DRUSIUS, JOHANNES (Jan van den Driessche): Orientalist and exegete; b. at Audenarde (Oudenaarde; 14 m. s.s.w. of Ghent), in East Flanders, June 28, 1550; d. in Franeker Feb. 12, 1616. He studied Latin and Greek under Peter Dickel at Ghent, and with Cornelius Valerius and Johannes Stadius at Louvain. When his father, Clement van den Driessche, was proscribed in 1567 as a zealous Protestant and had to flee, the son followed him to London where, among others, his teacher was Antoine Rudolphe le Chevalier. In 1572 Drusius became professor of Oriental languages at Oxford. After the Peace of Ghent (1576) had enabled him to return home, he filled the like office at Leyden. In 1585 he accepted a call to Franeker, where he lived as professor of the Hebrew language until his death. His scholarship was recognized wherever unprejudiced judgment was not overcast by theological bias. When a committee was organized in 1596 for the preparation of a new Dutch version of the Bible, Drusius was made a member upon the recommendation of Arminius and Uytenbogaert; but subsequently the committee was obliged to dissolve. In 1600 Drusius was commissioned by the States General to annotate difficult passages of the Old Testament, to which task he devoted himself with great industry, but had often to hear reproaches of tardy progress. He was also attacked by theologians of other opinions for being a friend of Arminius and Uytenbogaert. Even the morality of his family was assailed. Taken all in all, the accusations brought against him by his pupil Sixtinus Amama and others have been shown to be unjust. But in his age of stormy conflicts he passed for an undecided man because, having applied himself with all his might to the advancement of Biblical science, in connection with his investigations he could not admit dogmatic definitions as authoritative. He repeatedly appeals to the “judgment of the Church catholic” against particular churches and ecclesiastical factions, by which he will not suffer himself to be restricted in his scholarly activity. Only a small portion of his notes on the Old Testament appeared in his lifetime; the rest were published by Amama and others, 1617-36. He also wrote comments on the New Testament, containing especially elucidations from the Talmud and rabbinical sources (Franeker, 1612; 2d ed., 1616). His collective works were issued by Amama (10 vols., Arnheim and Amsterdam, 1622-36). Lists of Drusius's numerous writings are to be found in Meursius, Vriemoet, and Nicëron. In the Critica sacra his annotations stand after those of Münster, Fagius, Vatablus, Castalio, and Clarius; they rank among the most important in this great compilation.
Bibliography: A. Curiander, Vitæ operumque Johannis Drusii . . . delineatio et tituli, Franeker, 1616; J. Meursius, Athenæ Batavæ, pp. 252 sqq.. Leyden, 1625; R. Simon, Histoire critique du V. T., p. 499, Paris, 1680; Nicëron, Memoires, xxii. 57-76; G. W. Meyer, Geschichte der Schrifterklärung, iii. 413-414, Göttingen, 1804; F. A. Tholuck, Das akademische Leben des 17. Jahrhunderts, ii. 206, 378, Halle, 1854; L. Diestel, Geschichte des A. T. in der christlichen Kirche, passim, especially pp. 422 sqq., Jena, 1869; ADB, v. 439-440.