Murner, Thomas

Murner, Thomas

(tō`mäs mo͝or`nər), 1475–1537, German satirist and Franciscan monk, b. Strasbourg. He was the most scurrilous writer of his time and spared almost no one in his satire. He attacked the clergy, even his own order, but when the Reformation became more radical, Murner turned against Luther. His most celebrated work is the pamphlet Von dem grossen Lutherischen Narren: wie ihn Doktor Murner beschworen hat [on the great Lutheran fool: how Dr. Murner exorcised him]. Murner's other works were inspired by Sebastian Brant's Narrenschiff [ship of fools] (1494).
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Murner, Thomas


Born Dec. 24(7), 1475, in Oberehnheim; died there circa Aug. 23, 1537. German satirist.

Murner studied law and theology, later becoming the abbot of a Franciscan monastery. In his satirical poems The Rogues’ Guild (1512) and The Fools’ Oath (1512), he ridiculed, in the style of S. Brant, bribe-taking lawyers, marauding knights, and the enemies of Germany’s unification: princes and the self-interested and dissolute clergy. Murner sympathetically depicted the plight of the German peasants.

Murner’s style is distinguished by his fine command of the German vernacular, his vivid descriptions, and the great versatility and ease of his verse. During the Reformation, Murner remained faithful to Catholicism, satirizing M. Luther in his About the Great Lutheran Fool (1522).


Narrenbeschworung. Halle an der Saale, 1967.
Schelmenzunft. Halle an der Saale, 1968.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1, Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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