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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bucer, Martin

BUCER (or BUTZER), MARTIN (1491-1551), German Protestant reformer, was born in 1491 at Schlettstadt in Alsace. In 1506 he entered the Dominican order, and was sent to study at Heidelberg. There he became acquainted with the works of Erasmus and Luther, and was present at a disputation of the latter with some of the Romanist doctors. He became a convert to the reformed opinions, abandoned his order by papal dispensation in 1521, and soon afterwards married a nun. In 1522 he was pastor at Landstuhl in the palatinate, and travelled hither and thither propagating the reformed doctrine. After his excommunication in 1523 he made his headquarters at Strassburg, where he succeeded Matthew Zell. Henry VIII of England asked his advice in connexion with the divorce from Catherine of Aragon. On the question of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Bucer's opinions were decidedly Zwinglian, but he was anxious to maintain church unity with the Lutheran party, and constantly endeavoured, especially after Zwingli's death, to formulate a statement of belief that would unite Lutheran, south German and Swiss reformers. Hence the charge of ambiguity and obscurity which has been laid against him. In 1548 he was sent for to Augsburg to sign the agreement, called the Interim, between the Catholics and Protestants. His stout opposition to this project exposed him to many difficulties, and he was glad to accept Cranmer's invitation to make his home in England. On his arrival in 1549 he was appointed regius professor of divinity at Cambridge. Edward VI. and the protector Somerset showed him much favour and he was consulted as to the revision of the Book of Common Prayer. But on the 27th of February 1551 he died, and was buried in the university church, with great state. In 1557, by Mary's commissioners, his body was dug up and burnt, and his tomb demolished; it was subsequently reconstructed by order of Elizabeth. Bucer is said to have written ninety-six treatises, among them a translation and exposition of the Psalms and a work Deregno Christi. His name is familiar in English literature from the use made of his doctrines by Milton in his divorce treatises.

A collected edition of his writings has never been published. A volume known as the Tomus Anglicanus (Basel, 1577) contains those written in England. See J.W. Baum, Capito and Butzer (Strassburg, 1860); A. Erichson, Martin Butzer (1891); and the articles in the Dict. Nat. Biog. (by A.W. Ward), and in Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopädie (by Paul Grünberg).

BUCH, CHRISTIAN LEOPOLD von, BARON (1774–1853), German geologist and geographer, a member of an ancient and noble Prussian family, was born at Stolpe in Pomerania on the 26th of April 1774. In 1790-1793 he studied at the mining school of Freiberg under Werner, one of his fellow-students there being Alexander von Humboldt. He afterwards completed his education at the universities of Halle and Göttingen. His Versuch einer mineralogischen Beschreibung von Landeck (Breslau, 1797) was translated into French (Paris, 1805), and into English as Attempt at a Mineralogical Description of Landeck (Edinburgh, 1810); he also published in 1802 Entwurf einer geognostischen Beschreibung von Schlesien (Geognostische Beobachtungen auf Reisen durch Deutschland und Italien, Band i.). He was at this time a zealous upholder of the Neptunian theory of his illustrious master. In 1797 he met Humboldt at Salzburg, and with him explored the geological formations of Styria, and the adjoining Alps. In the spring of the following year, von Buch extended his excursions into Italy, where his faith in the Neptunian theory was shaken. In his previous works he had advocated the aqueous origin of basaltic and other formations. In 1799 he paid his first visit to Vesuvius, and again in 1805 he returned to study the volcano, accompanied by Humboldt and Gay Lussac. They had the good fortune to witness a remarkable eruption, which supplied von Buch with data for refuting many erroneous ideas then entertained regarding volcanoes. In 1802 he had explored the extinct volcanoes of Auvergne. The aspect of the Puy de Dôme, with its cone of trachyte and its strata of basaltic lava, induced him to abandon as untenable the doctrines of Werner on the formation of these rocks. The scientific results of his investigations he embodied in his Geognostische Beobachtungen auf Reisen durch Deutschland und Italien (Berlin, 1802-1809). From the south of Europe von Buch repaired to the north, and spent two years among the Scandinavian islands, making many important observations on the geography of plants, on climatology and on geology. He showed that many of the erratic blocks on the North German plains must have come from Scandinavia. He also established the fact that the whole of Sweden is slowly but continuously rising above the level of the sea from Frederikshald to Abo. The details of these discoveries are given in his Reise durch Norwegen und Lappland (Berlin, 1810). In 1815 he visited the Canary Islands in company with Christian Smith, the Norwegian botanist. His observations here convinced him that these and other islands of the Atlantic owed their existence to volcanic action of the most intense kind, and that the groups of islands in the South Sea are the remains of a pre-existing continent. The physical description of the Canary Islands was published at Berlin in 1825, and this work alone is regarded as an enduring monument of his labours. After leaving the Canaries von Buch proceeded to the Hebrides and the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Palaeontology also claimed his attention, and he described in 1831 and later years a number of Cephalopods, Brachiopods and Cystidea, and pointed out their stratigraphical importance. In addition to the works already mentioned von Buch published in 1832 the magnificent Geological Map of Germany (42 sheets, Berlin). His geological excursions were continued without interruption till his 78th year. Eight months before his death he visited