with Zacharias Ursinus.

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Geburtshaus Caspar Olevian
birth house Caspar Olevian

Caspar Olevian is considered as one the most important Reformatoren in Germany. It became to 10. August 1536 as a son oneBäckers, Zunftmeisters, Ratsherrn und städtischen Rentmeisters in Trier geboren. Its nut/mother was daughter of a butcher guild master and an advice gentleman. The father derived the name Olevian from the today's Trierer quarter oil TIG, from which the family originally originated. Caspar Olevian visited different schools in Trier. With only13 years left it the city; it was sent for further training to Paris to the upper classes of the High School and the study of the Artes. Later it studied in Orléans and Bourges jurisprudence, where it 1557 under the civil practice lawyer Franciscus Duarenus to the Dr. juris attained a doctorate.

Duringthe academic years of Caspar Olevian experienced the French protest anti-mash his early large propagation and his first organization stage in secret municipalities. In Bourges also the life adjustment finds its reason of Caspar Olevian, here it in the spirit of the Calvinismus was coined/shaped and durably aligned. The studentOlevian became there Evangelist in a secret Huguenot municipality. Also two of its professors were personally Protestanten, its doctor father Duarenus with adjustment to dominant catholic conditions.

1556 were Caspar Olevian in large danger. Over-courageous students had on a river in close proximity to Bourges theirPunt brought to the Kentern and thereby all had drowned. Caspar Olevian, which had observed from the bank the accident, was with the attempt to render help even in danger turned out. In death emergency praised it, itself also the study of theology and the propagation of the gospelto dedicate, if he got off the life.

Because of this Gelübdes Caspar Olevian decided to prepare in Switzerland for the reformatorische office for lecture and take up a theology study. In March 1558 it traveled for this purpose over Strasbourg to Geneva, where it with CalvinTheology heard. Because of Calvins illness it to the Schola Carolina changed to Zurich to Peter Martyr Vermigli, in Zurich heard it also Heinrich Bullinger, in Lausanne was it pupil of Theodor Beza.

In June 1559 it returned to Trier. Of the advicethe city it was adjusted first formally as a latin teacher and informed to the Burse. Later it furnished a German Katechismus instruction and increased starting from August 1559 than public Prediger by its strong occurrence and its dragging along Evangelist lecture the inlet to first still the smallEvangelist municipality at the place enormously, so that within short time for instance a third of the population of the city Trier ranked among the municipality.

Still in the same year Trier fell on operation of the Erzbischoft Johann VI. of the Leyen to the catholic side. A majority of the advice howthe guilds of the city Caspar Olevian forbade the lecture in urban areas, however not at other place. Such a prohibition was expressed however by the advice of the archbishop and cure prince of Trier and justified thereby, Trier was not a realm city, the regulations Augsburger of the confessional peacefrom 1555 (“cuius regio eius religio “) would therefore not apply to the city and its municipal authorities. The realm court confirmed this argumentation later.

Some Trierer Protestanten, among them also Caspar Olevian, was imprisoned-set in this time and released only after they had praised,to return either to the legal catholic faith or but to leave the city. Many avowed to want again catholic to become a not small number of citizens emigrated. The reformation in Trier had failed thereby.

Also Caspar Olevian left the city after zehnwöchiger detention. It followeda call of the cure prince Friedrich III. of the Pfalz (1559-1576) to Heidelberg, where it first at the Collegium Sapientiae, a kind Predigerseminar, when teacher was employed. 1560 he took over briefly a Theologieprofessur at the university, gave this place up however, because it more his kindcorresponded to stand in the practical church service. Caspar Olevian worked then as a city minister at the Peter church and later at the holy spirit church, as well as Hofprediger. The cure prince gave him his full confidence and appointed him as the member of the 1562 of newly established church advice. From this positionit was considerably in the re-organization of the pfälzischen church nature after reform calvinistischen principles involved, as well as in in January 1563 Heidelberger Katechismus appeared. Also at the reformed church order for the Kurpfalz (November 1563) with their presbyterial synodalen elements beside the nationalwonderful Konsistorium, with their new practiceand controlled strict regulations of the church breed supervised to the communion from division and particularly with their of the Presbyterium instead of of the nationalwonderful Polizeigewalt participated it crucially. As influential trusted friends of the pfälzischen cure prince it traveled with this to the religion discussions to Maulbronn (1564), to Oppenheim (1565) andin Amberg in the Upper Palatinate (1566).

1561 had already married Caspar Olevian the widow Philippine of Metz. From the marriage three children followed, two sons and a daughter.

After the death of the decidedly calvinistischen Friedrich III. in the autumn 1576 and the accession of its lutherischenSon Ludwig VI. (1576-1583) Caspar Olevian Heidelberg had to leave. He found 1577 admission to yards of the count Ludwig von Sayn Wittgenstein in Berleburg, where he led the education of the sons of the count. From Berleburg it exerted influence on the continuation of the reformation in thatCounty as until in the nearby nassauischen principalities and counties of the Wetterau Solms Braunfels and Wied. Thus he wrote a “Bauernkatechismus” co-ordinated with the needs of the land people in those years and took part engaged in meetings and Synoden.

1584 appointed it count Johann VI.from Nassau Dillenburg into its territory and the establishment of a high school in Herborn entrusted to it , which developed still in the same year. Caspar Olevian became their first rector and was, beside Johannes Piscator, their prominent theologian. A last high point in the life of Caspar Olevianwas the Herborner Generalsynode 1586, which he led and on that the reformed churches of Nassau Dillenburg, joke gene stone, Solms Braunfels and Wied Runkel were represented. Those altogether 26 theologians united to a over-territorial church, overcame thus for the first time in Germany excluding a territorial character of a reformatorischen churchand decided after long and violent arguments for a church condition, which a combination from presbyterialen and to konsistorialen elements represented.

Also Caspar Olevian überwandt in the course of its life many borders: Only the condition border from the baker son to the studying, then the language border from the French to the German,the faculty border from the jurisprudence to theology and above all the denomination border from the catholicism to the protest anti-mash. This open-mindedness to the new and the search for the truth on the side and accepting borders by referring positions on the other sidefeatures are Caspar Olevians. Thus it made itself - as one the most important Reformatoren Germany - for the people church the signpost/guide of the Ökumene of the today's time.

Caspar Olevian died to 15. March 1587 at the consequences of an accident, which it already to 30. December 1586had suffered. Olevian was with a patient attendance on a frozen-over way several times hard down-pleases and thereby heavy internal injuries off had carried to recognize one at that time neither nor to treat knew. Its last word became famous: On the question of its colleague Ulsted whether italso its welfare, answered he is certain “Certissimus”. To 18. March 1587 was buried Caspar Olevian in the town church in Herborn.


as Dogmatiker continued to develop further Caspar Olevian the federation (Föderal), taken over of Heinrich Bullinger, theology and made in its Hauptwerk “De substantiafoederis gratuiti inter Deum et electos " (1585) the thoughts of a federation of God with humans on the basis of its Biblical understanding. He understood the entire history of God with mankind under this sign: With Adam God agreed upon a natural federation (foedus naturae), that humansby the sin it would have broken on which God had closed and by the death of its son had sealed a new federation, with them a grace federation. Core of this grace federation is choosing of humans, by it welfare certainty is mediated, in it becomes God rule - the realm of God -carried out. Caspar Olevian connected the grace federation of God with the realm of God, and he explained, like the certainty of the welfare, to the affiliation to the realm of God, which one awards to humans: by the progressive faith and by the outside means of the visible church, the word in thatLecture and the Sakramente.

The Exegese the Bible Caspar Olevian tried only to small extent, so for instance the Paulusbriefen. In it it differs from its teachers Calvin and Bullinger, when its most important pupil in Germany must be regarded it.

Work on []


  • general one German biography, volume 24 page 286
  • new German biography, volume 19 page 519
  • material encyclopedia for Protestant theology and church, volume 14 page 358 and volume 24 page 292
  • entry (inclusive Literature data) in the biographic-bibliographic church encyclopedia (BBKL)
  • theological material encyclopedia, volume25, page 237-239
  • K. Southhope: C.O. and Z. Ursinus. Life and. ausgew. Writings of the fathers and. Founder of the reformed church B. Elberfeld 1857
  • F. W. Cuno: We know O. with good reason as co-authors of the Heidetb. Katechismus beside Ursinus place? (Church newspaper reformed 25, 1902, pages 212-214;220—222).
  • K. Ney: The reformation in Trier and their suppression (writings of the association for reformation history 88/89), 1905/06
  • K. Knodt: Letters of C.O. (Theological studies and criticisms 79, 1906, page 628-634)
  • K.E. Riedesel: Church order and the training of the reformed denomination (joke gene stone 69, 1981, page 82-94)

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| | * Literature of and over Caspar Olevian in the catalog of the DDB



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