Venatorius, Thomas whose real name was Gechauff, takes rank as the earliest Protestant writer in, the department of ethics. He was born about 1488 at Nuremberg, and received a liberal education at several universities. His earliest essay in literature was the publication, in 1514, of the works of Archimedes, and this was followed in 1531 by a metrical translation of the Plutus of Aristophanes and by an issue of Pirkheimer's Anabasis. After completing his university course, he entered the Order of Dominican monks, and in 1520 took up his abode at Nuremberg, where he gave himself zealously to the work of promoting the reformatory movements then rife. He became preacher in the Hospital and the Dominican churches in 1523, and ten years later pastor of the Church of St. James. In 1524 he helped to introduce Osiander's Guten Unterricht . aus gottlicher Schrift; in 1525 he participated in the religious colloquy which determined the case of the Gospel in Nuremberg; and in 1526 he began the issue of that series of theological works for which he is chiefly noted with the book Axiomata Rerum Christianarum. His next work was a Defensio pro Baptismo et Fide Parvulorum, directed against the Anabaptist theories (1527). The most important work of Venatorius is the De Virtute Christiana (1529), in three books. Its starting-point is the Osiandrian idea of faith, SEE OSIANDER, and the line of its argument is to show that faith is the center and sum of Christian virtue and the principle from which springs the performance of all good works. The success of the work was hindered by the dogmatic opposition of Lutheran theology and the author's Osiandrian leanings; but it deserved notice for its real value as well as for the reason that it was unquestionably the earliest independent Protestant essay in the field of ethics. In 1534 Venatorius wrote an Epistola Apologet. de Sola Fide Justificante, etc., which shows that he had come over to the orthodox Lutheran view of justification, though he still continued his relations of friendship with Osiander. After a temporary sojourn at Rothenburg in the interest of the Reformation, in 1544, he returned to his Nuremberg parish, and remained in the exercise of his pastoral-functions and literary labors until he died, Feb. 4, 1551. See Will, Nürnburg. Gelehrten Lexikon, 4:83 sq; and an art. in the Stud. u. Krit. 1850, No. 4; also Herzog, Real- Encyklop. s.v.