Staphylus, Friedrich

Staphylus, Friedrich, a noted theologian of the middle of the 16th century, born at Osnabruck, in Westphalia, Aug. 17, 1512 (O.S.), and educated at Wittenberg under Luther and Melancthon, became known chiefly as an ambitious and equivocal character, and an active participant in the theological disputes of his time. He was, on the recommendation of Melancthon, made professor of theology in 1546 at the newly founded University of Königsberg, and acquired some reputation as a lecturer; but he signalized himself more especially by his quarrels with Gnapheus (q.v.), and Osiander (q.v.). The former, who was the poorly paid rector of the Königsberg Gymnasium, had ventured to express the opinion that the theological professors might lecture more diligently in view of the generous remuneration they received, and was in consequence made to suffer petty persecutions from the combined influence of the faculty, composed of Staphylus, Herzog, and Osiander, until they succeeded in having him formally deposed from his office, as a teacher of false doctrine, and publicly excommunicated, June 9, 1549. The last, though a foreigner and neither a master nor doctor of divinity, was called by duke Albert of Brandenburg to the first theological chair in the university; and the older professors, conceiving that their own claims were thus ignored, endeavored to bring about his dismissal. Osiander was, however, able to defeat their project, and Staphylus in consequence traveled to Germany. Finding Osiander still in favor on his return, he demanded his own dismissal, which, somewhat to his surprise, was immediately granted; and thereupon he went over to the Roman Catholic Church, giving as his only reasons the disagreements of Lutheran theologians and the dangers impending over Protestants. He became councilor to the bishop of Breslau, and aided in a reform of the clergy, afterwards rendering valuable services in other directions. He established a good school at Neisse, in Silesia. In 1554 he was made imperial councilor, in which capacity he participated in several religious conferences, and contributed much towards the advancement of the Roman Catholic Church of Austria. While retaining that dignity he was called to Bavaria and made curator of the University of Ingolstadt, whose faculty he improved by the appointing of a number of capable professors. His multifarious labors heightened his reputation to such a degree that he was regarded as the superior of Eck in scholarship and devotion to the Church, and he was rewarded by promotion to the doctorate of divinity, though he was a layman and married, and by a donation of a hundred gold crowns in money, accompanied with a polite letter of approval from pope Pius IV himself, to which the emperor Ferdinand added a patent of nobility and duke Albert of Bavaria an estate. He died of consumption, March 5, 1564, and was buried in the Franciscan church at Ingolstadt. The writings of Staphylus were collected by his son Frederick, and published in Latin in 1613 at Ingolstadt. A list of them is given in Kobolt's Gelehrten-Lex. They include works of a polemical character, a Biography of Charles V: — an edition of Diodorus Siculus in Latin, etc. See Nachricht von dem Leben und Schriften, Staphyli, in Strobel's Miscellen (Nuremb. 1778), 1, 3 sq.; Hartknoch, Preussische Kirchen-Hist. (Francf. ad M. and Leips. 1686, 4to); Arnold [Gottfried], Kirchen-u. Ketzer-Hist. (Francf. ad M.), pt. 2, vol. 16, ch. 8, 38 sq.); Salig, Gesch. d. Augsb. Confession bis 1555 (Halle, 1730, 4to); Planck, Gesch. d. Entstehung, Veranderung u. Bildung unseres protest. Lehrbegriffs bis zur Concordien-Formel (Leips. 1796, 8vo), 4, 2, 249 sq.

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