Macalpine, John (DNB00)


MACALPINE, MACCABEUS, MACHABEUS, MACCABE, or MACHABE, JOHN (d. 1557), Scottish reformer and professor of theology at Copenhagen, was descended from the Macalpine family, which held a good position in Scotland (Vindingius, Regia Academia Hauniensis, &c., p. 71; Gerdes, Historia Reformationis, iii. 417). He graduated M.A. at one of the Scottish universities. From 1532 to 1534 he was prior of the Dominican convent of Perth (Parker Lawson, Book of Perth, p. 33). Having imbibed reformation principles, he was summoned to appear before the bishop of Ross at Holyrood House at the same time as Norman Gourlay and David Straiton, who were burned at the stake, 26 Aug. 1534; but along with Alexander Alesius [q. v.] and others, he failed to appear, and sentence was pronounced against them in their absence (Spotiswood, Hist. of Scotland, ed. Russel, i. 131). Macalpine fled to England, where he was entertained by Nicholas Shaxton, bishop of Salisbury (ib.) In England he married Agnes Macheson, who had been exiled from Scotland on account of her religious principles (Vindingius, p. 72), and whose sister, Elizabeth, became the wife of Miles Coverdale [q. v.] From England he ultimately passed over to the continent, and studied either at the university of Wittenberg or at that of Cologne (Nyerup, Almindelicht Litteratur-Lexicon for Danmark, p. 367), and made the acquaintance of the leading German reformers. He obtained the degree of doctor of theology, and assumed the name of Maccabeus or Machabeus. In 1542, at the invitation of Christian III of Denmark, he went to Copenhagen, where he was appointed professor in the university and one of the chaplains to the king. He was one of the four translators of Luther's German version of the Bible into Danish (Maittaire, Annales Typographici, ii. 585). The translation was printed at Copenhagen in folio, with illustrations, in 1550 (copy in the library of the British Museum). Sir David Lindsay [q. v.], during his embassy to Denmark in 1548, visited Machabeus, and Lindsay's ‘Monarchie,’ published in 1553, bears on the title, ‘Imprinted at the command and expensis of Doctor Machabeus in Capmanhovin.’ Possibly Machabeus suggested its publication, but it was doubtless printed at St. Andrews. It was at the request of Machabeus that Christian III of Denmark wrote to Queen Mary of England in 1553 on behalf of Miles Coverdale, who was thereupon permitted to leave England (letters in Foxe, Acts and Monuments, ed. Townsend, vi. 705–7).

Machabeus died at Copenhagen, 6 Dec. 1557, and was buried in the choir of the Church of the Holy Virgin. His wife died 16 Feb. 1589, at the age of eighty-six. Their son, Christian, also a professor in the university of Copenhagen, erected a monument in the church to their memory (inscription in Vindingius, p. 73). He is eulogised in one of the Latin poems forming the ‘De Coronis Martyrum’ of John Johnston (printed in Appendix to M'Crie, Life of Knox).

Machabeus was the author of ‘Themata theologica xiii de quibus disputavit publice’ [Copenhagen], 1554 (Nyerup, Almendilicht-Litteratur Lexicon, p. 367); ‘Themata theologica xiii de traditionibus et ceremoniis humanis in ecclesia’ [Copenhagen], 1556 (ib.); ‘De vera et falsa ecclesia, lib. i.’ (Bale, Script. Brytan., ed. 1557–9, ii. 226); ‘Annot. in Matthæum’ (Albert Thura, Idea Histor. Literatur. Danorum, p. 333); and ‘Enarratio in Deuteronomium’ (Tanner, Bibl. Brit.) ‘Der Professorum Theologiæ zu Copenhagen D. Peter Paladii und Johannis Maccabaei zwei Briefe betreffend das Bedenken von dem Irrthum Andreæ Ossandri, welches sie auf allergnadigsten Befehl I. K. M. Christian III im Jahr 1552 verfasset,’ were republished in ‘Altes und neues von gelehrten Sachsen aus Dännemark,’ vol. i., Copenhagen and Leipzig, 1768. Included in the manuscripts of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is also ‘De conjugio sacerdotum, an liceat sacris initiatis contrahere matrimonium affirmatur autore Johanne Macchabeo Scoto.’

[Laing in App. to vol. i. of Knox's Works; M'Crie's Life of Knox; Brit. Mus. Cat.; authorities mentioned in text.]

T. F. H.