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Gáspár Heltai (born as Kaspar Helth)[1] (c. 1490–1574) was a Transylvanian Saxon writer and printer.[2][3] His name possibly derives from the village Heltau (Hungarian: Nagydisznód, today Cisnădie, Romania). Despite being a German native speaker he published many books in Hungarian from his print-shop. The brother of his son-in-law was Ferenc Dávid, Nontrinitarian and Unitarian preacher and the founder of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania.[4].

Gáspár Heltai
Kaspar Helth (Heltai Gáspár).jpg
Kaspar Helth

ca. 1510
Diedca. 1574
Heltai chronica.jpg



He studied at Wittenberg University and he established the first print shop in Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania). He also founded a public bath, a paper mill and the first brewery in the town. He was at the same time a pastor, translator, printer, publisher, writer and businessman. He is considered the first religious reformer of Kolozsvár.[5] He was a great spirit of Hungarian Unitarian[2] Reformation.[6] Together with a group of scholars he produced an almost complete translation[1] of the New Testament into Hungarian.[7] His work marked the first buds of a secular literature in Hungary.[8]

Bonfini translationEdit

Heltai's most voluminous work is his reworking and translation of Antonio Bonfini's Rerum Hungaricum Decades ("Ten Volumes of Hungarian Matters"), which Heltai published in 1575 as Chronica az magyaroknak dolgairól ("Chronicle of the Hungarians’ Past Deeds").[9] The work was printed in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca).[9]


  1. ^ a b Greenslade, S. L. (1975). "The Bible in East-Central Europe". The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 3, the West from the Reformation to the present day. Cambridge University Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-521-29016-3. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  2. ^ a b Kelemen, Miklós (2000). "Short History of the Unitarian Church". Unitarian Church of Hungary. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  3. ^ Burke, Peter. Languages and Communities in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 105–106. ISBN 0-521-53586-7. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  4. ^ 1579. Diary of the judge and townsman (Kolozsvár)
  5. ^ Georg Daniel Teutsch, Helth, Kaspar,Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 11. Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1880, pag. 711–713.
  6. ^ "Introduction by the Rector". Károli Gáspár University of the Hungarian Reformed Church. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  7. ^ "The forerunners of the Hungarian Bible translation". Hungarian Bible Society. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  8. ^ Molnár, Miklós; Anna Magyar (2001). "A Country Under Three Crowns, 1526-1711". A Concise History of Hungary. Cambridge University Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-521-66736-4. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  9. ^ a b "Antonio Bonfini". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05.

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