Sebastian Castellio

1515-1563. Protestant theologian. Born in Savoy, he went to Geneva as a teacher, having met Calvin in Strasbourg. His disagreements with Calvin concerned several points (for example, the interpretation of Christ's descent into Hades); but Castellio particularly opposed Calvin's doctrine of predestination. Beza suggests there were personal grounds of disagreement also. When plague broke out in Geneva in 1542, Castellio was one of three volunteers-Calvin himself and Peter Blanchett were the two others-who offered to serve as pastor to a hospital treating plague victims. When lots were cast and Castellio was chosen, he refused to go. Calvin wanted to serve, but was prevented by the Senate from doing so. Castellio, piqued because Calvin had not commended his French translation of the NT, attacked some of the Reformed doctrines and insisted that the Song of Songs should be expunged from the canon as impure and obscene. There was, furthermore, ground for suspicion that Castellio had had a hand in some anonymous tracts against Calvin's teaching on predestination and particularly that he was responsible for a treatise published under the name of Martinus Bellius, with the title De non Puniendis Gladio Haereticis, opposing Calvin's view that the state should be responsible for the punishment of heretics. Castellio, who had been forced to leave Geneva and go to Basle, published there elegant French and Latin translations of the Bible.