Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Humanist and theologian, b. at Schlettstadt, Alsace, 25 July 1450; d. there, 17 Nov., 1528. He went to the school at Schlettstadt conducted by Ludwig Dringenberg, and from 1464 was a student at the University of Freiburg (baccalaureus, 1466); later he went to Erfurt and Heidelberg (magister, 1471). He then studied canon law for three years, and finally theology. In 1483 he was cathedral preacher at Speyer. In 1498 Philip, the Elector Palatine, called him to Heidelberg as professor of rhetoric and poetry. From 1513 he lived at Schlettstadt, where a circle of pupils and admirers gathered around him. Differences of opinion caused by the Lutheran doctrine broke up this literary society, and Wimpfeling died lonesome and embittered.

His literary career began with a few publications in which he urged the more frequent holding of synods, the veneration of the Blessed Virgin, and an improvement of the discipline of the clergy. The "Elegantiarum medulla" (1493) is an extract from Valla's books on the elegance of the Latin language. In the "Isidoneus germanicus" (1496) he presented his pedagogical ideals, and opposed Scholasticism. The teaching of grammar should lead to the reading of heathen writers who were not immoral and especially of the Christian writers. He also laid emphasis on learning the practical sciences. His most important work, "Adolescentia" (1500), was intended to supplement "Isidoneus". Here he set forth the ethical side of his pedagogical scheme. The troubles of the Church spring from the bad training of the young; consequently, young people must be trained so as to be well-established in morals. He then discusses the details of twenty laws for young men. He showed himself a fiery patriot in the "Germanic" (1501), which involved him in a feud with Murner. His "Epitome rerum germanicarum" is a short history of the Germans, drawn in some particulars from other historians. In several writings he opposed abuses in the Church. After Luther's excommunication he took part in the attempt to prevail upon the Curia to withdraw the ban. This caused him to be suspected of having written a lampoon on the Curia, "Litancia pro Germania", that was probably composed by Hermann von dem Busche. In 1521 he submitted to the Church, of which he was ever afterwards a loyal son. In 1524 he added to Emser's dialogue against Zwingli's "Canonis missae defensio" a letter to Luther and Zwingli, in which he exhorted them to examine the Scriptures carefully in order to discover for themselves that the Canons of the Mass contains nothing contrary to the doctrines and customs of the early Church. He then retired from the struggle, and was ridiculed by fanatical partisans of Luther as a renegade and a persecutor of heretics. He was one of the best representatives of moderate humanism, one who honestly sought and wanted much that was good but who generally only half attained his desires.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter