Franck, Sebastian

Franck, Sebastian

(sābäs`tyän frängk), 1499–1542, German religious writer. He was a Roman Catholic priest who came under the influence of the Reformation, but he shortly broke with the Lutherans and for his liberal views expressed in his Chronica (1531) was banished from Strasbourg. He founded printing presses at Ulm and Basel and wrote vigorously, mostly in defense of extremely liberal religious views.

Franck, Sebastian

 

Born Jan. 20, 1499, in Donauwörth; died 1542 or 1543, in Basel. German humanist, philosopher, and historian. Figure in the radical-burgher wing of the Reformation.

In 1528, Franck, a Lutheran pastor, resigned his pastorate and joined the Anabaptists. During the reactionary period that followed the Peasant War of 1524–26, Franck developed a profound sympathy for the common people. He was subjected to continual persecution by both the Catholic and Lutheran camps. Franck first expounded his historical-philosophical views in detail in Chronica: Time Book and Historical Bible (1531). He followed this with other works, including Cosmography (1533), German Chronicle (1538), and Wise Sayings (1541). His views, often contradictory, reflected the influence of German pantheistic mysticism (J Eckhart and J. Tauler), humanist rationalism, and the experience of the Peasant War and the Reformation. Franck opposed religious dogma and any type of church organization, advancing instead the tenets of the “inner word” and “Christ within us.” He offered a generalized picture of the historical development of mankind, and he viewed private property, by which he meant feudal property, as the source of all human misery. He attacked the tyranny of the clergy, princes, and nobles and sought to prove the inevitability of the fall of the powerful, although he was against popular uprisings. Franck exerted a substantial influence on various schools of thought in the post-Reformation era.

REFERENCES

Leven, V. G. “Istoricheskie vzgliady Sebast’iana Franka.” In Srednie Veka. fasc. 6. Moscow, 1955.
Leven, V. G. “Filosofskie vozzreniia Sebast’iana Franka.” Voprosy filosofii, 1958, no. 10.
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Tinsley provides separate chapters analyzing Bayle's articles on five major Protestant reformers (Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and Theodore Beza), six Protestant outsiders (Melchior Hoffman, Sebastian Franck, Sebastian Castellio, Bernardino Ochino, Francesco Stancaro, and Faustus Socinus), and two mutually contrasting Catholics (Desiderius Erasmus and Ignatius Loyola).