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Justus Jonas

Justus Jonas, 1543
Justus Jonas

(5 June 1493 – 9 October 1555) was a German Lutheran reformer.


  • Life and church 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Life and church

Jonas was born at Nordhausen in present-day Thuringia. His real name was Jodokus (Jobst) Koch, which he changed according to the common custom of German scholars in the sixteenth century, when at the University of Erfurt. He entered that university in 1506, studied law and the humanities, and became Master of Arts in 1510. In 1511 he went to Wittenberg, where he took his bachelor's degree in law. He returned to Erfurt in 1514 or 1515, was ordained priest, and in 1518 was promoted doctor in both faculties and appointed to a well-endowed canonry in the Church of Saint Severus, to which a professorship of law was attached.

His great admiration for Erasmus first led him to Greek, Hebrew and Biblical studies, and his election in May 1519 as rector of the university was regarded as a triumph for the partisans of the New Learning. It was not, however, until after the Leipzig Disputation with Johann Eck that Martin Luther won his allegiance. He accompanied Luther to the Diet of Worms in 1521, and there was appointed professor of canon law at Wittenberg by Frederick III, Elector of Saxony.

During Luther's stay in the chorale cantata BWV 178.

Justus Jonas at work

Jonas was busied in conferences (including a prominent role in the Reformation conferences at Marburg (1529) and Augsburg (1530)) and visitations during the next twenty years, and in diplomatic work with the princes. In the autumn of 1531, Jonas published a German translation of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession and in 1541 he began a successful preaching crusade in Halle, becoming superintendent of its churches in 1542 or 1544 and priest in the Market Church.

Luther became severely ill and visited his friend during Christmas in 1545. Jonas was present at Luther's deathbed at Eisleben, and preached the funeral sermon; in a procession Luther's corpse was taken to Halle and buried in Wittenberg. In the same year Jonas was banished from the duchy by Maurice, Duke of Saxony. From that time until his death, Jonas was unable to secure a satisfactory living. He wandered from place to place preaching, and finally went to Eisfeld, Thuringia (1553), where he died, aged 62. He had been married three times.

See also

Christian humanism


  1. ^ "Early German Lutheran and Reformation Hymnals/1524 Achtliederbuch". Douglas D. Anderson. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 


  • Briefwechsel des Justus Jonas, gesammelt und bearbeitet von G. Kawerau (2 vols., Halle, 1884–1885).
  • "Justus Jonas" & Apology of the Augsburg Confession". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.  Retrieved on January 13, 2007.
  • G. Kawerau's article, Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopadie, ed. 3, with bibliography.

External links

  • Justus Jonas,; accessed August 29, 2015.
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