CASELIUS, ca-sê'li-Us, JOHANNES, yo-han'es: German scholar; b. at Göttingen 1533; d. at Helmstädt Apr. 9, 1613. He belonged to the Dutch family of Chessel, which during the Reformation period had emigrated on account of its faith. His father, Matthias Bracht von Chessel, found a refuge at Göttingen and became a teacher there. Johannes studied at Wittenberg under Melanchthon and at Leipsic under Joachim Camerarius. Under their guidance he became one of the most distinguished humanists of Germany; he was made a doctor of law at Pisa in 1566, and was ennobled in 1567 by the emperor Maximilian II. From 1563 to 1589 he labored at Rostock and then accepted a call to Helmstädt. He enjoyed there the favor of his prince, Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick, and the fame of his learning made him a kind of European celebrity. But the orthodox theologians in the university, who opposed Melanchthonianism, soon attacked Caselius. The leader of the orthodox was Professor Daniel Hoffmann, who considered all use of reason and philosophy in theology as dangerous, because the revealed truth is injured thereby. In this and similar tendencies Caselius saw the approach of a new barbarism, and he was not far wrong. He had the encouragement of a few bright pupils, including the young Georg Calixtus, and comforting messages came to him from friends abroad. But unfortunately his material circumstances became more and more wretched, and for this reason his life ended in discord and darkness. In the barbarism which came over Germany with the Thirty Years' War his numerous writings, distinguished by spirited contents and elegant form, were soon almost forgotten. As far as they are printed, they can only be found in larger libraries. They refer to Greek authors, ancient grammar, hermeneutics, and rhetoric, as well as to pedagogics and political science. Caselius was the first to separate political science from the Roman jurisprudence and raise it to a distinct discipline.
For the letters consult: J. a Dransfeld,
Opus epistolicum I. Caselii, Frankfort, 1887; Commercium
literarum clarorum virorum e museo R. A. Noltenii,
Bremen, 1737. See CALIXTUS. Consult: E. L. T. Henke,
Calixtus' Briefwechsel, Halle, 1833; idem, G. Calixtus und
seine Zeit, vol. i., Halle, 1856; ADB, iv. 40 sqq. F. Koldewey has projected a monograph on Caselius, for which
he has access to the best sources.
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