Scaliger, Joseph Justus

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Scaliger, Joseph Justus

Joseph Justus Scaliger (skăl´Ĭjər), 1540–1609, French classical scholar. He was the son of Julius Caesar Scaliger, from whom he acquired his early mastery of Latin. He adopted Protestantism in 1562, served as companion of a Poitevin noble (1563–70), studied under Cujas at Valence (1570–72), and was professor of philosophy at Geneva (1572–74). After 1593 he held a research professorship at Leiden. Renowned in his own day for his erudition, he was learned in mathematics, philosophy, and many languages, and he was a promoter of scientific methods for textual criticism and the study of the classics. His De emendatione temporum [on the correction of chronology] (1583) surveyed all the ways then known of measuring time, and placed the study of ancient calendars and dates on a scientific basis. He discovered and restored the content of the lost original of the second book of Eusebius' chronicle. The chronological foundation for the modern study of ancient history was summed up in his Thesaurus temporum [repertory of dates] (1606). A brief autobiography, extending to 1594, supplemented by a selection from his letters, was edited and translated by G. W. Robinson (1927).

See biography by J. Bernays (1885, repr. 1965).

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