Johannes Bugenhagen was born in the Wollin Islands, Germany. Ordained a priest at age 24, he determined to reform the church after reading works of Erasmus. Realizing the futility of attempting drastic change from within, he joined with Martin Luther and became one of his staunchest allies. Bugenhagen supported Luther in translating the Bible into High German. Bugenhagen published his own translation of the scriptures into Low German in 1533. He also organized Lutheran churches in northern Germany and Denmark.
Theodore Beza was born at Vezelay, France. At age 29, he renounced Catholicism for Calvinism, and publicly remarried Claudine Benosee, whom he had secretly wed earlier. At Calvin's invitation, Beza became professor of Greek at Lausanne, Switzerland, serving from 1549-1558. Upon Calvin's death, Beza was the acknowledged leader of the Swiss Calvinists. In 1565 he published his first critical edition of the Greek New Testament.
John of the Cross, mystic and poet, was born at Fontiveros, Spain. After training with the Jesuits, he became a Carmelite and sought to reform the order, for which he was imprisoned. He died in 1591. The most famous of John's works is "Dark Night of the Soul" one of the loveliest spiritual canticles ever written.
Johann Albrecht Bengel was born at Winnenden, Germany. A pastor's son, Bengel entered the University of T?bingen in 1703, where he devoted himself to the study of the Scriptures, though he was also interested in philosophy. He entered the Lutheran ministry in 1707 as vicar at Metzingen, after which he became a professor at the seminary of Denkendorf (1713-1741) followed by other schools. As a student, he had been confused about variant readings in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, so he studied that subject. His famous rule for choosing between textual variants was "The more difficult reading is to be preferred." (It was more likely that a scribe would change from a difficult reading to an easier one than vice-versa.) His most important work was a critical edition of the New Testament (1734), which marks the beginning of modern textual criticism.