Sturm, Johann

Sturm, Johann, a famous Protestant schoolman, was born at Sleida in 1507, and graduated at Louvain, where he also managed a printing office in connection with Prof. Rudiger Rescius, and published several Greek works. To sell his books, he went to Paris, and while there was invited to deliver public lectures, which he (lid taking dialectics for his subject, and following the method of R. Agricola. At this time, too, he adopted the principles of the Reformation. In 1534 he was commissioned by the king and the bishop of Paris to participate in the efforts then being made to reunite the Protestant and the Romish Church. In 1537 he accepted a call to the Gymnasium of Strasburg. In his new position he advocated a union of classical culture and evangelical piety, the exaltation of the Latin language at the expense of the vernacular, the utter rejection of scholastic methods and quibbles, the simplifying of dialectics, etc. On the opening of the gymnasium in 1538, he was appointed rector for life. Though a Protestant, he retained his friendship for many Roman Catholic scholars, and hoped that the differences between the two communions might be removed an idea frequently expressed by him, e.g. in a criticism of the popish Consiliun de Emendanda Ecclesia, 1538. He possessed rare oratorical and diplomatic abilities, and was accordingly often employed in negotiations and missions by the Strasburg and other Protestant governments, and even by the French king. In 1540 he attended the colloquies of Hagenau and Worms, and in 1541 that of Ratisbon. In 1545 he co operated with other agents of Germany in settling a peace between England and France and afterwards, on the breaking out of the Smalkald war. was engaged in an unsuccessful mission to the court of Francis I to secure help. Sturm, influenced, perhaps, by his personal intimacy with many French Protestants and also with Calvin, inclined to the Reformed rather than to the Lutheran view of the sacrament, while the clergy of Strasburg were decidedly opposed to the Reformed theology. Frequent disputes were the natural consequence, whose bitterness was increased by his persistent care for the fugitive Huguenots that were settled in the city. He also induced the scholarchs to appoint Reformed professors, defended Zanchi, who was charged with being a Calvinist, and by such means excited the persistent hostility of his clerical opponents. He was charged by duke Wolfgang of Zweibrücken with the reorganization of the Gymnasium of Lauenburg in 1564, and two years afterwards obtained for the city of Strasburg the imperial authorization for an academy in accordance with his plans. After this period no cheering incidents marked his life. The theological conflict developed increased fury. Apparently settled by the decision of arbitrators in 1575, it became more virulent than before when Sturm opposed the reception of the Form of Concord. His opponents finally, in 1581, induced the magistracy to deprive him of the rectorate which he had held during forty years. Exasperated by the indignity, he appealed to the Chamber at Spires, but died in 1589, before the case was decided. His plan of instruction became the model for many schools of Germany, and his name has come down to our time among the most honored of his time, no less on account of his noble character than of his learning and far-reaching labors for Protestant education and freedom. See Schmidt, La Vie et les Travaux de Jean Sturm (Strasb. 1855).

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