Episcopius, Simon

Episcopius, Simon

(ĕpĭskō`pēəs), 1583–1643, Dutch Protestant theologian, whose original name was Biscop, Bischop, or Bisschop. Episcopius accepted the teachings of Jacobus ArminiusArminius, Jacobus
, 1560–1609, Dutch Reformed theologian, whose original name was Jacob Harmensen. He studied at Leiden, Marburg, Geneva, and Basel and in 1588 became a pastor at Amsterdam.
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 and was a leader of the Arminians, or RemonstrantsRemonstrants
, Dutch Protestants, adherents to the ideas of Jacobus Arminius, whose doctrines after his death (1609) were called Arminianism. They were Calvinists but were more liberal and less dogmatic than orthodox Calvinists and diverged from the teachings of the Dutch
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, who opposed the Calvinist conception of predestination. Episcopius represented the Remonstrants at conclaves at The Hague (1611), at Delft (1613), and at the Synod of Dort (1618), where he presented a detailed defense of his position. However, the Calvinist views prevailed, Remonstrant church services were banned, and Episcopius and some other leaders were banished. In exile in the Spanish Netherlands he wrote an Arminian creed (1622). In 1625, upon the death of Prince Maurice of NassauMaurice of Nassau
, 1567–1625, prince of Orange (1618–25); son of William the Silent by Anne of Saxony. He became stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland after the assassination (1584) of his father.
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, the ban was removed, and Episcopius returned (1626) to the Netherlands. Episcopius, in the Institutiones theologicae (1650), established the doctrine of the Remonstrants upon a consistent theological basis. His avowed aim was to present Christianity in a practical aspect and to liberate theology from the excessively rigid limitations of theory and ecclesiasticism.
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