Erhard Schnepf

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Portrait of Erhard Schnepf, Württemberg theologian and reformer . Copper engraving by Johann Wilhelm Brühl (before 1763)

Erhard Schnepf or Schnepff (born November 1, 1495 in Heilbronn ; † November 1, 1558 in Jena ) was a Lutheran theologian and important reformer , general superintendent of the Duchy of Württemberg , professor at the University of Jena , professor at the Philipps University of Marburg and professor at the University of Tübingen .


Youth, training and meeting Martin Luther

Erhard Schnepf was the son of respected, less well-off parents - his father of the same name († after 1535) was a shoemaker in Großgartach and since 1483 in Heilbronn. After attending the Heilbronn Latin School , Schnepf studied at the University of Erfurt from 1509 . As a Baccalaureus Artium, he moved to the University of Heidelberg in 1511 , where he acquired the degree of Magister Artium in 1513. He began studying law , then switched to theology and was a Baccalaureus Theologiae in 1518. The desired doctorate was not carried out for reasons of cost. Since 1518 Schnepf studied law again . He was one of the young masters who met Martin Luther at the Heidelberg disputation in April 1518 . Schnepf was impressed by him and became a staunch supporter and rigorous defender of his teaching.

Successor to Johannes Oekolampad, professor in Weinsberg

As the successor to Johannes Oekolampad , Schnepf took over the predicature in Weinsberg in Württemberg in 1520 . He also appears as a witness in the will of the Heilbronn Kilianskirch preacher Johann Kröner , who died that year and which he dictated to the later Heilbronn reformer Johann Lachmann . Schnepf preached the new doctrine in Weinsberg. After he was expelled from Weinsberg by the Austrian government of Württemberg in 1522 because of his Reformation attitude , he found refuge with Dietrich von Gemmingen at Guttenberg Castle . In the parish church of Neckarmühlbach below the castle he performed the parish service. In 1523 Schnepf was appointed as a preacher in the imperial city of Wimpfen . During the German Peasants' War , the rebellious peasants who turned to the city of Wimpfen in the spring of 1525 after the bloodshed in Weinsberg wanted him as field preacher, which Schnepf refused. In the autumn of 1525 he was one of the signatories of the Syngramma Suevicum formulated by Johannes Brenz and thus opposed the doctrine of Oekolampad and Zwingli in the Last Supper dispute .

Marriage to Margaretha Wurzelmann

In Wimpfen, Schnepf married Margaretha Wurzelmann (around 1503–1569) in 1525, the daughter of the local imperial school teacher Bernhard Wurzelmann (* around 1450/55, † after 1510). One of her sons - (Theodor [icus]) Dietrich Schnepf (1525–1586) - later also became a theologian and was a critic of the witch hunt . One of his important descendants is the theologian and Tübingen historian of universal history Carl Friedrich Haug .

Introduction of the Reformation in Weilburg

At the request of Count Philip III. von Nassau , Erhard Schnepf led the Reformation in Weilburg in 1525/26 . Landgrave Philipp the Magnanimous of Hesse appointed him in 1527 as a preacher and professor of theology at the newly founded University of Marburg . Schnepf accepted the call only hesitantly and did not accept the chair until August 1528. In 1529 and 1530 he accompanied the landgrave as an advisor to the diets in Speyer and Augsburg . In 1532 he turned down the offer to become second preacher after Johann Lachmann in Heilbronn . In 1532 and 1534 he was rector of the University of Marburg.

Return to Württemberg

In 1534, Schnepf returned to Württemberg at the request of Duke Ulrich to carry out the Reformation there too - together with Ambrosius Blarer . The Lutheran Schnepf and the Blarer, who was more influenced by Zwingli, agreed in August 1534 in the Stuttgart Agreement on a common understanding of the Lord's Supper . They also agreed their respective areas of responsibility: Schnepf reformed the northern part of the country from Stuttgart and Blarer reformed the southern part of the country from Tübingen . In 1535 Schnepf was appointed court preacher and general superintendent of all Württemberg churches by Duke Ulrich .

Dispute about the abolition of the pictures

Schnepf succeeded in enforcing a moderate Lutheranism in the Württemberg church order of 1536. But arguments with Blarer did not fail to appear. At the Urach “Götzentag” in 1537 - a debate about the abolition of images in churches - Blarer was able to prevail. The duke issued a ban on images that resulted in the loss of many valuable works of art. After Blarer's dismissal in 1538, Schnepf was given sole responsibility for Reformation activities in the entire country. Schnepf was one of the participants in the religious discussions in Hagenau , Worms (1540/41) and Regensburg (1546) .

Withdrawal of all offices by Duke Ulrich and the consequences

Erhard Schnepf his doctorate in 1544 at the University of Tuebingen for Dr. theol. and received a theological professorship here in the same year. Because of his resistance to the Augsburg Interim , he was dismissed from all offices by Duke Ulrich at the end of 1548. After a short stay with Eberhard von Gemmingen at Burg Castle and with Count Philipp III. von Rieneck in Lohr , Schnepf was appointed as a teacher at the high school in Jena founded in March 1548 . He also provided the parish office of the town church and the superintendent's office. In 1557 he became rector of the Jena University of Applied Sciences, which was granted university rights in August 1557.

In Jena, Schnepf came under the influence of the Gnesiolutherans Nikolaus von Amsdorf and Matthias Flacius . Because of his stance in Osiandrian and later in the synergistic dispute , he feuded with old friends, especially with Johannes Brenz , the father-in-law of his son Dietrich, and Philipp Melanchthon . In 1554/55 Schnepf took part in the great church visitation of the Ernestine lands. During the dispute in the Wettin house , he took the side of the Ernestines. Schnepf was one of the participants in the Worms Religious Discussion of 1557 . On November 1st, 1558, his 63rd birthday, Erhard Schnepf died in Jena.


Children of Erhard Schnepfs and his wife Margaretha were:

  1. Theodor or Dietrich Schnepf (1525–1586), professor of theology and superintendent in Tübingen
  2. Blandina Schnepf (around 1526, † 1584), married I. 1553 Viktorin Strigel (1524–1569), professor of theology in Erfurt, Jena, Leipzig and Heidelberg; married II. Johann Vetscher from Esslingen, son of councilor Urban Vetscher. Blandina Schnepf's godfather was Daniel Greser (1504–1591)
  3. Johann Erhard Schnepf (1532 / 34–1591), Chamber Secretary and Councilor in Coburg
  4. Eusebius Schnepf (* 1534/35), 1563 in Tübingen, later lawyer and procurator in Heilbronn
  5. Daniel Schnepf (around 1537–1605), Dr. med., doctor in Eisenach , personal physician to Duke Johann Casimir von Sachsen-Coburg (1564–1633). His widow Magdalena married the Coburg lawyer Dr. Markus Enter, from Endern since 1623

Remembrance day

November 1st in the Evangelical Name Calendar .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heinz Scheible: The University of Heidelberg and Luther's disputation . In: “ Journal for the History of the Upper Rhine ” 131 (1983) pp. 324–329.
  2. Heribert Hummel: Dr. Johann Kröner, preacher at St. Kilian in Heilbronn (1493–1520) . In: “Yearbook for Swabian-Franconian History” (Historischer Verein Heilbronn), Vol. 31, 1986, ISSN  0175-9841 , pp. 25–43.
  3. Gerhard Kiesow: From knights and preachers. The Lords of Gemmingen and the Reformation in Kraichgau . Regional culture publishing house, Ubstadt-Weiher 1997. P. 51f.
  4. Glad houses: history of the imperial city of Wimpfen , Darmstadt 1870, p 153/154.
  5. ^ Carl Friedrich Haug: Communications from his life and from his estate , printed as a manuscript for relatives and friends. Edited by Karl von Riecke . Printed by IB Metzler'schen Buchdruckerei, Stuttgart 1869.
  6. Strigel's first marriage was to Barbara Burkhard († 1552), daughter of the Electoral Saxon and Narrow Kaldic councilor Franz Burchart (1503–1560) and godchild of Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560).
  7. Erhard Schnepf in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints


Web links

Commons : Erhard Schnepf  - Collection of images, videos and audio files