Writings

On The Errors of the Trinity. 1531 (trinitatis erroribus)

Context

On the Errors of the Trinity was issued in the summer of 1531, at Hagenau in Alsace. A little book which was destined to start a profound revolution in the religious world. It was written in Latin using expressions easy to comprehend, with thoughts not too well digested or arranged, though its main intention is clear enough, and it shows a remarkable range of reading for a youth. It was put on sale in the Rhine cities, and its influence soon spread far and wide through Switzerland and Germany and into northern Italy; and wherever it was read it won marked attention. Servetus seems naïvely still to have expected that the reformers would actually welcome his contribution to their cause as soon as they took time to reflect on what he had to say; but instead they were thrown into the greatest consternation by it. [know more]

Dialogs On The Trinity.1531

Context

At the request of Oecolampadius, Bucer wrote a refutation of Servetus’s book Trinitatis Erroribus (which, however, he never ventured to publish), and he warned him that though he would not himself do him the least harm, the magistrate would no longer suffer him to stay at Strassburg, nor would he himself intercede with the magistrate in Servetus’s behalf. Servetus therefore returned to Basel, where he had previously made at least a partial living by giving language lessons; and he brought with him a part of the edition of his book to dispose of there or to send on to the book fair at Lyon. Here too he found the feeling against him so intense that he scarcely knew what to expect next. Accordingly he wrote to Oecolampadius offering to leave town if it were thought best, but also saying that he was willing to publish a retraction of what he had written. Indulgence was given him, and the result was that the following spring he brought out another and smaller book, entitled Dialogues on the Trinity; for the dialogue was at that time a favorite form for discussing subjects of every sort.

Ptolemy's Geography

Context

At a time of growing interest in empiricism, Ptolemy's popularity was increasing, and the Trechsel asked Servetus to create a better Ptolemy. This meant that Servetus (writing as Michael Villanovanus) was responsible not only for translating and correcting the text but also for composing entirely new sections to update the work.

Servetus chose to use the Pirkheimer edition as his base but compared it to the oldest Latin and Creek editions he could find in order create a more authentic book. He entitled his edition The Eight Books of the Account of Geography by Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, now for the first time edited according to the translation of Bilabald Pirkhheimer, but compared to the Greek and early editions by Michael Villanoanus: This version was so extensive, so much of an improvement on what had gone before, that there are some who have claimed that Servetus was the father of comparative geography. Ahhough this is probably an overstatement, the 1.536 edition was both the most careful rendition available of Ptolemy's original conception and as exhaustive an ethnological treatise as had been done anywhere.

The Apology against Fuchs. 1536

Context

This is a response by Servetus to the work of Leonard Fuchs Apologia, in defense of his friend, Symphorien Champier, a known Galenist and antiarabist. The study of medicine in these times amounted to little more than the philological interpretation of Greek and Latin texts which were rediscovered during the Renaissance. Many scholars wrote treatises trying to purify the medical concepts of Hippocrates and Galen from the additions and modifications introduced by the Arabs. The sequence of events of the dispute was as follows:

The Syrups. 1537

Context

In Paris 1537 Servetus wrote Syruporum universa ratio. In this work Servetus demonstrated a deep knowledge of the Greek medical works of Galen but as a humanist, he did not hesitate to correct him, if observation proved him wrong. His knowledge of ancient and contemporary works was astonishing --he cites Galen, Hippocrates, Avicenna, Rhazes, Oribaso, Manardus (Giovanni Manardi, 1462-1536), Aristotle, etc. He reversed himself on the teachings of the Arabs, advising a critical approach to their works and did not follow blindly one school or the other. But in the theoretical analysis he supported the Hippocratic physiological and medical concepts. The problem concerned the use of syrups for digestion, called at that time, the "concoction." The Arabs supported the idea that the syrups enhanced the independent vis concotrix, whereas the Hippocratic school, supported by Servetus, followed the idea of the vis medicatrix naturae:

Disceptatio pro-astrologia. 1538

There are no translations available.

Contexto

La astrología todavía gozaba de buena reputación y los límites entre ella y la meteorología no se habían definido claramente. Teólogos como Melanchthon creían en ella y la practicaban, y reyes y príncipes importantes disponían de astrólogos en la corte a los que consultaban antes de tomar decisiones importantes. En sus discursos y en un panfleto publicado sobre el tema, Miguel Servet hizo comentarios irreverentes sobre los académicos médicos de la época, tildándoles de ignorantes por no hacer caso de este tema importante y refiriéndose a ellos como una plaga para la humanidad. Sus colegas de la facultad enfurecieron y le arrastraron ante el Inquisidor por herejía. Como fue absuelto de este cargo, le procesaron ante la Corte Suprema por propugnar la práctica de la adivinación, que estaba prohibida bajo pena de muerte en la hoguera. La Corte ordenó a Miguel Servet que retirara de la circulación su panfleto, que mostrara más respeto por sus colegas y que dejara de dar discursos sobre el tema. En este momento, consideró que ya había disfrutado de suficiente vida académica y decidió irse de parís para empezar a ejercer la medicina.

Biblia Sacra. 1542

Context

In 1542 Servetus appears as the editor of the Bible of Santes Pagnini. The most important disciplines in this period were theology and medicine. Theology was studied through the Bible in the Latin translation and the texts of Galen in the Arabic translation were the basis for medicine. There were several editions of Bible translations including the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, the publication of which was coordi­nated by Cardinal Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros in cooperation with the most distinguished scholars in Europe such as Nebrija, Vergara, Coronel y Lopez de Zuñiga in Spain, Eras­mus in Holland, Calvin in Geneva,

Christianismi Restitutio. 1553

Context

Servetus again felt driven to publish his views for wide reading, and he was the more strongly impelled to do this because he was convinced by a passage of Scripture that the kingdom of Antichrist (the Papacy) was to come to an end in 1585, and he had the conviction that he himself was the Michael who it was foretold was to put the great dragon under his feet. A Basel printer friend of his to whom Servetus offered the manuscript dared not print it, but at length after much difficulty, and by paying a large bonus, he got it printed in great secrecy in a vacant house in Vienne, of course with no indication of place, printer, or author; though he could not resist the temptation to put his own initials at the end, and to insert his name in several places in the text. This work was entitled The Restoration of Christianity (Christianismi Restitutio).

Other works

Among other works he published there may have been an edition of the Summa of Thomas Aquinas in Spanish, but no exemplar has been found and it is not known where it might have been published; also, there were various treatises on grammar trans­lated from the Latin into Spanish. This information was given by Jean Frellon, a bookseller from Lyon, in his declaration of May 23, 1553. It is interesting that he published a Hebrew lexicon and perhaps an edition of the Koran in Arabic