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George Calixtus

1586-1656. Early ecumenist. He suffered the fate of many irenic writers in being suspected and rejected by the factions which he sought to reconcile. Born at Medelby in Schleswig, he studied philology, philosophy, and theology at the University of Helmstedt and elsewhere. He became acquainted with the leading Reformers through his travels in Holland, England, and France. In 1614 he was appointed professor of theology in Helmstedt, and became the most influential representative of the school of Melanchthon.* The great aim of his life was to attempt the reconciliation of divided elements in the church by getting rid of unimportant differences and concentrating on the fundamental articles of belief. His books, including Epitome Theologiae, Theologia Moralis, and De Arte Nova Nihusii, aroused the antagonism of Roman Catholics, who felt they were directed against them; but they were also rejected by orthodox Lutherans, who detected in them leanings towards Romanism. The Conference of Thorn* brought him into further difficulties when he was accused of Calvinist leanings. His dispute with the Lutherans (the “Syncretistic Controversy”) lasted for many years.