Friedrich Spanheim

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Woodcut of Friedrich Spanheim

Friedrich Spanheim the elder (January 1, 1600, Amberg – May 14, 1649, Leiden) was a Calvinistic theology professor at the University of Leiden.

Amberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Amberg is a town in Bavaria, Germany. It is located in the Upper Palatinate, roughly halfway between Regensburg and Bayreuth. In 2013, over 41,000 people lived in the town.

Leiden City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. The municipality of Leiden had a population of 123,856 in August 2017, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants. The Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) further includes Katwijk in the agglomeration which makes the total population of the Leiden urban agglomeration 270,879, and in the larger Leiden urban area also Teylingen, Noordwijk, and Noordwijkerhout are included with in total 348,868 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Oude Rijn, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.

Calvinism Protestant branch of Christianity

Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.



He entered in 1614 the University of Heidelberg where he studied philology and philosophy, and in 1619 removed to Geneva to study theology. In 1621 he became tutor in the house of Jean de Bonne, Baron de Vitrolle, governor of Embrun in Dauphiné, and after three years he visited Geneva, and Paris, and England, returning to Geneva in 1626 and becoming professor of philosophy. In 1631 he went over to the theological faculty, and was rector of the academy from 1633 to 1637.

Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection between textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics. Philology is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts as well as oral and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning. A person who pursues this kind of study is known as a philologist.

Philosophy intellectual and/or logical study of general and fundamental problems

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.

In 1642 he moved to Leiden as professor of theology. There Spanheim became one of the most prominent defenders of the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination against Amyraldism.

Predestination Theological doctrine

Predestination, in theology, is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the individual soul. Explanations of predestination often seek to address the "paradox of free will", whereby God's omniscience seems incompatible with human free will. In this usage, predestination can be regarded as a form of religious determinism; and usually predeterminism.


Amyraldism is also known as the School of Saumur, post redemptionism, moderate Calvinism, four-point Calvinism, or hypothetical universalism.


He published anonymously, Le Soldat suedois (1633), a history of the Thirty Years' War until 1631 and Le Mercure suisse (1634); Commentaire historique de la vie et de la mort de . . Christofle Vicomte de Dohna (1639).

Thirty Years War War between 1618 and 1648; with over 8 million fatalities

The Thirty Years' War was a war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine, and plague. Casualties were overwhelmingly and disproportionately inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire, most of the rest being battle deaths from various foreign armies. In terms of proportional German casualties and destruction, it was surpassed only by the period January to May 1945; one of its enduring results was 19th-century Pan-Germanism, when it served as an example of the dangers of a divided Germany and became a key justification for the 1871 creation of the German Empire.

His principal theological works are:

Against the Anabaptists he wrote Variae disputationes anti-Anabaptisticae (1643) and Diatribe historica de origine, progressu, sectis et nominibus anabaptistarum (1645; English translation, Englands Warning by Germanies [1] Woe, London, 1646).

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PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "Spanheim, Friedrich, the Elder". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.

Academic offices
Preceded by
Bénédict Turrettini
Giovanni Diodati
Théodore Tronchin
Professor of Theology at the Genevan Academy
With: Giovanni Diodati
Théodore Tronchin
Succeeded by
Giovanni Diodati
Théodore Tronchin
Alexander Morus