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Cochlaeus, Johann

COCHLAEUS, JOHANN (1479-1552), German humanist and controversialist, whose family name was Dobneck, was born of poor parents in 1479 at Wendelstein (near Nuremberg), whence his friends gave him the punning surname Cochlaeus (spiral), for which he occasionally substituted Wendelstinus. Having received some education at Nuremberg from the humanist Heinrich Grieninger, he entered (1504) the university of Cologne. In 1507 he graduated, and published under the name of Wendelstein his first piece, In musicam exhortatorium. He left Cologne (May 1510) to become schoolmaster at Nuremberg, where he brought out several school manuals. In 1515 he was at Bologna, hearing (with disgust) Eck's famous disputation against usury, and associating with Ulrich von Hutten and humanists. He took his doctor's degree at Ferrara (1517), and spent some time in Rome, where he was ordained priest. In 1520 he became dean of the Liebfrauenkirche at Frankfort, where he first entered the lists as a controversialist against the party of Luther, developing that bitter hatred to the Reformation which animated his forceful but shallow ascription of the movement to the meanest motives, due to a quarrel between the Dominicans and Augustinians. Luther would not meet him in discussion at Mainz in 1521. He was present at the diets of Worms, Regensburg, Spires and Augsburg. The peasants' war drove him from Frankfort; he obtained (1526) a canonry at Mainz; in 1529 he became secretary to Duke George of Saxony, at Dresden and Meissen. The death of his patron (1539) compelled him to take flight. He became canon (September 1539) at Breslau, where he died on the 10th of January 1552. He was a prolific writer, largely of overgrown pamphlets, harsh and furious. His more serious efforts retain no permanent value. With humanist convictions, he had little of the humanist spirit. We owe to him one of the few contemporary notices of the young Servetus.

See C. Otto, Johannes Cochlaeus, der Humanist (1874); Haas, in I. Goschler's Dict. encydopéd. de la théol. cath. (1858); Brecher, in Allgemeine deutsche Biographie (1876); T. Kolde, in A. Hauck's Realencyklopädie für prot. Theol. u. Kirche (1898).

(A. Go.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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