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History of the Christian Church, Volume VII. Modern Christianity. The German Reformation.
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§ 94. The Reformation in Nürnberg.


Priem: Geschichte von Nürnberg, 1874. F Roth: Die Einführung der Reformation in Nürnberg, 1517–28, Würzburg, 1885 (pp. 271).


The imperial cities (Reichsstädte) of the old German Empire, such as Nürnberg, Augsburg, Frankfurt, Strassburg, enjoyed a larger measure of liberty than other cities. They had the sovereignty over their territory, with a constitutional government, and seat and vote in the Diet (Reichstag). They were the centres of intelligence, wealth, and influence. For this reason the Reformation made from the beginning rapid progress in them, though not without commotion and opposition.

Nürnberg (Nuremberg), the most picturesque mediaeval city of Germany, was at that time the metropolis of German commerce, politics, letters, and art, and of an unusual constellation of distinguished men, most of whom sympathized with Erasmus and Luther. Pirkheimer, the Maecenas of Nürnberg (1475–1530), prepared the way, although he afterwards withdrew, like his friend Erasmus and other humanists.753753    See § 74, p. 434 sqq. Albrecht Dürer, the famous painter (1471–1528), admired the heroic stand of Luther at Worms, and lamented his supposed death when removed out of sight; but during the eucharistic controversy he inclined to the view of Zwingli. Hans Sachs (1494–1576), the "Mastersinger" and shoemaker-poet, saluted the "Nightingale" of Wittenberg (1523). Wenzeslaus Link, an Augustinian monk and intimate friend and correspondent of Luther, was sent by Staupitz from Wittenberg to the Augustinian convent at Nürnberg in 1518, and promoted the cause by his popular evangelical sermons. The preachers of the two splendid churches of St. Sebaldus and St. Lorenz followed the movement. The mass was abolished in 1524. The most effective promoters of the Reformation besides Link were Spengler, a layman, and Osiander, the preacher of St. Lorenz.

Lazarus Spengler (1479–1534), secretary of the magistrate, an admirer of Staupitz, wrote an apology of Luther, 1519, and a popular hymn on justification by faith ("Durch Adam’s Fall ist ganz verderbt"), helped to found an evangelical college, and left a confession of faith in his testament which Luther published with a preface, 1535. Joachim Camerarius, on the recommendation of Melanchthon, was called to the new college in 1526, as professor of history and Greek literature, and remained there till 1535, when he was called to the University of Tübingen, and afterwards (1541) to Leipzig.

Andreas Osiander (1498–1552), an able and learned, but opinionated and quarrelsome theologian, preached in St. Lorenz against the Roman Antichrist after 1522, fought as violently against Zwinglianism, married in 1525, attended the colloquy at Marburg, 1529, and the convent at Smalcald, 1537. He published a mechanical Gospel Harmony (1537), at the request of Archbishop Cranmer, who had married his niece (1532). He left Nürnberg in 1549, and became professor of theology at the newly founded university of Königsberg. There he stirred up a bitter theological controversy with the Wittenberg divines by his mystical doctrine of an effective and progressive justification by the indwelling of Christ (1551).

At Nürnberg several Diets were held during the Reformation period, and a temporary peace was concluded between Protestants and Roman Catholics in 1532.



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