Johann Reuchlin

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Reuchlin, Johann


Born Feb. 22, 1455, in Pforzheim; died June 30, 1522, in Bad Liebenzell. German humanist.

Reuchlin was an adviser to the Duke of Württemberg. He visited Italy several times and was close to the leaders of what became known as the Platonic Academy (Pico della Mirandola and others). During the last years of his life, he was a professor at the universities of Ingolstadt and Tübingen. Reuchlin was considered to be Germany’s greatest expert in ancient languages—Latin and especially Hebrew and ancient Greek.

In 1509, Reuchlin spoke out against the reactionary Catholic theologians of the University of Cologne, who were demanding the destruction of Hebrew religious books, which he regarded as a source for the study of Christianity. The Dominicans of the university brought about the trial of Reuchlin on a charge of heresy. The struggle that lasted for several years around the “case of the Hebrew books” has become known in history as the Reuchlin controversy. A landmark in the struggle of the humanists in defense of Reuchlin was the Letters of Obscure Men —one of the most brilliant satirical pamphlets of 16th-century pre-Reformation Germany. Reuchlin himself did not agree with the Reformation. He was the author of the satirical comedies Henno and Sergius.

References in periodicals archive ?
did the editing, translating, and annotating, and wrote commentary and introductions--sharing his passion for the writings of the extraordinarily witty and wise Eobanus Hessus (1488-1540), who was hailed as "King of Poets" by Johann Reuchlin in 1514.
The present book addresses a more general readership and should be particularly helpful to students of history who would benefit from close consideration of the leading example of public controversy on the eve of the Reformation, the conflict (1509-21) between the Hebraist Johann Reuchlin and the theologians of the University of Cologne.
Esteemed German Hebraist, Johann Reuchlin, a Christian, vigorously opposed Pfefferkorn's campaign.
Contents: Erika Rummel, "The Reuchlin Affair in Context"; Johann Pfefferkorn, "The Enemy of the Jews" and "The Confessions of the Jews"; Johann Reuchlin, "Report about the Books of the Jews" and "Defence against the Cologne Slanderers.