MURKER, THOMAS (1475-1537?), German satirist, was born on the 24th of December 1475 at Oberehnheim near Strassburg. In 1490 he entered the order of Franciscan monks, and in 1495 began a wandering life, studying and then teaching and preaching in Freiburg-in-Breisgau, Paris, Cracow and Strassburg. The emperor Maximilian I. crowned him in 1505 poeta laureatus; in 1506, he was created doctor theologiae, and in 1513 was appointed custodian of the Franciscan monastery in Strassburg, an office which, on account of a scurrilous publication, he was forced to vacate the following year. Late in life, in 1518, he began the study of jurisprudence at the university of Basel, and in 1519 took the degree of doctor juris. After journeys in Italy and England, he again settled in Strassburg, but, disturbed by the Reformation, sought an exile at Lucerne in Switzerland in 1526. In 1533 he was appointed priest of Oberehnheim, where he died in 1537, or, according to some accounts, in 1536. Murner was an energetic and passionate character, who made enemies wherever he went. There is not a trace of human kindness in his satires, which were directed against the corruption of the times, the Reformation, and especially against Luther. His most powerful satire and the most virulent German satire of the period is Von dem grossen lulherischen Narren, wie ihn Dr Murner beschworen hat. Among others may be mentioned Die Narrenbeschworung (1512); Die Schelmenzunft (1512); Die Gauchmatt, which treats of enamoured fools (1519), and a translation of Virgil's Aeneid (1515) dedicated to the emperor Maximilian I. Murner also wrote the humorous Chartiludium logicae (1507) and the Ludus studentum freiburgensium (1511), besides a translation of Justinian's Institutiones (1519).
All Murner's more important works have been republished in critical editions; a selection was published by G. Balke in Kiirschner's Deutsche Nationattiteratur (1890). Cf. W. Kawerau, Murner und die Kirche des Mittelalters (1890); and by the same writer, Murner und die deutsche Reformation (1891); also K. Ott, Uber Murners Verhdltniss zu Geiler (1896).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)