Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Sebastian Münster

MÜNSTER, Sebastian (14891552), Hebraist, geographer, and mathematician, was born at Ingelheim in the Palatinate in 1489. After studying at Heidelberg and Tübingen, he entered the Franciscan order, but abandoned it for Lutheranism about 1529. Shortly afterwards he was appointed court preacher at Heidelberg, where also he lectured in Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis. From 1536 he taught at Basel, where he died of the plague on 23d May 1552. He was described on his tombstone as the Ezra and the Strabo of the Germans.

Münster, a disciple of Elias Levita, was the first German to edit the Hebrew Bible (2 vols. fol., Basel, 15341535); this edition was accompanied by a new Latin translation and a large number of annotations. He published more than one Hebrew grammar, and was the first to prepare a Grammatica Chaldaica (Basel, 1527). His lexicographical labours included a Dictionarium Chaldaicum (1527) and a Dictionarium Trilingue (Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, 1530). One of Münster's best-known works was a geography book (Cosmographia Universalis, fol., Basel, 1544), which was often reprinted in Latin and frequently translated into German. Among his other writings (for which see the Biogr. Générale) are a treatise on dialling (Horologiographia, Basel, 1531), one on the planetary motions (Organum Uranicum, 1536), and a volume entitled Rudimenta Mathematica (Basel, 1551). The notes on the Old Testament are incorporated in the Critici Sacri.