GRYNAEUS, SIMON (1493–1541), German scholar and theologian of the Reformation, son of Jacob Gryner, a Swabian peasant, was born in 1493 at Vehringen, in Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. He adopted the name Grynaeus from the epithet of Apollo in Virgil. He was a schoolfellow with Melanchthon at Pforzheim, whence he went to the university of Vienna, distinguishing himself there as a Latinist and Grecian. His appointment as rector of a school at Buda was of no long continuance; his views excited the zeal of the Dominicans and he was thrown into prison. Gaining his freedom at the instance of Hungarian magnates, he visited Melanchthon at Wittenberg, and in 1524 became professor of Greek at the university of Heidelberg, being in addition professor of Latin from 1526. His Zwinglian view of the Eucharist disturbed his relations with his Catholic colleagues. From 1526 he had corresponded with Oecolampadius, who in 1529 invited him to Basel, which Erasmus had just left. The university being disorganized, Grynaeus pursued his studies, and in 1531 visited England for research in libraries. A commendatory letter from Erasmus gained him the good offices of Sir Thomas More. He returned to Basel charged with the task of collecting the opinions of continental reformers on the subject of Henry VIII.’s divorce, and was present at the death of Oecolampadius (Nov. 24, 1531). He now, while holding the chair of Greek, was appointed extraordinary professor of theology, and gave exegetical lectures on the New Testament. In 1534 Duke Ulrich called him to Württemberg in aid of the reformation there, as well as for the reconstitution of the university of Tübingen, which he carried out in concert with Ambrosius Blarer of Constanz. Two years later he had an active hand in the so-called First Helvetic Confession (the work of Swiss divines at Basel in January 1536); also in the conferences which urged the Swiss acceptance of the Wittenberg Concord (1536). At the Worms conference (1540) between Catholics and Protestants he was the sole representative of the Swiss churches, being deputed by the authorities of Basel. He was carried off suddenly in his prime by the plague at Basel on the 1st of August 1541. A brilliant scholar, a mediating theologian, and personally of lovable temperament, his influence was great and wisely exercised. Erasmus and Calvin were among his correspondents. His chief works were Latin versions of Plutarch, Aristotle and Chrysostom.
His son Samuel (1539–1599) was professor of jurisprudence at Basel. His nephew Thomas (1512?–1564) was professor at Basel and minister in Baden, and left four distinguished sons of whom Johann Jakob (1540–1617) was a leader in the religious affairs of Basel. The last of the direct descendants of Simon Grynaeus was his namesake Simon (1725–1799), translator into German of French and English anti-deistical works, and author of a version of the Bible in modern German (1776).
See Bayle’s Dictionnaire; W. T. Streuber in Hauck’s Realencyklopädie (1899); and for bibliography, Streuber’s S. Grynaei epistolae (1847). (A. Go.*)