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Wolfgang Fabricius Capito (or Köpfel) (1478 – November 1541) was an Alsatian religious reformer.
His life and work
He was educated for the medical profession but also studied law and applied himself so earnestly to theology that he received the doctorate in that faculty also. Having joined the Benedictines, taught for some time at Freiburg. He acted for three years as pastor in Bruchsal, and was then called to the cathedral church of Basel (1515). Here he made the acquaintance of Zwingli and began to correspond with Luther.
In 1519. he removed to Mainz at the request of Albrecht, archbishop of that city, who soon made him his chancellor. In 1523 he settled at Strasbourg, where he remained until his death in November 1541. He had found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the new religion with the old, and from 1524 was one of the leaders of the reformed faith in Strasbourg. He took a prominent part in the earlier ecclesiastical transactions of the 16th century, was present at the second conference of Zürich and at the conference of Marburg, and along with Martin Bucer drew up the Confessio Tetrapolitana.
Capito was always more concerned for the "unity of the spirit" than for dogmatic formularies, and from his endeavours to conciliate the Lutheran and Zwinglian parties in regard to the sacraments, he seems to have incurred the suspicions of his own friends; while from his intimacy with Martin Cellarius and other divines of the Socinian school he drew on himself the charge of Arianism.
Capito died in Strasbourg.
His principal works were:
- Institutionum Hebraicarum libri duo;
- Enarrationes in Habacuc et Hoseam Prophetas;
- a life of Oecolampadius and an account of the synod of Berne (1532);
- a Greek version of the Iliad in which he refers to himself as volfivs cephalaevs or wolfius cephalaeus
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.