Caspar Olevianus, the author of A Firm Foundation, was born in 1536, in the ancient German city of Trier. He attended local schools until the age of fourteen, when his parents sent him to the Sorbonne in Paris and then to the faculties of Civil Law at the University of Orleans and Bourges. During these years he joined the underground Protestant movement in France and decided to devote himself to the study and declaration of the Protestant faith.
After receiving his doctorate in Jurisprudence in 1557, he spent the next couple of years practicing law in Trier, studying theology with Calvin in Geneva, and traveling throughout Protestant Switzerland. Upon the urging of Calvin and other Genevan reformers, Olevianus returned to Trier in 1559 as a Protestant evangelist, but strong Roman Catholic opposition frustrated his efforts, and he and his cohorts were soon arrested, imprisoned, and fined. It was only through the intervention of six sympathetic German princes that Olevianus and the other Protestant ringleaders were released and exiled from the city.
In January of 1560 Olevianus proceeded to Heidelberg at the invitation of one of his rescuers, Elector Frederick III of the Palatinate. The elector appointed Olevianus to serve as administrator and instructor in the Sapience College, a pastoral training school, and a short time later as Professor of Dogmatics at the university. When Zacharias Ursinus arrived in late 1561, Olevianus relinquished his academic posts to his new colleague and for the next fifteen years served in Heidelberg as a pastor, church superintendent, theological disputant, and author of a number of treatises and books.