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Wolfgang Fabricius Capito

Wolfgang Fabricius Capito (or Köpfel) (1478 - November 1541), German reformer, was born of humble parentage at Hagenau in Alsace.

He was educated for the medical profession, but also studied law, and applied himself so earnestly to theology that he received the doctorate in that faculty also, and, having joined the Benedictines, taught for some time at Freiburg. He acted for three years as pastor in Bruchsal[?], and was then called to the cathedral church of Basel (1515). Here he made the acquaintance of Zwingli and began to correspond with Luther.

In 1519 he removed to Mainz at the request of Albrecht, archbishop of that city, who soon made him his chancellor. In 1523 he settled at Strassburg, where he remained till his death in November 1541. He had found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the new religion with the old, and from 1524 was one of the leaders of the reformed faith in Strassburg. He took a prominent part in the earlier ecclesiastical transactions of the 16th century, was present at the second conference of Zürich and at the conference of Marburg, and along with Martin Bucer drew up the Confessio Tetrapolitana.

Capito was always more concerned for the "unity of the spirit" than for dogmatic formularies, and from his endeavours to conciliate the Lutheran and Zwinglian parties in regard to the sacraments, he seems to have incurred the suspicions of his own friends; while from his intimacy with Martin Cellarius[?] and other divines of the Socinian school he drew on himself the charge of Arianism.

His principal works were:

  • Institutionum Hebraicarum libri duo
  • Enarrationes in Habacuc et Hoseam Prophetas
  • a life of Oecolampadius and an account of the synod of Berne (1532).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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