Michael Servetus

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Michael Servetus
BirthplaceVillanueva de Sijena, Kingdom of Aragon in Spain
Theologian, Physician, Cartographer, Translator

Servetus, Michael


(Miguel Serveto). Born 1509 or 1511; died Oct. 27, 1553, in Geneva. Spanish thinker, physician, and scholar.

Servetus studied mathematics, geography, law, and medicine in Zaragoza, Toulouse, and Paris. He published Ptolemy’s Geography with commentaries. He discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

Servetus sharply criticized the Christian dogma of the trinity from the standpoint of pantheism. He rejected the doctrines of predestination and “salvation by faith,” criticized the papacy, and engaged in sharp polemics on theological questions with Calvin. He was persecuted by both the Catholics and the Cal-vinists. Servetus expounded his views on philosophy and natural science in The Restoration of Christianity (Restitutio Christianismi), published anonymously in 1553.

Denounced by Calvin, Servetus was arrested by the Inquisition in 1553 in Vienne (Dauphiné). He managed to escape, but on his way to Italy he was seized in Geneva and accused of heresy by the Calvinists. After refusing to renounce his views, he was burned to death. In 1903 the Calvinist church erected a monument in his honor in Geneva.


Budrin, E. M. Servet i ego vremia. Kazan, 1878.
Mikhailovskii, V. Servet i Kal’vin. Moscow, 1883.
Autour de M. Servet et de S. Castellion: Recueil publié, sous la dir. de B. Becker. Haarlem, 1953.
Bainton, R. H. Hunted Heretic: The Life and Death of M. Servetus, 1511–1553. Boston. 1960.
References in periodicals archive ?
Michael Servetus and Giordano Bruno each became ensnared in controversies over the meaning of the Bible.
The restoration of Christianity; an English translation of Christianismi restitutio, 1553 by Michael Servetus (1511-1553).
The latter, frustrated by the difficulty of defining the concept of toleration and the proliferation of studies on it, concentrated her inquiry on the self-serving praises lavished by historians and politicians of the Third Republic on emblematic figures such as Michael Servetus and Sebastian Castellio.
Castellio's Concerning Heretics, occasioned in 1553 by the author's revulsion at the burning of the heretic Michael Servetus earlier that year in Geneva, argued passionately against the notion of heresy and persecution, and proposed that toleration was beneficial to a society.
In 1553, the physician Michael Servetus, who discovered the pulmonary circulation of blood, was burned alive in John Calvin's Geneva for doubting the Trinity.
In what has been called |the sixteenth century's most courageous and most noble plea for tolerance' Castellio protested when dissenter Michael Servetus was burned at the stake in 1553 by John Calvin.
Dibb (theology, Academy of the New Church Theological School) looks to theologians Michael Servetus (1509-53) and Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) to explain who the God is that Christian worship, why they understand him to be the God they think he is, and how they know that their own personal and denominational interpretation of the Bible is accurate and true.
As for the Unitarian Michael Servetus, executed in Calvin's Geneva, Old asserts but that his "errors" were as "detestable" to Protestants in the seventeenth century as they were in the sixteenth century (422).
I pray the ways of Jesus Christ will overcome the philosophies of John Calvin (the man who sanctioned the killing of Michael Servetus by burning but, in the end, settled instead for his beheading).
Saturday at Michael Servetus Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4505 E.