Sturm, Jacob

Sturm, Jacob, administrator of the government of Strasburg, a statesman and influential promoter of the cause of the Reformation, was born in 1489. His education was largely guided by Wimpfeling, who was an intimate friend of the family, and who preserved him from falling into the toils of, monkish preceptors, and brought him under the influence of the classics instead. In 1505 he was a master of arts, and in 1506 a member of the theological faculty of Freiburg. Renouncing the purpose of becoming a priest, he traveled in different lands, and in 1514 joined the literary association of Strasburg, to cultivate the study of the classics. In 1522 he recommended, for the reformation of the University of Heidelberg, that thorough grammatical instruction should precede the study of the classics; that Agricola's method of logic should be adopted; that more attention should be given to mathematics; and that in theology scholasticism should be replaced by the study of the Holy Scriptures under the guidance of the Church fathers. He became a member of the City Council, and in 1526 chief magistrate, in every position displaying so much ability and character as to occasion the coining of a medal in his honor. He advocated liberty of conscience in religious matters, and recognized neither emperor nor pope as his spiritual head; but he desired, also, that all believers in the Gospel should unite their energies for the common work. As a statesman, he advocated an alliance of the Germans and Swiss, in order that a stronger front might be presented to the Romish powers. At Spires, in 1529, he defended the action of Strasburg in having caused the cessation of the mass in the previous year, and joined the evangelical princes in their protest, besides uniting with Philip of Hesse to prevent the condemnation of the Swiss. He attended the Marburg Colloquy, and in 1530 united with other delegates in presenting the Confessio Tetrapolitana at Augsburg. His endeavors to unite the Saxons and the South Germans were indefatigable, though unsuccessful. He participated in the deliberations which resulted in the Wittenberg Concord of 1536. At this time, too, he was enabled to accomplish the work of establishing a gymnasium at Strasburg, having, in 1528, become a member of the board of scholarchs to whom was committed the direction of public instruction. During the period of the Interim he not only preserved the peace in Strasburg, but also the dignity and freedom of the city. Ie was venerated by all parties, and prominently employed in all the great events of his time and country, having been Strasburg's representative at political and religious convocations no less than ninety-one times between 1525 and 1552. His rich acquaintance with men and events enabled him to afford valuable assistance to his friend Sleidan (q.v.) in the preparation of the latter's great historical work. He died Oct. 30, 1553, leaving behind the reputation of a model Christian patriot. His library was donated to the Strasburg School.

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