FABER, JOHANN (or Lefèvre), Johann, (1478-1541), German theologian, styled from the title of one of his works "Malleus Haereticorum," son of one Heigerlin, a smith (faber), was born at Leutkirch, in Swabia, in 1478. His early life is obscure; the tradition that he joined the Dominicans is untenable. He studied theology and canon law at Tübingen and at Freiburg im Breisgau, where he matriculated on the 26th of July 1509, and graduated M.A. and doctor of canon law. He was soon appointed vicar of Lindau and Leutkirch, and shortly afterwards canon of Basel. In 1518 Hugo von Landenberg, bishop of Constance, made him one of his vicars-general, and Pope Leo X. appointed him papal protonotary. He was an advocate of reforms, in sympathy with Erasmus, and corresponded (1519-1520) with Zwingli. While he defended Luther against Eck, he was as little inclined to adopt the position of Luther as of Carlstadt. His journey to Rome in the autumn of 1521 had the result of estranging him from the views of the Protestant leaders. He published Opus adversus nova quaedam dogmata Lutheri (1522), and appeared as a disputant against Zwingli at Zürich (1523). Then followed his Malleus in haeresin Lutheranam (1524). Among his efforts to stem the tide of Protestant innovation was the establishment of a training-house for the maintenance and instruction of popular preachers, drawn from the lower ranks, to compete with the orators of reform. In 1526 he became court preacher to the emperor Ferdinand, and in 1527 and 1528 was sent by him as envoy to Spain and England. He approved the death by burning of Balthasar Hubmeier, the Baptist, at Vienna on the 10th of March 1528. In 1531 he was consecrated bishop of Vienna, and combined with this (till 1538) the administration of the diocese of Neustadt. He died at Vienna on the 21st of May 1541. His works were collected in three volumes, 1537, 1539 and 1541.
See C.E. Kettner, Diss. de J. Fabri Vita Scriptisque (1737); Wagenmann and Egli in Herzog-Hauck's Realencyklopädie (1898).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)