Caspar Cruciger the Elder

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Caspar Cruciger after Lucas Cranach the Elder J.
Scene with Caspar Cruciger, Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and others; Relief on the Berlin Cathedral

Caspar Cruciger the Elder (also: Kreutzer, Crutziger o. Ä .; * January 1, 1504 in Leipzig ; † November 16, 1548 in Wittenberg ) was a German Protestant theologian and reformer .


Caspar Cruciger was born on January 1, 1504 in Leipzig as the son of the merchant Georg Kreuziger († June 28, 1544 in Leipzig), who came from a Bohemian family and maintained the Hussite traditions. His father Georg had acquired citizenship in Leipzig in 1502 and then came to a certain degree of prosperity. That is why the young Caspar Cruciger was able to enjoy a humanistic training with Georg Helt (from Forchheim, therefore called Forchemius ) and Kaspar Börner at the Thomas School in Leipzig from an early age . On October 19, 1513 he became a student at the University of Leipzig , where he became a student of the Englishman Richard Croke and Petrus Mosellanus . As a student with Georg Helt, he attended the Leipzig disputation between Martin Luther and Johannes Eck .

After the outbreak of the plague in Leipzig in 1521, Cruciger moved to Wittenberg . Here he continued his theology studies and expanded it to include Hebrew until he returned to Leipzig in 1522. In the following year, on April 13, 1523, he was re- enrolled in Wittenberg . There his interests expanded to include the natural sciences; so he laid out a botanical garden in 1524. His mathematical and astronomical studies with Erasmus Reinhold brought him recognition and promoted the implementation of the Copernican worldview .

In December 1524 Philipp Melanchthon proposed to entrust him with the "Lectio Quintiliana" at the philosophical faculty. In 1525 he was appointed rector and preacher of the newly founded Protestant Johannisschule in Magdeburg , which flourished under his leadership. On November 17, 1528 Cruciger received a professorship for theology and the associated preacher position in the Wittenberg Castle Church .

He first into the philosophical faculty and took over theological lectures, he that on 17 June 1533 to the doctor of theology doctorate was and was appointed in the same year as professor of theology at Wittenberg. From now on he continued his work primarily in Wittenberg at Luther's side and helped him with the translation and preparation of the Bible for printing . This changed only with his participation and that of Friedrich Myconius in the Reformation movement in Leipzig in the summer of 1539. Then you can find him at the Hagenau Religious Discussions , the Worms Religious Discussions (1541) and the Regensburg Religious Discussions , where he provided important services as secretary through notes and negotiations.

Caspar Cruciger the Elder (copper engraving from the middle of the 17th century)

The time of the Schmalkaldic War was particularly difficult , when he and Philipp Melanchthon and Paul Eber tried to keep the Wittenberg University. Marked by these exertions, he died on November 16, 1548 in the afternoon at 6 p.m. His body was buried on November 18, 1548 in the town church of Wittenberg .

Cruciger had also taken on organizational tasks at the Wittenberg University. In the winter semester 1530/31 he was dean of the philosophical faculty, in the summer semester 1546 to the winter semester 1548/49 dean of the theological faculty, and in the summer semester 1533, in the winter semester 1538/39, in the winter semester 1542/43, in the winter semester 1546/47 to for the summer semester of 1548 rector of the Wittenberg Alma Mater .

Regarding Cruciger's family circumstances, it can be said that he married the former nun Elisabeth von Meseritz in the summer of 1524 . From this marriage came the daughter Elisabeth, who married Luther's son Johannes in the second marriage, as well as the son Caspar Cruciger the Younger , who took over his chair at the Wittenberg University after Melanchthon's death, whose son was the theologian Georg Cruciger . On April 24, 1536, Cruciger married Apollina († September 28, 1557), the daughter of the Leipzig councilor Kunz Günterode and his wife Anna Alpeck († 1541) at Eilenburg Castle . Martin Luther gave the wedding sermon . From this marriage, the daughter Apollonia is known, who married the poet Georg Mauritius on June 6, 1569 .


  • Contribution to the translation of the Bible
  • Summer postil from Luther's sermons, Weimar 1928 and 1929
  • Postscript and printing of Luther sermons
  • Cruciger's academic speeches
  • Template about the early church confessions
  • Excerpts from the religious discussions
  • Correspondence between him and Melanchthon


The cities of Magdeburg and Leipzig named a street in his honor ( Crucigerstraße and Creuzigerstraße ) and there is a memorial plaque in Lutherstadt Wittenberg .


Web links

Commons : Caspar Cruciger  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Manfred Mezger, Bernhard Knick (Ed.): St. Thomas zu Leipzig. School and choir. Place of work of Johann Sebastian Bach. Pictures and documents on the history of the St. Thomas School and the St. Thomas Choir with their contemporary historical relationships. Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden 1963, p. 78.