Michael Servetus

Servetus, Michael (1511-1553)

Servetus, or Miguel Serveto, was a Christian theologian. He was born in Spain, studied at Saragossa, Toulouse, and Paris. He turned from medicine, which he practiced intermittently during his life. During his travels he met Bucer and possibly other Anabaptist leaders. In this connection his theological interest led him to produce De Trinitatis Erroribus (1531, On the Erroneous Understanding of the Trinity), in which he argued that the Son and Holy Spirit are modes through which God manifests himself in creation, redemption, and sanctification, and that the Trinity is not composed of «persons.» He reiterated these arguments in his Christianisimi Restitutio (1546, The Restoration of Christianity), by which time he also argued against predestination and infant baptism. Initially he was arrested by the Inquisition, then when escaping to Geneva by the Protestants. He was convicted and burnt to death. His death provoked debate concerning tolerance. A.G.H.


Bowker, John. ed. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. New York. Oxford University Press. 1997. p. 877